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McManus v. Williams

February 22, 2007


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Emmet G. Sullivan United States District Judge


Plaintiff, a former employee of the District of Columbia Department of Corrections ("DOC"), initiated this action by filing a pro se complaint alleging that she was terminated for discriminatory reasons and in retaliation for filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). She names as defendants Anthony Williams, former Mayor of the District of Columbia, and S. Elwood York, Jr., Director of the DOC. Plaintiff alleges that defendants violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq., and the Americans With Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. § 12101, et seq.

Plaintiff has retained counsel and filed an amended complaint. Defendants have moved to dismiss the amended complaint or, alternatively, for summary judgment. Based on the parties' filings, the existing record, and the applicable law, defendant's motion will be granted.


Ms. McManus was employed by the DOC as a Lead Legal Instruments Examiner. Compl. at 1.*fn1 On June 26, 2002, she sustained carpal tunnel hand injuries. Id. ¶ 1. The next day, after being diagnosed with the disability, plaintiff notified the District of Columbia Disability Compensation Program that she had carpal tunnel syndrome. Id. ¶¶ 2, 3.

Plaintiff alleges that despite medical documentation, on six separate occasions, DOC denied her request for leave without pay and advance leave. Id. ¶ 5. On September 19, 2002, former DOC Warden Steven Smith charged plaintiff with unauthorized absences and for being absent without leave. Id. ¶ 6. As a result, on December 9, 2002, plaintiff claims that an administrative hearing examiner found that she had abandoned her job position and recommended that she be terminated from employment. Id. ¶ 8. She alleges that this decision was erroneous and that she was terminated from DOC effective February 28, 2003. Id. ¶ 9.

On April 4, 2003, the District of Columbia Department of Employment Services issued a Final Compensation Order, finding that plaintiff was entitled to temporary total disability benefits for her work-related wrist injury. Defts.' Mot. to Dismiss or, Alternatively, for Summ. J., Exh. 1. In addition to the workers' compensation action, plaintiff filed a petition for appeal to the Office of Employment Appeals ("OEA") based on her alleged termination from DOC. Id. Exh. 2. On January 20, 2004, the OEA found plaintiff's petition to be moot because (1) her termination never became effective because of the worker's compensation determination; and (2) she was receiving disability benefits. Id.

On May 15, 2003, plaintiff filed an unfair labor practice complaint against the DOC to the District of Columbia Public Employee Relations Board ("PERB"). Id. Exh. 3. She alleged that the DOC violated the Comprehensive Merit Personnel Act, D.C. Code § 1-617.03, in terminating her for attendance-related reasons. Id. The PERB dismissed plaintiff's claim on the ground that she was never terminated from her position. Id.


Defendants move to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. In ruling on this motion, the Court must accept all well-pleaded factual allegations as true and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. Taylor v. FDIC, 132 F.3d 753, 761 (D.C. Cir. 1997). " [A] complaint should not be dismissed for failure to state a claim unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of [her] claim which would entitle [her] to relief." Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957); Kowal v. MCI Communications Corp., 16 F.3d 1271, 1276 (D.C. Cir. 1994). "Indeed it may appear on the face of the pleadings that a recovery is very remote and unlikely but that is not the test." Swierkiewicz v. Sorema, 534 U.S. 506, 515 (2002) (quoting Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974)).

Defendants also move for summary judgment. Under Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, summary judgment is appropriate if the pleadings on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed. R. Civ. P. Rule 56(c). Material facts are those that "might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). The party seeking summary judgment bears the initial burden of demonstrating an absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Tao v. Freeh, 27 F.3d 635, 638 (D.C. Cir. 1994). A genuine issue of material fact is one capable of affecting the outcome of the litigation that is supported by admissible evidence sufficient for a reasonable trier-of-fact to find in favor of the non-moving party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247-48.

In considering whether there is a triable issue of fact, the court must draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party. Id. at 255. The party opposing a motion for summary judgment, however, " may not rest upon the mere allegations or denials of his pleading, but . . . must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. The non-moving party must do more than simply "show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). Moreover, any factual assertions in the movant' s affidavits will be accepted as being true unless the opposing party submits her own affidavits or other documentary evidence contradicting the assertion. Neal v. Kelly, 963 F.2d 453, 456 (D.C. Cir.1992).


A. Sufficiency of ...

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