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Bass v. Bair

October 16, 2007

MARY E. BASS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
SHEILA C. BAIR, CHAIRMAN, FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gladys Kessler United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Plaintiff Mary E. Bass brings this action alleging racial discrimination and retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e et seq., against Sheila C. Bair, Chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. This matter is before the Court on Defendant's First Motion for Summary Judgment. [Dkt. No. 14]. Upon consideration of the Motion, Opposition, Reply, and the entire record herein, and for the reasons stated below, Defendant's First Motion for Summary Judgment is granted.*fn1

I. BACKGROUND*fn2

On March 11, 2005, Plaintiff Mary Bass filed a formal administrative complaint with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation ("FDIC") alleging discrimination in violation of Title VII. Several weeks later, on March 29, 2005, she informed the FDIC, through a Designation of Representation, that attorney David Shapiro was representing her in the matter. In that Designation, Plaintiff expressly authorized Mr. Shapiro to "act for me in all matters pertaining to my discrimination claims." Declaration of Susan Berman, Dec. 18, 2006 ("Berman Decl."), Ex. 1.

The FDIC denied Plaintiff's administrative complaint on April 25, 2006. The next day, on April 26, 2006, the FDIC sent a copy of its Final Agency Decision to Mr. Shapiro and to the Plaintiff by certified mail. United States Postal Service records show that the decision was delivered to Mr. Shapiro's office on April 27, 2006 and to the Plaintiff on May 1, 2006.

Plaintiff filed her Complaint in this Court on July 28, 2006, ninety-two days after Mr. Shapiro's office had received notice of the FDIC's decision. Mr. Shapiro continues as her counsel.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Summary judgment will be granted when the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories and admissions on file, together with any affidavits or declarations, 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. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). A fact is "material" if it might affect the outcome of the action 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).

Once the moving party makes its initial showing, however, the nonmoving party must demonstrate "specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324. Accordingly, the nonmoving party must provide evidence that would permit a reasonable jury to find in his or her favor. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. at 255-56. "If the evidence is merely colorable, or is not significantly probative, summary judgment may be granted." Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. at 249-50 (citations omitted). In reviewing the evidence, "the court must draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party, and it may not make credibility determinations or weigh the evidence." Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Prods., Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 150 (2000).

III. ANALYSIS

A. The Complaint Was Not Filed Within the Ninety Day Period Required by 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-16(c)

A federal employee asserting claims against his or her employer under Title VII must file suit within ninety days of receipt of notice of the agency's final administrative action. 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-16(c). "Courts apply this limit strictly and 'will dismiss a suit for missing the deadline by even one day.'" Woodruff v. Peters, 482 F.3d 521, 525 (D.C. Cir. 2007) (quoting Wiley v. Johnson, 436 F. Supp. 2d 91, 96 (D.D.C. 2006)).

The ninety-day time period begins to run upon receipt, by the plaintiff's counsel, of notice of the agency's final administrative action. Irwin v. Dep't of Veterans Affairs, 498 U.S. 89, 92-93 (1990). "Under our system of representative litigation, each party is deemed bound by the acts of his lawyer-agent and is considered to have notice of all facts...which can be charged upon the attorney." Id. at 92 (internal quotation marks omitted).

In this case, it is uncontested that the Complaint was filed ninety-two days after Plaintiff's counsel received notice of the FDIC's final administrative ...


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