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Brown v. Samper

January 14, 2008

MELBA BROWN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CRISTIAN SAMPER,*FN1 IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS SECRETARY OF THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ricardo M. Urbina United States District Judge

Document No. 15

MEMORANDUM OPINION

DENYING THE PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR RELIEF FROM JUDGMENT

I. INTRODUCTION

The plaintiff, an African-American female employee at the National Zoological Park ("the National Zoo"), brought suit against the defendant, the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e et seq. ("Title VII"). Specifically, the plaintiff claimed that the defendant was motivated by a wrongful discriminatory intent when the National Zoo failed to select her for a promotion. On January 19, 2007, the court granted the defendant's motion for summary judgment, concluding that the plaintiff could not prove that the defendant's rationale for not selecting her was a pretext for discrimination or that the defendant was motivated by racial or gender discrimination.

The plaintiff now moves the court for relief from judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b), stating that she has new information that conclusively demonstrates the defendant's discriminatory intent. The defendant argues that even if the new information did, in fact, demonstrate discrimination, the plaintiff should have discovered and disclosed the information during the summary judgment stage of the litigation. Because the plaintiff has offered no reason justifying relief from judgment, the court denies the plaintiff's motion.

II. BACKGROUND

A. Factual History

The plaintiff has worked at the National Zoo since 1985, serving as an animal keeper with the small mammal unit for the past twelve years. Compl. ¶ 7. Robert King is a Caucasian male who was the plaintiff's supervisor during the period of time at issue in this suit. Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J. ("Def.'s Mot.") at 7; Pl.'s Opp'n to Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J ("Pl.'s Opp'n") at 1.

In April 2003, King announced a vacancy for the biologist position at the Small Mammal Unit and his plans to appoint someone to a temporary detail for the position. Def.'s Mot. at 2. The plaintiff applied along with two other candidates, and a Caucasian male applicant was selected for the temporary position. Pl.'s Opp'n at 2; Def.'s Mot. at 2. King then prepared to make the biologist position permanent. Def.'s Mot. at 3.

King questioned the plaintiff multiple times about her transferring to a different division of the Zoo. Pl.'s Opp'n at 3. Subsequently, King informed the plaintiff that he wanted to detail her to the temporary biologist position. Id. By February 23, 2004, the plaintiff and a Caucasion male were the only two qualified applicants for the permanent biologist position. Def.'s Mot. at 4. A panel interviewed the plaintiff on March 11, 2004, and it interviewed the Caucasian male on March 12, 2004. Pl.'s Opp'n at 4. The defendant asserts, and the plaintiff does not dispute, that the panel members gave the man higher overall scores than they gave the plaintiff. Def.'s Mot., Exs. 10-D & 10-E. King followed the recommendation of the panel and selected the man for the permanent biologist position. Def.'s Mot. at 6; Pl.'s Opp'n at 4.

The plaintiff received notice of her non-selection on March 22, 2004. Pl.'s Opp'n at 4. She filed a formal administrative charge of discrimination on June 9, 2004, and she received the Final Agency Decision on March 4, 2005. Id. ¶¶ 17, 21.

B. Procedural History

On June 1, 2005, the plaintiff brought this suit alleging that racial and gender discrimination in violation of Title VII were inherent in her non-selection for the biologist position. Id. ΒΆ 24. On June 5, 2006, the defendant moved for summary judgment, alleging that it did not select the plaintiff because the panel gave higher scores to the male applicant. Def.'s Mot. at 1. The court granted the defendant's motion on January 19, 2007, concluding that ...


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