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Johnson v. Mukasey

March 20, 2008

EMANUEL JOHNSON, JR., PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL MUKASEY*FN1 ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

Document Nos.: 40, 43

MEMORANDUM OPINION

DENYING THE PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO ALTER OR AMEND JUDGMENT*fn2 AND GRANTING THE FEDERAL DEFENDANTS'MOTION FOR FINAL JUDGMENT

I. INTRODUCTION

The pro se plaintiff, Emanuel Johnson, brings this employment discrimination suit against the Attorney General and various employees of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (the "federal defendants") and against the Mayor of the District of Columbia ("D.C." or the "District") and various employees of the D.C. Office of the Inspector General (collectively the "D.C. defendants"). This case comes before the court on the plaintiff's motion to alter or amend the court's interlocutory judgment issued March 27, 2007 and on the federal defendants' motion for final judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b). Because the plaintiff's arguments that the federal defendants perpetrated a fraud on the court are meritless, and because the plaintiff had a reasonable suspicion that retaliatory action prevented him from receiving a position at the OIG after he interviewed there in October 1998, the court denies the plaintiff's motion to alter or amend its judgment.

In their motion for final judgment, the federal defendants request that the court certify the plaintiff's case against them as final because the legal issues are separable from those concerning the D.C. defendants and because there is no just reason for delay. Failing to apply any legal analysis or reasoning, the plaintiff concludes that his claims are distinct. Because all the claims against the federal defendants have been resolved, the claims are separable from those brought against the D.C. defendants and the equities favor final judgment, the court grants the federal defendants' motion for final judgment.

II. BACKGROUND

A. Factual History

The plaintiff worked as a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI") between 1973 and May 1999. Compl. at 8. In June of 1983, the plaintiff received a poor performance evaluation, and one of the plaintiff's evaluators recommended that he be removed from his position as a supervisor. Id. ¶¶ 46-47, 64. Suspecting discrimination, the plaintiff hired a lawyer to "initiate a civil suit against any of the individuals involved in the June 1983 performance appraisal." Id. ¶ 89. The plaintiff alleges that he was unsuccessful in his attempts to acquire the documents used to prepare his performance appraisal and the recommendation that he be removed as a supervisor because federal defendant Riggin destroyed them. Id. ¶¶ 105-110.

In 1991, the plaintiff participated as the named plaintiff in a Title VII class action lawsuit representing African-American agents against the FBI. Id. ¶ 112. That lawsuit, commonly known as the BADGE lawsuit, settled in 1993. Id. ¶¶ 113-14. Under the terms of the 1993 settlement agreement, the plaintiff waived claims of "disparate impact . . . for which relief was awarded." See Johnson v. Ashcroft ("Johnson I"), 2005 WL 2064095, at *4 (D.D.C. Aug. 25, 2005). He did not, however, waive his right to bring claims alleging retaliation that might arise subsequent to the settlement. Id.

After the BADGE lawsuit settled, the plaintiff brought another lawsuit, Johnson v. Reno ("Johnson II"), before Judge Jackson in this court. Id., at *1. He alleged that the FBI retaliated against him due to his involvement in the BADGE lawsuit and also discriminated against him based on his race, which led to a constructive discharge. Id. Specifically, the plaintiff asserted that the FBI management instituted an "unlawful systemwide retaliatory program against him based on his race with the unlawful purpose being to force his removal from the FBI and to destroy his upward mobility within the [FBI]." Id. The parties settled these claims in June 1998. Id., at *1. Under the terms of the 1998 settlement agreement, which became effective June 9, 1998, the plaintiff agreed to "release and forever discharge" the FBI from liability from any claims "which were or could have been raised on or before the effective date" of the agreement. Id., at *5. In short, the 1998 settlement agreement provides for a broad release of all claims related to the defendants' alleged discriminatory practices before June 9, 1998. See id. (noting that the agreement does not reserve the plaintiff's right to bring a suit based on the same underlying facts just because he alleges a new legal theory).

On July 2, 1998, the plaintiff filed a claim with the Office of Workmen's Compensation ("OWCP") seeking compensation for alleged stresses arising from: submission of false documents for his 1983 performance appraisal; a contrived 1997 appraisal; an attempt by U.S. Marshals to frame him by placing illegal narcotics, weapons and ammunition where they would lead to further abashment; and "fourteen years of racial discrimination, retaliation, and exasperation." Pl.'s Opp'n to Defs.' Mot. to Dismiss, Ex. JJ at 3. On June 23, 1998, OWCP sent the plaintiff a letter denying his claims because he had not provided "sufficient evidence to establish that [he] sustained an injury in the performance of duty." Id., Ex. JJ at 4; Mem. Op. (Aug. 28, 2006) at 11.

Later that year, in October of 1998, the plaintiff applied to work at the D.C. Office of the Inspector General ("OIG"). Pl.'s Opp'n to Defs.' Mot. to Dismiss, Ex. II at 4. Although the plaintiff fails to clearly explain the nature of his application to the OIG in this action, the Department of Justice's Final Agency Decision ("FAD") regarding the alleged FBI interference with his OIG employment relationship issued on December 7, 2004 provides additional background. Id. The plaintiff claims that at the end of his October 1998 interview, Inspector General Prettyman offered him a job to begin within a couple of weeks. Id. at 5. The plaintiff claims that Prettyman never got back to him, but the plaintiff never attempted to follow up with him about the position. Id.

On May 3, 1999, the plaintiff retired from the FBI, and in that same month, the plaintiff heard of job vacancies at the OIG from a friend. Id. He reapplied, and although the new Inspector General, Charles M. Maddox, knew about the plaintiff's involvement in the BADGE lawsuit, Maddox hired him to begin working on June 21, 1999. Johnson v. Maddox ("Johnson III"), 230 F. Supp. 2d 1, 3 (D.D.C. 2002). Although the plaintiff began working on June 21, 1999, his tenure was short lived. Id.

That same day, Maddox met with federal defendant Carter who told him that the FBI would not support the OIG on matters it assigned to the plaintiff. Id. Two days later, after his discussion with Carter, an OIG employee reassigned the plaintiff from the OIG Public Corruption Unit to the OIG General Investigations Unit. Id. at 5. Eight months later, on February 7, 2000, the plaintiff alleges that Maddox instructed supervisors to offer the plaintiff a choice of resignation or termination. Id. at 6. The plaintiff did not resign, and on February 16, 2000, the OIG sent the plaintiff a termination letter indicating his discharge would be effective March 1, 2000. Id. at 5-6.

Based on his reassignment and termination, the plaintiff brought an employment discrimination and retaliation lawsuit under Title VII against federal defendant Carter, D.C. defendant Maddox and others. Johnson III,230 F. Supp. 2d at 1. The court determined that the plaintiff failed to timely exhaust his administrative remedies against the FBI employees because he failed to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") within 45 days of his reasonable suspicion that his employer discriminated against him. Johnson III, No. 00-2743, slip op. at 5-9 (D.D.C. June 21, 2001). Accordingly, on June 21, 2001, the court dismissed all of the defendants except D.C. defendant Maddox. Id.

In February 2003, the court referred the case to Magistrate Judge Facciola for all purposes, and in April 2003, while his discrimination and retaliation suit was still pending before Magistrate Judge Facciola, the plaintiff claims to have become aware of facts surrounding a conspiracy to deny him due process. Mem. Op. (Aug. 17, 2005) at 12. Specifically, he claims to have discovered a false affidavit that certain D.C. defendants "encouraged David Bowie to sign" on May 10, 2000, but provides no further explanation. Compl. ¶ 413. He insists that the affidavit denied Magistrate Judge Facciola "the true facts of this matter [i.e., the circumstances of the plaintiff's termination] which resulted in an adverse ruling by him against plaintiff." Id. ¶ 415. He ...


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