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Brown v. Paulson

April 1, 2008


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

Document No. 16




In this action brought pro se under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e et seq.; the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 701 et seq.; and the Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA"), 29 U.S.C. §§ 2601 et seq., plaintiff sues his former employer, the Department of Treasury's Bureau of Engraving and Printing ("BEP"), for retaliation and disability discrimination.*fn1 Compl. at 1. He also sets forth claims of race discrimination, id. at 8-9, and hostile work environment, id. at 10. Defendant moves for partial dismissal of the complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) and for partial summary judgment pursuant to Rule 56. Upon consideration of the parties' submissions and the record, the court grants defendant's motion for partial relief.


Plaintiff worked at BEP from 1971 until 2004. Def.'s Statement of Material Facts as to Which There is No Genuine Issue ¶ 1. Plaintiff alleges that he began to experience lower back pain from a job-related injury in 1996 and that the "injury was aggravated by subsequent on-thejob injuries in 1996 and 2001." Compl. ¶ 6. "On or about February 28 or March 1, 2001," plaintiff reported to work late because of his back pain. Id. Although allegedly plaintiff was on flex-time, he was reprimanded on March 20, 2001 for being two hours late. Id. ¶ 9. On April 18, 2001, plaintiff received "a proposed notice that he was to be considered AWOL and docked for the time he was not at work." Id. Plaintiff "thereafter" filed an informal EEO complaint challenging the proposed notice. The April 18 notice was rescinded by Memorandum of May 1, 2001. Id. After meeting with Second Line Supervisor Robert Bishop, during which plaintiff stated that he would not sign the Memorandum, plaintiff "believ[ed] that the matter had been resolved." Id. But he was charged with being absent without leave ("AWOL") "allegedly because he would not sign the May 1, 2001 Memorandum." Id.

On July 13, 2001, plaintiff was given a notice of proposed suspension for 14 days and "on September 6, 2001, [plaintiff] was again suspended for a period of three days."*fn2 Id. ¶ 14. Meanwhile, "[o]n or about August 6, 2001," plaintiff's supervisors accused him of committing fraud on his time and attendance sheets. Id. ¶ 7. On December 10, 2001, plaintiff "received an Employee Performance Appraisal of Fully Satisfactory." Id. ¶ 15. By then, he had filed three EEO complaints. Id. ¶ 16. Plaintiff filed another EEO complaint on January 28, 2002, and apparently one other at an unspecified date after January 13, 2004. Id. ¶ 21.

Plaintiff alleges that he was charged as AWOL on November 20, 2003, December 5, 2003, December 15, 2003 and January 13, 2004, id. ¶ 24, and was denied a training request on February 17, 2004. Plaintiff also alleges that on January 13, 2004, he "was insulted and threaten[ed] by a co-worker," id. ¶ 20, and that on March 3, 2004, he was "harassed and retaliated against by supervisor (Mr. Patrick Reidy) for an assignment (SD)." Id. ¶ 6. Plaintiff filed this civil action on March 19, 2007.


A. Legal Standards

A court may dismiss a complaint on the ground that it fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted if, assuming the alleged facts to be true and drawing all inferences in the plaintiff's favor, it appears that the plaintiff can prove no facts "consistent with the allegations in the complaint" to support the alleged violation. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1969 (2007); accord Harris v. Ladner, 127 F.3d 1121, 1123 (D.C. Cir. 1997); Kowal v. MCI Commc'ns Corp., 16 F.3d 1271, 1276 (D.C. Cir. 1994).

Summary judgment is appropriate when "the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." FED. R. CIV. P. 56(c); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Diamond v. Atwood, 43 F.3d 1538, 1540 (D.C. Cir. 1995). To determine which facts are "material," a court must look to the substantive law on which each claim rests. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A "genuine issue" is one whose resolution could establish an element of a claim or defense and, therefore, affect the outcome of the action. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322; Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248.

In ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the court must draw all justifiable inferences in the nonmoving party's favor and accept the nonmoving party's evidence as true. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255. A nonmoving party, however, must establish more than "the mere existence of a scintilla of evidence" in support of its position. Id. at 252. To prevail on a motion for summary judgment, the moving party must show that the nonmoving party "fail[ed] to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial." Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322. By pointing to the absence of evidence proffered by the nonmoving party, a moving party may succeed on summary judgment. Id. In addition, the nonmoving party may not rely solely on allegations or conclusory statements. Greene v. Dalton, 164 F.3d 671, 675 (D.C. Cir. 1999); Harding v. Gray, 9 F.3d 150, 154 (D.C. Cir. 1993). Rather, the nonmoving party must present specific ...

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