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Tawwaab v. Virginia Linen Service

February 1, 2009

ABDUL K. TAWWAAB, PLAINTIFF,
v.
VIRGINIA LINEN SERVICE, INC., ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

Dkt. Nos. 3-4

MEMORANDUM OPINION

This matter is before the court on the defendants' motion to dismiss or, in the alternative, for summary judgment. For the reasons stated below, the court will transfer this action to the United States District Court for the District of Maryland.

I. BACKGROUND

The plaintiff "was employed by Virginia Linen Service as a route representative, or driver, in Maryland." Mem. in Support of Mot. to Dismiss and/or for Summ. J. ("Defs.' Mot."), Ex. A ("Gwaltney Aff.") ¶ 3. The "entire route was in Maryland," and the events giving rise to the plaintiff's complaint occurred in Maryland. Id. According to the plaintiff, on November 1, 2006, he was terminated on the basis of his race and in retaliation for his involvement in protected activity in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, see 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. Compl. at 4.

In February 2007, the plaintiff filed a formal Charge of Discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC").*fn1 Id. at 4; Gwaltney Aff., Ex. 1 (Charge of Discrimination). The matter was not resolved, Compl. at 4, and the EEOC issued a Notice of Right to Sue on July 24, 2008. Gwantney Aff., Ex. 2 (Notice of Right to Sue) at 2.

On October 24, 2008, the plaintiff filed this employment discrimination action against Virginia Linen Service, Inc., Assistant General Manager Chuck Miller, and Regional Vice President Lee Gwaltney. Compl. at 1 (date stamp); see Gwaltney Aff. ¶ 2. With his pro se complaint, the plaintiff submitted an Application to Proceed Without Prepayment of Fees and Affidavit. See Dkt. #2. The court granted the Application on October 30, 2008, id. at 2, and on October 31, 2008, the Clerk of Court officially filed these documents and entered them onto the electronic docket. See Dkt. #1-2.

II. DISCUSSION

A. Plaintiff Filed His Complaint Timely

The defendants argue that the plaintiff failed to file his Complaint within 90 days after the EEOC issued its Notice of Right to Sue. See Defs.' Mot. at 3-4. The court will deny the motion on this ground.

It is presumed that the right-to-sue letter was mailed on the same date of its issuance. See Anderson v. Local 201 Reinforcing Rodmen, 886 F. Supp. 94, 97 (D.D.C. 1995). The Notice advises that a lawsuit "must be filed WITHIN 90 DAYS from [the claimant's] receipt of th[e] Notice." Pl.'s Opp'n to Mot. to Dismiss and/or for Summ. J. ("Pl.'s Opp'n"), Ex. B (Notice of Right to Sue) (emphasis in original). The plaintiff establishes that he received the Notice on July 26, 2008. Pl.'s Opp'n ¶ 1 & Ex. B. By the court's calculation, the plaintiff's filing deadline fell on October 24, 2008, the date on which the Clerk of Court received the complaint and Application to Proceed Without Prepayment of Fees.

In cases where a plaintiff requests leave to proceed without payment of the filing fee, typically there is a lapse of time between submission of complaint to the Clerk and its official filing and entry onto the Court's electronic docket. The plaintiff "is not responsible for the administrative delay associated with the [c]court's review of his application to proceed in forma pauperis." Hogue v. Roach, 967 F. Supp. 7, 8 (D.D.C. 1997); see Guillen v. Nat'l Grange, 955 F. Supp. 144, 145 (D.D.C. 1997) (finding that "the presentation of a complaint accompanied with a petition to proceed in forma pauperis tolls the ninety-day period of limitations contained in the right to sue letter").

The court concludes that Plaintiff filed his complaint timely.

B. This Matter Will Be Transferred to the United States District Court for the ...


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