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Myvett v. Williams

August 3, 2009

BARRINGTON MYVETT, PLAINTIFF,
v.
THOMAS H. WILLIAMS ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

Re Document Nos.: 5, 8

MEMORANDUM OPINION

GRANTING THE DEFENDANTS'MOTION TO DISMISS THE AMENDED COMPLAINT AND DENYING AS MOOT THE DEFENDANTS'MOTION TO DISMISS

I.INTRODUCTION

This matter is before the court on the defendants' motion to dismiss the plaintiff's amended complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The plaintiff brings this action against Thomas H. Williams, the Associate Director for the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency of the District of Columbia ("CSOSA"), Carol Holloway, the Deputy Director of Security at CSOSA, Van Spivey, the Drug Testing Operations Manager at CSOSA, and Juanita Barnes, a CSOSA Drug Testing Technician. Am. Compl. ¶ 4. The plaintiff, a former Drug Testing Technician at CSOSA, alleges that the defendants unjustifiably had him arrested at CSOSA and subsequently wrote false statements about him. See generally Am. Compl. The Chief of the Civil Division of the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia has certified that, at all relevant times, the defendants were acting within the scope of their employment.

Because the court concludes that the plaintiff has failed to plead sufficient facts that, if true, would show that the defendants were acting outside the scope of their employment, the court substitutes the United States as the defendant party with respect to the four common law tort claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2679(d)(1). In addition, because the plaintiff has also failed to plead that he exhausted his administrative remedies prior to commencing this action, the court dismisses the plaintiff's common law tort claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2675(a). The plaintiff also brings constitutional claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ("§ 1983") alleging a violation of his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights, which the court dismisses for lack of state action. Finally, the court dismisses, without prejudice, the plaintiff's claims for retaliation, hostile work environment and civil rights violations under § 1983 because Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), 42 U.S.C. § 2000 et seq., and the Civil Rights Act of 1866, 42 U.S.C. § 1981 ("§ 1981"), are the exclusive remedies for federal workplace discrimination claims.*fn1

II. BACKGROUND

A. Factual History*fn2

From Septembers 2004 to May 2008 the plaintiff was employed as a drug testing technician with CSOSA, Am. Compl. ¶¶ 3, 10, an independent executive branch agency, Defs.' Mot. to Dismiss the Pl.'s Am. Compl. ("Defs.' Mot.") at 1 n.1.

In August 2006 the plaintiff filed an informal Equal Employment Opportunity ("EEO") complaint against Branch Chief Michael Gunn and a formal EEO complaint against Paul Quander.*fn3 Am. Compl. ¶ 5. Subsequently, on May 4, 2007,*fn4 Williams informed the plaintiff that there were concerns about his behavior and that he was being placed on administrative leave pending an investigation. Id. The plaintiff was told that he was required to meet with CSOSA's Office of Professional Responsibility ("OPR") no later than May 9, 2007. Id. ¶ 6. When the plaintiff arrived at CSOSA on May 9, he was stopped at a security checkpoint and prohibited from entering the building. Id. ¶ 7. Later, armed security officers escorted the plaintiff to a room within the building. Id.

The plaintiff alleges that while he was in the building, Holloway called the Metropolitan Police Department ("MPD") falsely complaining that the plaintiff was acting disorderly and that he had no permission to be on CSOSA premises. Id. At the direction of Holloway and Williams, the plaintiff was detained and prevented from leaving CSOSA pending the arrival of MPD. Id. After MPD arrived, the plaintiff was arrested, charged with unlawful entry and transported to MPD for booking. Id. The criminal charges against the plaintiff were subsequently dismissed. Id. ¶ 8.

The plaintiff contends that in May 2007, Spivey asked Barnes to write a letter comparing the plaintiff's behavior to an unstable student at Virginia Tech, who killed thirty-three people before killing himself in April 2007.*fn5 Id. ¶ 9. On May 14, 2007, Barnes wrote such a letter indicating that she feared for her safety because the plaintiff constantly watched the guards and cameras at CSOSA very closely and wrote down his observations. Id. ¶ 9. The plaintiff was terminated from CSOSA on May 13, 2008.*fn6 Am. Compl. ¶ 4.

B. Procedural History

This action was commenced in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia and removed to this court. See Notice of Removal. Pursuant to the Federal Employees Liability Reform and Tort Compensation Act of 1988 ("Westfall Act"), the Chief of the Civil Division of the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia certified ("Westfall Certification") that at all relevant times the defendants were acting within the scope of their employment. Defs.' Mot., Ex. 1.

After the defendants filed their initial motion to dismiss, the plaintiff filed an amended complaint. In the amended complaint the plaintiff alleges four common law tort claims: defamation, false imprisonment, false arrest and malicious prosecution. See generally Am. Compl. In addition, the plaintiff brings a claim under § 1983 alleging a violation of his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Id. Finally, the plaintiff brings claims for hostile work environment and retaliation and a claim under § 1983 for violation of his civil rights. Id. The defendants filed the instant motion to dismiss the amended complaint on October 24, 2008, which the plaintiff opposes. The court turns now to the parties' arguments.

III. ANALYSIS

A. Legal Standard for a Motion to Dismiss

A Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss tests the legal sufficiency of a complaint. Browning v. Clinton, 292 F.3d 235, 242 (D.C. Cir. 2002). The complaint need only set forth a short and plain statement of the claim, giving the defendant fair notice of the claim and the grounds upon which it rests. Kingman Park Civic Ass'n v. Williams, 348 F.3d 1033, 1040(D.C. Cir. 2003) (citing FED. R. CIV. P. 8(a)(2) and Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). "Such simplified notice pleading is made possible by the liberal opportunity for discovery and the other pre-trial procedures established by the Rules to disclose more precisely the basis of both claim and defense to define more narrowly the disputed facts and issues." Conley, 355 U.S. at 47-48 (internal quotation marks omitted). It is not necessary for the plaintiff to plead all elements of his prima facie case in the complaint, ...


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