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Jones v. Quintana

October 26, 2009

ALEXANDRIA JONES, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JANICE QUINTANA, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Colleen Kollar-kotelly United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Plaintiff Alexandria Jones, a former employee of the District of Columbia Office of Unified Communications ("OUC"), filed the above-captioned lawsuit against the District of Columbia ("D.C." or the "District") and Janice Quintana, Director of the OUC (collectively, with D.C., "Defendants"). In her original Complaint, filed on April 10, 2008, Plaintiff alleged retaliation in violation of the D.C. Whistleblower Protection Act, D.C. Code § 1-615.51 et seq. (Count I); retaliation in violation of the D.C. Workers' Compensation statute, D.C. Code § 32-1501 et seq. (Count II); and deprivation of her First Amendment Rights in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Count III). See Compl., Docket No. [1]. On January 2, 2009, Plaintiff amended her complaint to assert two additional claims: a claim that Defendants failed to provide a reasonable accommodation for her mental anxiety in violation of the ADA (Count IV); and a claim that Defendants terminated her employment in retaliation for filing an EEO complaint in violation of the ADA (Count V). See Am. Compl., Docket No. [19].

On January 30, 2009, Defendants filed a [20] Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Amended Complaint, which the Court subsequently granted-in-part and denied-in-part. See Civ. Act. No. 08-620, Mem. Op. (D.D.C. Sept. 30, 2009). More specifically, the Court held as follows:

(1) With respect to Count I, Defendants' motion was GRANTED insofar as Defendants asserted that Count I must be dismissed as against Defendant Quintana, but was DENIED insofar as Defendants asserted that Count I must be dismissed as against the District;

(2) With respect to Count II, Defendants' motion was GRANTED, and Count II was dismissed in its entirety;

(3) With respect to Count III, Defendants' motion was

(a) DENIED insofar as Defendants asserted that Plaintiff failed to sufficiently allege that she spoke out as a private citizen;

(b) GRANTED insofar as Defendants asserted that Plaintiff's Section 1983 claim against Defendant Quintana in her official capacity should be dismissed as redundant;

(c) DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE insofar as Defendants asserted that Defendant Quintana is entitled to qualified immunity;

(D) GRANTED insofar as Defendants sought to dismiss Plaintiff's Section 1983 claim against the District;

(4) With respect to Count IV, Defendants' motion was GRANTED, and Count IV was dismissed in its entirety; and

(5) With respect to Count V, Defendants' motion was DENIED.

Accordingly, as the Court made clear in its Memorandum Opinion, the following two claims survived Defendants' [20] Motion to Dismiss: Count I (D.C. Whistleblower Protection Act, D.C. Code § 1-615.51 et seq.) as against the District, and Count V (retaliation in violation of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. § 12203(a)), as against the District. Id. at 2.

With respect to Plaintiff's Section 1983 claim as against Defendant Quintana, however, the Court denied Defendants' motion to dismiss without prejudice, noting that the Amended Complaint did not indicate whether Plaintiff intended to bring suit against Defendant Quintana in her individual or official capacity and that the Court was unable to conclude on the record then before it whether Plaintiff meant to assert her Section 1983 claim against Defendant Quintana in her official capacity and/or individual capacity. The Court concluded that it was "unfair to Defendant Quintana to require her to advance a claim of qualified immunity without specific notice as to the exact nature of the factual allegations against her in her personal capacity." Id. at 17. The Court therefore held that, to the extent Plaintiff intended to allege her Section 1983 claim against Defendant Quintana in her individual capacity as well as in her official capacity, she was required to amend her complaint, by no later than October 16, 2009, to specify that she intended to sue Defendant Quintana in her individual capacity and to allege facts sufficient to support her claim that Defendant Quintana should be held personally liable. The Court ...


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