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McGee v. District of Columbia

July 15, 2010

SAMUEL MCGEE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, DEFENDANT.



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

Re Document No.: 31

MEMORANDUM OPINION DENYING THE PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR RELIEF UPON RECONSIDERATION

I. INTRODUCTION

This matter is before the court on the plaintiff's motion for relief upon reconsideration of the order denying the plaintiff's motion for leave to amend his complaint and dismissing sua sponte the plaintiff's original complaint. Because the plaintiff has not offered any basis for reversing the court's prior ruling, the court denies the plaintiff's motion.

II. FACTUAL & PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

The plaintiff, an African American male, is a detective employed by the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department ("MPD"). See Compl. ¶ 1; Pl.'s Mot. for Relief Upon Recons. ("Pl.'s Mot.") at 1. In December 2007, the plaintiff commenced this action alleging that MPD subjected him to a "continuing pattern of retaliation" after he participated in an employment discrimination lawsuit against the District of Columbia. Compl. ¶¶ 1-3.

In December 2008, the plaintiff filed a motion for leave to amend his original complaint. See generally Pl.'s Mot. for Leave to Amend Compl. More specifically, the plaintiff sought leave to supplement the Title VII claims asserted in his original complaint with claims for violation of the D.C. Whistleblower Act, D.C. CODE §§ 1-615.51 et seq., intentional infliction of emotional distress ("IIED") and breach of contract. See generally id., Ex. 1 ("Am. Compl."). The plaintiff also sought to supplement the Title VII claims asserted in his original complaint with additional allegations of wrongdoing by MPD. See generally id.

The court denied the plaintiff's motion for leave to amend. See generally Mem. Op. (Aug. 21, 2009). The court concluded that the plaintiff's proposed D.C. Whistleblower Act and IIED claims would be futile because the plaintiff had failed to comply with the mandatory notice provisions set forth in D.C. Code § 12-309. Id. at 6-8. The court also concluded that the plaintiff's proposed breach of contract claims would be futile because those claims were entirely duplicative of his Title VII claims. Id. at 9-11.

Lastly, the court sua sponte dismissed the Title VII claim asserted in the plaintiff's original complaint on res judicata grounds, and denied the plaintiff's motion for leave to supplement that claim with additional allegations of wrongdoing. Id. at 11-14. The court noted that in April 2006, the plaintiff had filed a complaint in this court identical to the one that commenced this action. Id. at 3. The court further noted that in September 2006 -- more than a year before the plaintiff commenced this action -- Judge Leon had dismissed the first complaint, concluding that the plaintiff had failed to exhaust his administrative remedies as required to sustain his Title VII claim. Id. (citing McGee v. District of Columbia, 2006 WL 2598264, at *1-2 (D.D.C. Sept. 11, 2006)). The court concluded that Judge Leon's dismissal of the action operated as a resolution on the merits and dismissed the plaintiff's complaint on res judicata grounds. Id. at 13-14.

The plaintiff subsequently filed this motion for relief upon reconsideration of the court's order pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b). See generally Pl.'s Mot. With this motion now ripe for adjudication, the court turns to the applicable legal standards and the parties' arguments.

III. ANALYSIS

A. Legal Standard for Relief Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)

In its discretion, the court may relieve a party from an otherwise final judgment pursuant to any one of six reasons set forth in Rule 60(b). FED. R. CIV. P. 60(b); Lepkowski v. Dep't of

Treasury, 804 F.2d 1310, 1311-12 (D.C. Cir. 1986). First, the court may grant relief from a judgment involving "mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect." FED. R. CIV. P. 60(b)(1). Relief under Rule 60(b)(1) turns on equitable factors, notably whether any neglect was excusable. Pioneer Inv. Servs. Co. v. Brunswick Ass'n Ltd. P'ship, 507 U.S. 380, 392 (1993). Second, the court may grant relief where there is "newly discovered ...


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