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Warren Drewrey v. Hillary Clinton

January 26, 2011

WARREN DREWREY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
HILLARY CLINTON, IN HER OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS THE SECRETARY OF THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE, DEFENDANT.



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

Re Document No.: 29

MEMORANDUM OPINION GRANTING THE DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

I. INTRODUCTION

This matter comes before the court on the defendant's motion for summary judgment. The plaintiff, an African-American, brings this action against his employer, the Department of State, asserting claims of disparate treatment based on his race and retaliation for his involvement in protected activity, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e et seq. For the reasons discussed below, the court grants the defendant's motion for summary judgment.

II. FACTUAL & PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND*fn1

The plaintiff has been employed by the defendant since 1988. Compl. ¶ 6. In 2003, he obtained a position as a Management Analyst at the GS-12 level, in the Management Support Division ("MSD") of the Department of State's Bureau of Overseas Building Operations ("OBO").Id.; Def.'s Statement of Material Facts ("Def.'s Statement") ¶ 1. At all times relevant to this suit, the plaintiff was supervised by Roberto Coquis, the Director of the MSD. Def.'s Statement ¶¶ 2-3. From November 2005 until August 2008, the plaintiff and Coquis, a Hispanic, engaged in a series of escalating employment-related disputes. See generally Compl.; Def.'s Mot., Ex. T ("Coquis Decl.") ¶ 1.

On November 17, 2005, Coquis assigned the plaintiff to the position of Travel Office Manager and directed the plaintiff to relocate to the Travel Office by the following month.

Def.'s Mot, Ex. A; Compl. ¶¶ 3, 12; Def.'s Statement ¶ 5. Because of his parental obligations and the schedule that those obligations demanded, the plaintiff "had reservations about moving his office and also about taking the duties" of that position. Compl. ¶ 12. According to the defendant, the plaintiff refused to accept his new assignment of duties. Def.'s Statement ¶ 5.

On May 24, 2006, Coquis confronted the plaintiff regarding the plaintiff's "alleged misuse of leave" approximately two months earlier. Compl. ¶ 13; see generally Def.'s Mot., Ex.

I. According to the defendant, the plaintiff had turned in a leave slip for one hour of leave but later sought and received permission from Coquis to take off the remainder of the workday.

Def.'s Mot., Ex. I at 1. When Coquis required that the plaintiff to submit a leave slip for the unaccounted time, id., the plaintiff purportedly shouted at Coquis and accused Coquis of abusing his own leave privileges, Coquis Decl. ¶ 7.

On August 1, 2006, Coquis conducted a mid-year review of the plaintiff and rated the plaintiff's performance "unacceptable" in three critical areas. Def.'s Mot., Ex. Q. The plaintiff received a memorandum entitled "deficiencies in your performance," advising him that a formal [p]erformance [i]mprovement [p]lan would be implemented unless his performance improved.

Def.'s Mot, Ex. Q at 1; Compl. ¶ 14. In a meeting with the plaintiff, Coquis asked the plaintiff to review the areas of deficiency and submit a report "on each item detailing how [he] would improve [his] performance." Id. The plaintiff allegedly responded, "I know what you are doing," walked out of the meeting and refused to sign the memorandum. Id. When the plaintiff's performance had not improved by January 2007, Coquis placed the plaintiff on a performance improvement plan. Def.'s Mot., Ex. II.

Shortly after receiving this negative performance review, on August 7, 2006, the plaintiff contacted an EEO counselor. Compl. ¶ 28. In September 2006, Coquis learned that the plaintiff had filed an EEO complaint, id. ¶ 31, "based on claims of racial discrimination in connection ...


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