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Adedayo A. Adewole v. Psi Services

July 18, 2011

ADEDAYO A. ADEWOLE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
PSI SERVICES, INC., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Henry H. Kennedy, Jr. United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Plaintiff Adedayo A. Adewole brings this suit against PSI Services, Inc., alleging discrimination based on his national origin and retaliation for complaining about such discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., and the Civil Rights Act of 1866, 42 U.S.C. § 1981. Adewole's claims arise from his termination from employment at PSI amid allegations of fraud. Before the Court is PSI's motion for summary judgment [#16]. Upon consideration of the motion, the opposition thereto, and the record of this case, the Court concludes that the motion must be granted.

I. BACKGROUND

PSI provides mental health and related services to local government agencies, including the District of Columbia. PSI's Residential Program allows adult program participants with developmental disabilities to live in a supervised independent living environment. Adewole worked as a counselor in PSI's Residential Program, providing supervision and assistance to program participants. PSI counselors are permitted to use their personal vehicles to transport their assigned program participants for purposes consistent with each participant's individualized service plan. PSI reimburses employees on a per-mile basis for the use of their personal vehicles in the performance of these duties.

Adewole alleges that he frequently had difficulty obtaining his mileage reimbursements from PSI. Pl.'s Opp'n to Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J. ("Pl.'s Opp'n") Ex. 1 ("Adewole Decl.") ¶ 8. In April 2006, Adewole called Residential Director Antone McClure seeking reimbursement for the prior month's mileage. According to Adewole, McClure offered no explanation for the nonpayment of his mileage claims. Adewole Decl. ¶ 8. The next day, Adewole was suspended for allegedly referring to a program participant as "stupid." Adewole Decl.¶¶ 8--9; Def.'s Mem. in Supp. of Summ. J. ("Def.'s Mem.") Ex. 2 ("Williams Decl.") ¶ 11. Believing this explanation for his suspension to be false, Adewole filed an EEOC complaint on May 10, 2006, alleging that he had been discriminated against because of his Nigerian origin. Pl.'s Opp'n Ex. 2. According to Adewole, after he filed the complaint, PSI reimbursed him for several weeks of travel and asked him to withdraw his complaint, telling him that he would be compensated for his lost time at work. Adewole Decl. ¶ 10. Adewole subsequently withdrew the complaint.*fn1

For the majority of his time at PSI, Adewole was assigned to a program participant named K.G.*fn2 Sometime in 2007, K.G. reported to PSI staff that Adewole would frequently drive him to Adewole's sister's house to pick her up and drive her to work. Following K.G.'s report, PSI conducted an audit of Adewole's mileage claim forms and found numerous entries for trips to and from the National Institutes of Health, where PSI alleges Adewole's sister worked, as well as trips to and from Riverdale, Maryland, where Adewole lived during his employment with PSI. PSI asserts that Adewole also took K.G. to Adewole's family picnic and on other personal errands. Williams Decl. ¶¶ 20--22.

Adewole disputes these assertions, stating that he has no family in the United States. Def.'s Mem. Ex. 3 ("Adewole Dep.") at 22. He also avers that no one from PSI confronted him regarding these accusations. They did, however, issue him two written warnings, in January of 2007 and again that July, stating that the mileage he reported for reimbursement was excessive and advising him that he could be terminated for falsifying mileage on his claims forms. Williams Decl. ¶¶ 29--30.

On September 12, 2007, Adewole was summoned to PSI's office to sign paperwork for outstanding mileage reimbursement claims. Upon Adewole's arrival, McClure issued him a notice of termination for claiming personal use of his vehicle on his mileage reimbursement forms. Adewole subsequently commenced this action, alleging that PSI discriminated against him on the basis of his national origin and retaliated against him for filing his 2006 EEOC complaint. PSI now moves for summary judgment.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

A motion for summary judgment should be granted only "if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." FED. R. CIV. P. 56(a). A material fact is one that "might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). The movant must support its factual positions by "citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations . . . , admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials." FED. R. CIV. P. 56(c)(1)(A); see Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986).

If the moving party meets its burden, the non-moving party must then establish that a genuine dispute as to any material fact exists. See Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). To meet its burden, the non-moving party must show that "the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict" in its favor. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. Such evidence must consist of more than mere unsupported allegations or denials and must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine dispute for trial. See FED. R. CIV. P. 56(c)(1), (e); Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322 n.3. If the evidence is "merely colorable" or "not significantly probative," summary judgment may be granted. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249--50.

III. ANALYSIS

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating "against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual's race, color, religion, sex, or national origin."

42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)(1). It further prohibits retaliation against an employee "because he has opposed any practice made . . . unlawful . . . by this subchapter, or because he has made a charge, testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing under this subchapter." Id. § 2000e-3(a). The Civil Rights Act of 1866, 42 U.S.C. § 1981, similarly prohibits both ...


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