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Troy Marcello Tolson v. Craig L. Stanton

February 22, 2012


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


Plaintiff filed this civil action in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia on January 5, 2012, and defendant removed this action on January 25, 2012. This matter now is before the Court on plaintiff's motions for injunctive relief, and the motions will be denied.


Plaintiff "is an employee of the Department of Education [whose] first line supervisor is Charles Laster and [whose] second line supervisor" is defendant Craig Stanton. Mem. in Supp. of Def.'s Opp'n to Pl.'s Mot. for TRO & Prelim. Inj., Aff. of Craig Stanton ("Def.'s Aff.")

¶ 2. Defendant is "a non-attorney supervisor . . . in the Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO)[] at the Department of Education," Def.'s Aff. ¶ 1, and he represents that the "matters underlying the allegations in the complaint are incidents that occurred in federal work spaces over which [he] is responsible." Id. ¶ 3.

According to plaintiff, defendant has stalked him and "follow[ed him] around, even to the bathroom," and when confronted, defendant allegedly continued this behavior "at a more frequent and intense rate." Compl. at 2 (page numbers designated by the Court). In addition, defendant allegedly assaulted plaintiff on four occasions, see id. at 5, two of which resulted in injuries to plaintiff's knee, see id. at 4-6.

One incident occurred on June 21, 2011. Plaintiff describes the incident as follows: On the very first day of my return to the office after being out of the office for 8 weeks after major abdominal surgery, the [defendant] and a [sic] unnamed cooperator request [sic] my presence in a meeting 5 minute[s] after my arriva[l] to my surprise the meeting commenced with a barrage of personal attacks and insults. I had thing [sic] thrown at me and I was spit on repeatedly. I was overwhelmed so quick that before I knew it, again, the [defendant] came up behind me as I was looking in another direction a [sic] begun kicking me, kneeing me and using his lever[age] an [sic] body weight to essential [sic] "pins" me in the seat. Although this time the seat did not have wheels. In order to free myself I had to push past him. As I did so, he tripped me and [illegible] struck me with his elbow multiple times. Once I freed myself I ran out of the office. The trip cause me to sprain me knee. I limped for four week[s] with a swollen knee.

Compl. at 4-5. Defendant's description differs substantially:

The Plaintiff had been on sick leave for surgery and had not returned to the office for six weeks, during May and June of 2011. During that period he had no contact with any of his supervisors or managers beyond dropping off time sheets for "time and attendance" purposes which he did after normal work hours. Through the course of his absence, management, including myself, unsuccessfully attempted to identify the specifics of the Plaintiff's situation since he had not responded to numerous email and telephone requests to contact management.

On June 21, 2011 the Plaintiff unexpectedly returned to the work place and immediately had a meeting with Mr. Laster. The Plaintiff was upset concerning the fact that he had not been paid for portions of his absence, in spite of the fact that he failed to submit any work product or properly report to his supervisors during his absence. Mr. Laster notified me of the Plaintiff's return to the workplace and of their tense meeting.

The Plaintiff knocked on my door and requested to talk to me about an hour after his meeting with Mr. Laster. The Plaintiff and I spoke for about an hour. We discussed his medical situation, his failure to report his status to his supervisors following the end of his sick leave period, and his failure to submit work product or contact his supervisor while allegedly tele-working. This was a private meeting and there were no other witnesses, however the door was open. There were no raised voices and at no time did I touch, assault, spit upon, kick, hit, or hold the Plaintiff in any manner or in any way. During and after this meeting I made detailed notes about the substance of our conversation for my own records and followed them up with an email to the Plaintiff welcoming him back to the office after his surgery.

Def.'s Aff. ¶¶ 7-9.

The parties present dissimilar descriptions of another incident on September 26, 2011. Plaintiff alleges that defendant "kicked, elbowed, spit on, and pushed" him, and when plaintiff "attempt[ed] to leave the premise[s], . . . he literally chase[d]" plaintiff to the exit. Compl. at 5. Defendant represents that plaintiff "caused a scene with Mr. Laster" on that day, Def.'s Aff. ¶ 10, with "numerous staff observing" the encounter, id. ¶ 11, culminating with plaintiff "yelling at . . . and approaching [defendant]," bumping defendant's chest, id. Defendant concurs that he "followed [plaintiff] to the exit of the building." Id. ¶ 12. Defendant further represents that that plaintiff returned to Mr. Laster's office shortly after this encounter.*fn1 Id. ¶ 13.

In this action, plaintiff demands damages as compensation for costs associated with medical treatment and lost wages, among other things. See Mot. of Troy Marcello Tolson for TRO at 2; see also Mot. of Troy Marcello Tolson for PI at 2. He also asks that the Court "demand a stop to committing [this] behavior," issue a "stay-away order," and require ...

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