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Ramesh Sharma v. District of Columbia

August 8, 2012

RAMESH SHARMA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gladys Kessler United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Plaintiff, Ramesh Sharma, a former employee of the District of Columbia Office of Contracting & Procurement ("OCP"), brings this action against Defendant, District of Columbia, for retaliation in violation of the D.C. Whistleblower Protection Act ("DCWPA"), D.C. Code § 1-615.54, the federal False Claims Act ("FCA"), 31 U.S.C. § 3730, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f), and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 ("ADEA"), 29 U.S.C. § § 626(c) and 633a(c).

This matter is presently before the Court on the Defendant's Partial Motion to Dismiss [Docket No. 53]. Upon consideration of the Motion, Opposition, Reply, and the entire record herein, and for the reasons set forth below, the Defendant's Partial Motion to Dismiss is granted.

I. Background

A. Factual Background*fn1

In January 2003, Sharma was hired as a Senior Contract Specialist by the OCP, an agency of the District of Columbia government. Beginning in 2005 and continuing until early 2009, Sharma alleges that various D.C. employees pressured him to approve contracts that were fraudulent, wasteful, and violated D.C. and federal laws and regulations. Sharma contends that he refused to approve these contracts and filed a series of whistleblower complaints with various D.C. and federal agencies.

On October 18, 2006, Sharma filed a formal complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). He amended the complaint six times between his filing date and July 5, 2009. On February 12, 2007, Sharma applied for two Supervisory Contract Specialist positions. Both positions were one employment grade above his current position. Sharma was neither interviewed nor selected for either of the positions.

On March 4, 2009, the construction contracting group at OCP, where Sharma worked, was moved to the D.C. Government's Office of Property Management ("OPM"). In connection with this move, Sharma's co-workers were transferred to other positions within OCP or were sent to the newly formed OPM construction contracting division. Sharma, by contrast, received a notice of Reduction in Force ("RIF") shortly after the reorganization. This notice, which was dated May 18, 2009, was received by Sharma on May 29, 2009, and was effective as of June 19, 2009. Sharma was the only member of the OCP construction contracting group who was subjected to a RIF. On June 3, 2009, Sharma was placed on administrative leave with pay.

On June 11, 2009, Sharma filed a whistleblower reprisal complaint and a complaint about the RIF notice with the D.C. Inspector General's Office. On June 19, 2009, Sharma's RIF went into effect and he was terminated from employment. On July 16, 2009, Sharma appealed the RIF decision to the D.C. Office of Employee Appeals ("OEA"). Sharma withdrew his appeal without prejudice on April 11, 2010. Subsequently, the OEA dismissed Sharma's appeal with prejudice on April 13, 2010.

On September 30, 2010, the EEOC issued a determination on Sharma's EEOC complaint. The determination was favorable to Sharma on a number of his Title VII and ADEA claims against the District. On March 29, 2011, after attempts at conciliation failed, the EEOC referred Sharma's claims to the Department of Justice ("DOJ"). The DOJ ultimately chose not to sue the District on Sharma's behalf, although it did provide Sharma with a Right-To-Sue letter dated December 21, 2011.

B. Procedural Background

On June 18, 2010, Sharma filed this lawsuit against the D.C. Government [Dkt. No. 1]. On September 1, 2010, the District filed its Motion to Dismiss the Original Complaint [Dkt. No. 5]. On June 17, 2011, this Court denied the Defendant's Motion to Dismiss the Original Complaint [Dkt. No. 21]. On July 8, 2011, the District filed an Answer to the Original Complaint. [Dkt. No. 25].

On February 6, 2012, Sharma filed his Second Amended Complaint [Dkt. No. 42].*fn2 On March 21, 2012, the District filed an Answer to the Second Amended Complaint. [Dkt. No. 47].

On March 28, 2012, Sharma filed his Third Amended Complaint [Dkt. No. 50]. On April 16, 2012, the District filed an Answer to the ...


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