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Glen Perkins v. Davita Vance-Cooks

August 22, 2012


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


Plaintiff Glen Perkins, an employee of the United States Government Printing Office, brings this suit against Defendant Davita Vance-Cooks*fn1 in her official capacity as Acting Public Printer. The Complaint alleges that Defendant engaged in unlawful retaliation against Perkins in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. This matter is now before the Court on Defendant's Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment ("Def.'s Mot.") [Dkt. Nos. 13, 14] pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1), 12(b)(6), and 56. Upon consideration of the Motion, Opposition, Reply, and the entire record herein, and for the reasons set forth below, the Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment is granted.

I. Background*fn2

Plaintiff Glen Perkins, an African-American male, has worked for the United States Government Printing Office ("GPO") since 2002. He has held several positions during this period, beginning as a Mail Clerk in the Office of Congressional Publishing Services ("CPS"), and eventually being promoted to Receiving Clerk at GPO. Perkins claims that his superiors at GPO have taken actions against him in retaliation for his prior Equal Employment Opportunity ("EEO") complaint, which was settled out of court in 2009.

A. The 2009 Settlement Agreement

According to Perkins, his trouble at GPO began in or around 2008, when his immediate supervisor retired and was replaced by someone from outside the office. Perkins Decl. ¶¶ 4-6 [Dkt. No. 20-3]. After the new supervisor was selected, Perkins refused to join two of his co-workers in an effort to undermine the supervisor's authority. Id. ¶ 7. Thereafter, the two co-workers began harassing and physically threatening Perkins. Id. ¶ 9. One of the co-workers, Lyndon Ross, referred to Perkins using racial and sexual epithets. Id. ¶ 8. Perkins eventually reported this conduct to the police, and the co-workers were arrested and "ultimately convicted of felonious threats."*fn3 Id. ¶ 12.

Subsequently, Perkins filed a complaint with GPO's EEO Office. On April 24, 2009, he entered into an out-of-court settlement with GPO. Def.'s Mot. Ex. 7 ("2009 Settlement Agreement") ¶ 5 [Dkt. No. 13-1]. Perkins received a promotion, a lump sum payment of $20,000, a payment representing the difference in pay (the "night time pay differential") between his previous position and the new position he was required to take to separate him from the two co-workers, and $6,000 for attorney's fees and costs. Id. ¶¶ 1-4. Perkins claims, though Defendant denies, that he was never paid the night time pay differential. See Pl.'s Statement of Undisputed Material Facts ¶ 10 [Dkt. No. 20-1]; Def.'s Reply 6-7 [Dkt. No. 23].

B. The Current Civil Action

As a result of the settlement agreement, Perkins was promoted to "Receiving Clerk" on April 26, 2009. Since that time, his supervisors have included Randy Wilson, an African-American male, Sheron Minter, an African-American female, Gregory Estep, a male whose ethnicity has not been identified, and Lyle Green, a Caucasian male. His duties primarily consist of receiving and delivering GPO products to United States House of Representatives and Senate offices on Capitol Hill.

Perkins now claims that his superiors at GPO have engaged in retaliatory conduct. He points to a number of incidents which he claims were retaliatory or, taken together, amount to a hostile work environment. Because the parties disagree as to many of the details of these incidents, the events will be only briefly described below.

1. May 7, 2009, Annual Budget Distribution

On May 7, 2009, Perkins, along with Minter and Wilson, delivered President Barack Obama's first budget to the House of Representatives Budget Committee. Perkins was operating an electric jack. Although the manner and tone Perkins used is in dispute, it is clear that, in one way or another, he asked Minter and Wilson to move out of the way of the jack because he feared it was going to injure them. Later that day and during a subsequent meeting, Wilson chastised Perkins for the way he spoke to him and Minter. According to Perkins, he was never given a chance to explain his behavior.

2. May 18, 2009, Orientation

On May 18, 2009, Perkins' supervisors held an orientation meeting for him. According to Perkins, not every employee who comes to CPS on Capitol Hill is required to attend such a meeting and the purpose of the meeting was to harass him. Defendant vigorously denied this allegation and states that attendance at an orientation meeting is a common practice.

3. Assignment to Work Location Without Assistance

After Perkins' training was completed, he was assigned to the Cannon House Office Building. According to Perkins, he was the only clerk assigned to that work location, even though prior to his tenure and after he left, two clerks were assigned to do that work.

4. June 3, 2009, Incident with Lyndon Ross

According to Perkins, on June 3, 2009, he was standing between the Longworth and Cannon House Office Buildings when Lyndon Ross drove by, stuck out his tongue, and pointed at him in a manner that resembled the pointing of a gun. Perkins reported the incident to GPO's human resources office the next day. He claims that "his supervisors allowed Ross to appear on Capital [sic] Hill to intimidate [him] in the hope [that he] would leave his job." Pl.'s Statement of Undisputed Material Facts ¶ 33.

GPO investigated the incident and determined that Ross had a legitimate reason to be on Capitol Hill, that Ross had no access to information about Perkins' whereabouts, and that the evidence did not support Perkins' ...

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