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Bilal-Edwards v. United Planning Organization

United States District Court, District of Columbia

October 10, 2012

Salim BILAL-EDWARDS, Plaintiffs,
v.
UNITED PLANNING ORGANIZATION, et al., Defendants.

Page 89

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 90

Joseph Erwin Schuler, Jackson Lewis LLP, Reston, VA, for Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

REGGIE B. WALTON, District Judge.

This case, in which the plaintiff, Salim Bilal-Edwards, filed a six-count complaint against the defendants alleging, among other things, wrongful termination, negligence, extreme and outrageous conduct, and hostile work environment,[1] is currently before the Court on the Defendants' Motion To Dismiss Counts 1, 3, 5 and 6 for Failure To State Claims upon which Relief Can Be Granted (" Defs.' Mot." ), the Plaintiff's Motion to Proceed with Counts 1, 3, 5, and 6 (" Pl.'s Mot." ),[2] and the Plaintiff's Memorandum in Response to Defendant[s'] Motion to Dismiss Counts 1, 3, 5, and 6 [and] Plaintiff Ask for Continuance Until Appropriate Counsel Can Assist with the Case (" Pl.'s Cont. Mot." ).[3] For the reasons explained below, the defendants' motion will be granted, and the plaintiff's motion will be denied as moot.[4]

Page 91

I. BACKGROUND

A. The Plaintiff's Factual Allegations

Viewed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, the facts currently before the Court are as follows.

One of the defendants, the United Planning Organization (" UPO" ), is a " human service agency" [5] doing business in the District of Columbia. Compl. ¶ 5. The other two defendants, DeAngelo Rorie and Andrea Thomas, are the Director of Youth Services and Chief of Staff of the UPO, respectively. Id. ¶¶ 6-7.

The plaintiff, Salim Bilal-Edwards, is a fifty-year old man who was hired in March 2009 as an Assistant Director of Youth Services at the UPO's facility located at 301 Rhode Island Avenue, N.W. Id. ¶¶ 3, 8-9. As an Assistant Director, the plaintiff was responsible for monitoring at least some of the UPO's financial activities, including ensuring that federal grant funds received by the UPO were expended properly. Id. ¶¶ 20, 22-23. The plaintiff also " developed partnerships" with other organizations within the community on behalf of the UPO. Id. ¶ 36.

The plaintiff was instructed, but refused, to breach a contract with one of the UPO's community partners and to " submit a potentially false report" to another. Id. ¶¶ 38-39, 45-46. Ms. Thomas and Mr. Rorie were " angry" and " enraged" with the plaintiff because of his refusals and complaints. Id. ¶¶ 44-46.

In the course of carrying out his various duties, the plaintiff discovered that the UPO was misusing federal grant funds, id. ¶¶ 27-28, and subsequently " informed staff that [the d]efendants could not spend federal stimulus grant dollars" inappropriately, id. ¶¶ 46-48. In addition to complaining about funding discrepancies and contracts, the plaintiff complained to Ms. Thomas about her " use of negative and derogatory names." Id. ¶ 51. Ms. Thomas " often referred to [the p]laintiff and another male employee as ‘ box lifters,’ " and " referred to another male employee as her ‘ pole dancer.’ " Id. ¶¶ 49-50. The plaintiff further complained to the UPO's Assistant Director of Human Resources about a female employee's allegations that Ms. Thomas was sexually harassing her. Id. ¶¶ 57-59. Because of the plaintiff's complaints, Ms. Thomas increased the amount of work required of the plaintiff. Id. ¶ 61.

In December 2009, the plaintiff was transferred to UPO's 3839 Alabama Avenue, S.E. location. Id. ¶ 8. Both the UPO and Mr. Rorie were aware that the Alabama Avenue facility " had a history of sewage problems" and that " sewage was leaking" underneath the facility. Id. ¶¶ 10-11, 15. Additionally, a methane odor permeated the facility, resulting in the plaintiff and two female employees, both in their twenties, complaining to the UPO and to Mr. Rorie about the odor. Id. ¶¶ 13-14, 16. The " [p]laintiff inhaled [the] methane fumes for months," causing him to fall ill and suffer from migraine headaches. Id. ¶ 16.

Neither the UPO nor Mr. Rorie responded to the plaintiff's complaints about the odor or his resulting illness. Id. ¶ 18. Because of the plaintiff's " complaints about the odor of methane," id. ¶ ...


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