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Delbert v. Duncan

United States District Court, District of Columbia

February 14, 2013

Kevin D. DELBERT, II, Plaintiff,
v.
Arne DUNCAN, Secretary, U.S. Department of Education, et al., Defendants.

Page 257

Kevin Delbert, Asheville, NC, pro se.

Jeffrey Earl Warner, U.S. Attorney's Office, James Anthony Towns, Sr., Office of the Attorney General, Washington, DC, for Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

ELLEN SEGAL HUVELLE, District Judge.

Plaintiff Kevin D. Delbert, II, who is proceeding pro se, filed the above-captioned case against Arne Duncan, Secretary of the United States Department of Education (" Federal Defendant" ), and Deidre Burchette and Yolanda Mitchell, two employees of the District of Columbia's Department of Disability Services (" DDS" ) (" District Defendants" ). This matter is before the Court on defendants' motions to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim. (District Defendants Mot. to Dismiss, Aug. 23, 2012 [ECF No. 11]; Federal Defendant's Mot. to Dismiss, Sept. 21, 2012 [ECF No. 17].) For the reasons stated herein, both motions will be granted and the case dismissed.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff is a white male resident of the District of Columbia and a former student of the Art Institute of Washington in Arlington, Virginia. (Compl. ¶ 1.) From January 2010 through March 2012, he received tuition subsidies and transit benefits through the District of Columbia's Vocational Rehabilitation Program (" VRP" ), a program operated by DDS and funded by a grant from the Department of Education. (Compl. ¶¶ 1, 10-11, 14; Pl.'s

Page 258

Opp. at 1.) Burchette and Mitchell were the DDS employees who supervised plaintiff. Disagreements arose between plaintiff and his supervisors as to the timing and use of transit benefits, plaintiff's course load, and payment of plaintiff's tuition. ( Id. ¶¶ 9, 10, 1, 14.) For example, according to plaintiff, " [f]rom May 2009 through March 2011, the transit benefit (voucher) was either untimely or not processed at all," and, as a result, he was unable " to afford the cost of transit to academic site" which in turn " caused stress upon him" and adversely affected his academic performance. ( Id. ¶ 10.) In addition, plaintiff alleges that his tuition was not paid ( see id. ¶¶ 11, 17), and that he was accused of having used $1,280 " on other things when it should have been used for his transit benefit." ( Id. ¶ 14.) [1] Generally, he alleges that over a two-year period, he was " subjected to continuous harassment" by his supervisors and a " hostile work environment." Id. ¶ 11.

On August 4, 2010, plaintiff filed complaints with the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights about his " untimely transit benefits." ( Id. ¶ 10; Pl. Opp. at 1.) After an investigation, the Department of Education issued a Final Agency Decision on March 21, 2011, finding no discrimination. (Pl. Opp. at 1.) On June 6, 2011, plaintiff filed another complaint with the Office of Civil Rights, " alleging the retaliation that took place after the formal investigation." ( Id. at 2.) Plaintiff alleges that his complaints were either not properly processed or not properly investigated. ( Id. ¶¶ 18, 19.)

Plaintiff's pending complaint claims that he was subject to " harassment," a " hostile work environment," and retaliation for engaging in protected activity, in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, see 42 U.S.C. § 2000d (" Title VI" ), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, see 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq, (" Title VII" ) and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, as amended, see 20 U.S.C. § 1681 (" Title IX" ) and deprived him of his substantive and procedural constitutional rights to due process in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Specifically, plaintiff purports to bring claims against Mitchell and Burchette under Title VII, alleging that these defendants harassed and retaliated against him for having filed complaints with the DOE's Office of Human Rights, see Compl. ¶¶ 21-23 (Count I), and that they subjected him to a hostile work environment, see id. ¶¶ 25-27 (Count II). He also purports to bring civil rights claims against Mitchell and Burchette under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged violations of his right to due process. See Compl. ¶¶ 33, 35 (Counts IV and V). In addition, plaintiff claims that DDS discriminated against him on the basis of his sex, see id. ¶¶ 29-31 (Count III), in violation of Title IX, and on the basis of his race, color or national origin, see Compl. ¶¶ 37-38 (Count VI), in violation of Title VI. Plaintiff demands a declaratory judgment, and compensatory and punitive damages. Compl. at 8 (page number designated by ECF).

DISCUSSION

I. Dismissal Under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure

Plaintiff need only provide a " short and plain statement of [his] claim showing that [he is] entitled to relief," Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), that " give[s] the defendant fair notice of what the ...


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