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Winder v. Erste

United States District Court, District of Columbia

March 29, 2013

ALFRED M. WINDER, Plaintiff,
v.
LOUIS ERSTE, et al., Defendants

Page 110

For ALFRED M. WINDER, Plaintiff: Brian Cooper Plitt, LEAD ATTORNEY, Washington, DC; John F. Karl, Jr., LEAD ATTORNEY, MCDONALD & KARL, Washington, DC.

For LOUIS ERSTE, Individually, and as Chief Operating Officer of the Division of Transportation, District of Columbia Public Schools, KENNEDY KHABO, Individually, and as Operating Officer of the Division of Transportation, District of Columbia Public Schools, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA PUBLIC SCHOOLS, ELFREDA W. MASSIE, In her official capacity as Interim Superintendent District of Columbia Public Schools, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, Defendants: Steven J. Anderson, LEAD ATTORNEY, OFFICE OF ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR DC, Washington, DC.

For METROPOLITAN WASHINGTON EMPLOYMENT LAWYERS ASSOCIATION, Amicus: Alan Robert Kabat, LEAD ATTORNEY, BERNABEI & WACHTEL, PLLC, Washington, DC.

OPINION

Page 111

JOHN D. BATES, United States District Judge.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Plaintiff Alfred M. Winder is a former employee of the District of Columbia in the Division of Transportation of the D.C. Public Schools (" DCPS" ). He has brought this action against the District of Columbia and DCPS official Louis Erste. The Court previously granted defendant's motion for summary judgment on Winder's procedural due process claims, and granted in part and denied in part the District's motion for summary judgment on Winder's District of Columbia Whistleblower Protection Act (" DC WPA" ) claims. Based on certain deficiencies in the record, the Court gave the District an opportunity to file a renewed motion for summary judgment on the remnants of Winder's DC WPA claim, which were limited to the following three events: Winder's purported testimony before the D.C. Council; his conversation with Erste relating to the filing of a false affidavit; and his complaint to the Inspector

Page 112

General. The District has now filed that motion. For the reasons discussed below, the Court will grant it in its entirety.

BACKGROUND

This case has a long and tortured history, which has been set forth more fully in previous opinions. See, e.g., Winder v. Erste, Civ. Action No. 03-2623, 2005 WL 736639, at *1-2 (D.D.C. Mar. 31, 2005); Winder v. Erste, 511 F.Supp.2d 160, 165-70 (D.D.C. 2007); Winder v. Erste, 566 F.3d 209, 211-13, 386 U.S. App. D.C. 26 (D.C. Cir. 2009); Winder v. Erste, 767 F.Supp.2d 179, 179-80 (D.D.C. 2011); Winder v. Erste, 905 F.Supp.2d 19, 2012 WL 5863494, at *1-4 (D.D.C. Nov. 19, 2012). In short, the case arises from the termination of Winder from his position as transportation manager; in that capacity, he assisted in the District's compliance with the orders issued in Petties v. District of Columbia (D.D.C.) (" Petties orders" ), which were designed to address major problems in the way the District managed the transportation of special education students. The only issues left in the case concern three events that constitute Winder's remaining DC WPA claims. Hence, only the relevant facts relating to those claims are set forth here. [1]

Winder purportedly testified about a work stoppage of bus drivers at a meeting of the D.C. Council Committee on Education, Libraries, and Recreation. 2007 Winder Decl. ¶ ¶ 93-94. He claims that the chair of the hearing, D.C. Council member Kevin Chavous, had been unsatisfied with Erste's and Operating Officer of the Division of Transportation Kennedy Khabo's responses and called Winder to the witness table to answer questions. Pl.'s WPA Stmt.¶ 179 (citing 2007 Winder Aff. ¶ 93). After Winder's testimony, Erste " express[ed] opposition and hostility" and Winder heard Erste tell Kevin Walsh, who worked for Special Master Baach, that " I should have fired that motherf****r when I had the chance." Pl.'s WPA Stmt. ¶ 180; 2007 Winder Decl. ¶ 94. On January 28, 2003, the Petties plaintiffs filed a motion to appoint a receiver to bring the Transportation Division into compliance with the Petties orders. Pl.'s WPA Stmt. ¶ 178.

Winder and Erste met on February 3, 2003 to discuss the District's opposition to the motion to appoint a receiver. Pl.'s WPA Stmt. ¶ 182. According to Winder, Erste wanted him to submit a false affidavit stating that all positions within Winder's department had been filled and that the department was fully funded. Id. ¶ ¶ 182-85; 2013 Winder Decl. ¶ ¶ 33, 35. He also wanted Winder to state that appointment of a receiver was unnecessary because improvements and progress were being made, and " all issues were on the road to correction." 2013 Winder Decl. ¶ 36. Winder stated that he refused, and appears to claim that Erste and Khabo then submitted those false affidavits. 2013 Winder Decl. ¶ ¶ 38-39.

On February 24, 2003, Winder filed a formal complaint against Khabo and Erste with the ...


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