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Cooper v. Jackson

United States District Court, District of Columbia

April 23, 2013

ROBERT F. COOPER, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
GREGORY JACKSON, et al., Defendants

Page 76

ROBERT F. COOPER, JR., Plaintiff, Pro se, Camp Springs, MD.

For GREGORY E. JACKSON, Judge, PETER J. NICKLES, Attorney General for the District of Columbia, FRANK MCDOUGALD, Asst. Attorney General for the District of Columbia, NADINE CHANDLER WILBURN, Chief Counsel Labor and Employment Division, ANDREA G. COMENTALE, Chief Personnel and Labor Relations Section, CATHY L. LANIER, Chief of Police, JACK RAHER, Chief Psychiatrist, JAMES WELLHOUSE, Psychiatrist, ROBERT J. NOYES, Captain, THOMAS C. CARROLL, Inspector, ROBERT V. BOGGS, Captain, WILLIAM O. RITCHIE, Captain, Defendants: Martha J. Mullen, LEAD ATTORNEY, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, Washington, DC.

OPINION

ROSEMARY M. COLLYER, United States District Judge.

Page 77

Pro se Plaintiff Robert Cooper, Jr., brought this suit regarding events that occurred decades ago. Because some of his claims were barred by statutes of limitations, those claims were dismissed. See

Page 78

Order [Dkt. 3]. Mr. Cooper seeks reconsideration and reversal of the order dismissing those claims. Defendants oppose reconsideration and also seek dismissal of the remaining claims on res judicata grounds. Both matters are fully briefed. As explained below, Mr. Cooper's motion for reconsideration will be denied and Defendants' motion to dismiss will be granted.

I. FACTS

In 1981, Mr. Cooper was employed as a Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) police officer. Midway through his probationary first year, in June 1981, he was dismissed. He brought suit in federal court in that year challenging his dismissal and seeking reinstatement. See Mot. to Dismiss [Dkt. 12], Ex. 1 [Dkt. 12-1] ( Cooper v. Barry, Civ. No. 81-2883, slip op. at 1 (D.D.C. Sept. 27, 1989)). In a January 13, 1984 opinion, the district court ordered MPD to reinstate him, finding that the dismissal violated Mr. Cooper's rights to Due Process under the Fifth Amendment. Id. MPD required Mr. Cooper to undergo a reinstatement physical exam on May 30, 1985 and a reinstatement psychiatric exam on October 2, 1985; MPD reinstated Mr. Cooper on December 22, 1986.

Upon reinstatement, Mr. Cooper was required to undergo another physical exam, including a drug test. He tested positive for marijuana, and MPD recommended his termination. Id. at 2. Mr. Cooper unsuccessfully challenged this recommendation before MPD's Adverse Action Panel, also known as MPD's Trial Board. Id. MPD adopted the Panel's recommendation of termination, and Mr. Cooper appealed to the Chief of Police. The Chief denied the appeal on February 15, 1989. Id. Mr. Cooper was terminated on March 11, 1989. Id.

Mr. Cooper continued to challenge his termination. Much litigation ensued, as described below, with courts sometimes ruling in favor of Mr. Cooper and other times ruling in favor of the MPD. In the end, Mr. Cooper's termination was upheld.

The additional litigation regarding Mr. Cooper's termination proceeded as follows: After his termination on March 11, 1989, Mr. Cooper requested a hearing before the Office of Employee Appeals (OEA). He alleged that MPD tampered with his urine sample, rendering faulty results, and thus MPD should not have been allowed to use the urine sample as evidence for his termination. See Mot. to Dismiss, Ex. 2 [Dkt. 12-2] ( Metropolitan Police Dep't v. D.C. Office of Employee Appeals, 2008 CA 8607, slip op. at 2 (D.C. S.Ct. Feb. 7, 2012)). Mr. Cooper also raised constitutional claims. The OEA rejected Mr. Cooper's arguments and affirmed the ruling of the Trial Board. Id.

While the OEA appeal was pending, Mr. Cooper filed in federal district court a motion for contempt and to enforce the 1984 judgment requiring reinstatement. Mr. Cooper alleged that MPD acted improperly by requiring him to take a physical exam and that he was treated unfairly as a " marked man." Cooper, Civ. No. 81-2883, slip op. at 3. The district court denied the motion, noting that Mr. Cooper was in fact reinstated as ordered. Id. Further, the court explained the ...


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