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King v. Holder

United States District Court, District of Columbia

April 24, 2013

WILLARD T. KING, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
ERIC HIMPTON HOLDER, JR., Attorney General, et al., Defendants

Page 84

For WILLARD T. KING, JR., Plaintiff: Donald B. Terrell, DONALD B. TERRELL ASSOCIATES, Washington, DC.

For ERIC HIMPTON HOLDER, JR., Attorney General, Defendant: Alexander Daniel Shoaibi, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Washington, DC.

OPINION

Page 85

MEMORANDUM OPINION

COLLEEN KOLLAR-KOTELLY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

Plaintiff Willard T. King, Jr., filed suit against Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr., and Tam Mary Wyatt, alleging violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., and the Civil Rights Act of 1991, 42 U.S.C. § § 1981, 1988, arising out of the Plaintiff's employment as a Criminal Investigator/Deputy United States Marshal in Washington, D.C. The Plaintiff alleges that his former supervisor, Defendant Wyatt, discriminated against him on the basis of his race, and retaliated against the Plaintiff for filing discrimination complaints. Presently before the Court is the Defendants' [9] Motion for Partial Dismissal of Complaint. Upon consideration of the pleadings, [1] the relevant legal authorities, and the record for purposes of a motion to dismiss, the Court finds Defendant

Page 86

Wyatt is not a proper defendant in this action and the Plaintiff cannot recover punitive damages in connection with his Title VII claims. Furthermore, although the Plaintiff sufficiently plead a discrimination claim based on the 2010 investigation into allegations of overtime fraud by the Plaintiff, the Plaintiff failed to state a claim for a hostile work environment or unlawful retaliation based on his 2007 protected activity. Finally, the Plaintiff's common law tort claims are preempted by Title VII. Therefore, the Defendants' [9] Motion for Partial Dismissal of Complaint is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART as set forth below.

I. BACKGROUND

The following facts are drawn from the Plaintiff's Complaint, which the Court accepts as true for purposes of deciding the Defendants' motion to dismiss. The Plaintiff is an African American male, who since 2005 has been employed as a Criminal Investigator/Deputy United States Marshal with the Capitol Area Regional Fugitive Task Force, Superior Court Warrants, in Washington, D.C. Compl., ECF No. [1], ¶ 4. The Plaintiff's duties included investigating fugitives and escorting prisoners to and from the Superior Court for the District of Columbia. Id. at ¶ 7.

In October 2007, Defendant Wyatt, a Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal, became the Plaintiff's supervisor. Id. at ¶ 9. The Plaintiff alleges that " [a]lmost immediately after coming under the supervision of defendant Wyatt, she began to badger the plaintiff about his attire, including his boots, his shirt, and even his facial hair." Id. at ¶ 10. The Plaintiff filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (" EEOC" ) in November 2007 " alleging a continuing pattern of harassment and hostile work environment." Id. Without elaboration, the Plaintiff asserts that " Defendant Wyatt was made aware of plaintiff's complaint." Id.

At some point during December 2007, Defendant Wyatt allegedly confronted the Plaintiff about being absent from his post. Compl. ¶ 11. The Plaintiff asserts that Defendant Wyatt knew that the Plaintiff had previously received permission from the Chief U.S. Marshal to leave his post, yet she threatened to refer the Plaintiff to Internal Affairs for being " AWOL." Id. Defendant Wyatt allegedly required the Plaintiff to complete a " 210 field report" and a " leave slip" to account for his absence, and threatened to " get him fired" if he did not complete the forms. Id. Defendant Wyatt subsequently warned the Plaintiff that he should notify her personally if he ever wished to leave his post again. Id. at ¶ 12. " To the best of plaintiff's knowledge and belief, no other U.S. Marshals were advised to do the same." Id.

Several months later, the Plaintiff submitted time sheets requesting overtime in light of his participation in week-long training that lasted thirty minutes longer than his normal tour of duty. Compl. ¶ 14. Plaintiff alleges that he was advised to check with the Training Division in order to determine if the division would authorize overtime for the additional thirty minutes each day. Id. at ¶ 15. The Plaintiff indicates that " since time sheets were required to be posted shortly, plaintiff was advised by the administrative officer that he could submit the time sheet now with the overtime on it," and that " if the Training Division denied his request, to so advise the Administrative officer and she would correct the time sheet." Id. The Plaintiff asserts that after later learning the Training Division would not approve the requested overtime, Plaintiff submitted revised time sheets. Id. at ¶ 16. However, Defendant Wyatt purportedly accused

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the Plaintiff of falsifying his initial time sheets, and referred the issue to Internal Affairs for a fraud investigation. Id. at ¶ 17. " To the best of plaintiffs knowledge Internal Affairs concluded the investigation with a 'no findings' determination." Id.

During the same time frame, Assistant Chief Deputy United States Marshal Stirling Murray (hereinafter " Assistant Chief Murray" ) called the Plaintiff into his office " to answer to a complaint by defendant Wyatt that plaintiff was 'not doing his job.'" Compl. ¶ 18. Assistant Chief Murray reportedly informed the plaintiff that Defendant Wyatt had made a number of complaints about the Plaintiff. Id. The Plaintiff indicates that he requested that he be ...


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