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Olatunji v. District of Columbia

United States District Court, District of Columbia

July 19, 2013

SAMUEL A. OLATUNJI, Plaintiff,
v.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, Defendant

For SAMUEL A. OLATUNJI, Plaintiff: James L. Kestell, LEAD ATTORNEY, KESTELL & ASSOCIATES, Falls Church, VA.

For DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, Defendant: David A. Jackson, LEAD ATTORNEY, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, Civil Litigation Division, Washington, DC; Juliane T. DeMarco, LEAD ATTORNEY, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, Civil Litigation Division, Washington, DC.

OPINION

Page 28

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Royce C. Lamberth, United States District Judge.

Plaintiff Samuel A. Olatunji, a black male working for the District of Columbia Department of Transportation (" DDOT" ), brought a two-count complaint against defendant District of Columbia alleging racial and sexual discrimination (Count I), and retaliation (Count II), in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and 42 U.S.C. § 1981. Complaint, Oct. 4, 2010, ECF No. 1. Plaintiff claims, inter alia , that the DDOT demoted him as retaliation for filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (" EEOC" ). Compl. ¶ ¶ 7-17. Before the Court is the defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment, Mar. 15, 2012, ECF No. 12. Upon consideration of the motion, the plaintiff's Opposition, Apr. 16, 2012, ECF No. 13, the defendant's Reply thereto, Apr. 24, 2012, ECF No. 14, and the record herein, the Court will grant defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment.

Page 29

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Samuel Olatunji is a black male who was born and raised in Ghana, Africa. Compl. ¶ 7. He began working for the District of Columbia as a civil engineer in 1990. Id . During the period relevant to the Complaint, Olatunji worked as a Supervisory Civil Engineer and Project Manager in the DDOT Infrastructure Project Management Administration. See Def.'s Statement of Undisputed Material Facts ¶ 2 (" Def.'s SMF" ), Mar. 15, 2012, ECF No. 12; Pl.'s Resp. to Def.'s SMF ¶ 2 (" Pl.'s SMF Resp." ), Apr. 16, 2012, ECF No. 13-2. In that role, Olatunji monitored the day to day operations of DDOT construction projects. See Def.'s SMF ¶ 3; Pl.'s SMF Resp. ¶ 3. Olatunji's immediate supervisor was Ali Shakeri, a male of Iranian descent. Compl. ¶ 10; Ex. 3 to Def.'s Mot. Summ. J.

In February 2008, Olatunji filed a Charge of Discrimination with the D.C. Office of Human Rights and the EEOC, in which he alleged discrimination, retaliation, and a hostile work environment. Def.'s SMF ¶ 4; Pl.'s SMF Resp. ¶ 4; Ex. 4 to Def.'s Mot. Summ. J. In that 2008 Charge, Olatunji alleged that Shakeri treated him differently than a similarly-situated colleague, an Iranian female. Ex. 4 to Def.'s Mot. Summ. J. He also claims he received poor performance evaluations as retaliation for filing a January 2007 internal EEO complaint, and was subjected to threats and demeaning comments that constituted a hostile work environment. Id . In March 2008, Olatunji and DDOT entered into a settlement agreement which ended the then-pending 2008 Charge. Def.'s SMF ¶ 5; Pl.'s SMF Resp. ¶ 5; Ex. 5 to Def.'s Mot. Summ. J.

In February 2009, Olatunji filed a second Charge of Discrimination with the EEOC. Def.'s SMF ¶ ¶ 6-7; Pl.'s SMF Resp. ¶ ¶ 6-7; Ex. 6 to Def.'s Mot. Summ. J. In this Charge, Olatunji alleged he suffered verbal abuse, reduction of job responsibilities, and denial of work assistance as a consequence of racial discrimination and retaliation. Ex. 6 to Def.'s Mot. Summ. J. The 2009 Charge also alleged that DDOT unjustly demoted Olatunji from a Supervisory Civil Engineer to a Civil Engineer as retaliation for the March 2008 settlement agreement. Id . On June 28, 2010, the EEOC issued a right-to-sue letter, allowing Olatunji to bring suit in federal court on the allegations contained in the 2009 Charge. Pl.'s SMF ¶ 7; Def.'s SMF Resp. ¶ 7; Ex. 7 to Def.'s Mot. Summ. J. On October 4, 2010, Olatunji filed a Complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia alleging that the District of Columbia discriminated and retaliated against plaintiff in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and 42 U.S.C. § 1981. Compl., ECF No. 1.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

" The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see also Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). The mere existence of any factual dispute will not defeat summary judgment; " the requirement is that there be no genuine issue of material fact." Anderson , 477 U.S. at 247-48 (emphasis in original). A fact is material if, under the applicable law, it could affect the outcome of the case. Id . A dispute is genuine if the " evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Id . Because " [c]redibility determinations, the weighing of the evidence, and the drawing of legitimate inferences from the facts are jury functions, not those of a judge," the " evidence of the non-movant is to be believed,

Page 30

and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in his favor." Id . at 255. A nonmoving party must establish more than " the existence of a scintilla of evidence" in support of its position. Id . at 252. The inferences drawn from the evidence " must be reasonably probable and based on more than mere speculation." Rogers Corp. v. E.P.A. , 275 F.3d 1096, 1103, 348 U.S. App. D.C. 352 (D.C. Cir. 2002) (citations omitted). The nonmoving party may not rely solely on allegations or conclusory statements. See Greene v. Dalton , 164 F.3d 671, 675, 334 U.S. App. D.C. 92 (D.C. Cir. 1999). The nonmoving party must present specific facts that would enable a reasonable jury to find in its favor. Id . If the evidence presented is " merely colorable, or is not significantly probative, summary judgment may be granted." Anderson , 477 U.S. at 249-50.

III. DISCUSSION

A. Plaintiff's Title VII Claims are Untimely, as Plaintiff Concedes

Plaintiff brought claims for employment discrimination and retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § § 2000e-2, 2000e-3, and the Civil Rights Act of 1866, 42 U.S.C. § 1981. Compl. ¶ 1. As plaintiff concedes, Pl.'s Opp'n 5 n.1, his Title VII claims are untimely. Therefore, this ...


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