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Martin v. District of Columbia

United States District Court, District of Columbia

September 16, 2013

FELICIA MARTIN, formerly known as Felicia Dantzler, Plaintiff,
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA et al., Defendants

Page 160

Re Document No.: 49.

For FELICIA MARTIN, formerly known as FELICIA DANTZLER, Plaintiff: George A. Rose, LEAD ATTORNEY, THE ROSE LAW FIRM, LLC, Baltimore, MD; Jessie Lyons Crawford, PRO HAC VICE, THE LAW OFFICE OF JESSIE LYONS CRAWFORD, Baltimore, MD.

For DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA GOVERNMENT, FREDERICK PETER MOOSALLY, III, In his official and individual capacity, CHARLES BRODSKY, In his Individual and Professional Capacity, JOHNNIE E. JACKSON, JR, In his Individual and Professional Capacity, CRAIG SELBY STEWART, In his Individual and Professional Capacity, MARIA DELANEY, In her Official and Individual Capacity, Defendants: Denise J. Baker, LEAD ATTORNEY, Jonathan Hale Pittman, OFFICE OF ATTORNEY GENERAL, Washington, DC; Patricia B. Donkor, LEAD ATTORNEY, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, D.C., Civil Litigation Division, Washington, DC.


Page 161


RUDOLPH CONTRERAS, United States District Judge.

Granting Defendant Charles Brodsky's Motion to Dismiss or for Summary Judgment


In this employment discrimination action, Plaintiff Felicia Martin, an employee of a District of Columbia regulatory agency, has asserted sex discrimination and related claims against the District and several individuals with whom she has worked. One of the individual defendants, Charles Brodsky, is a man who was the chairman of the board that oversees the regulatory agency. It is Ms. Martin's theory that, by failing to take any action, Mr. Brodsky aided or abetted the other defendants in taking adverse action against her. Mr. Brodsky has moved to dismiss or, in the alternative, for summary judgment as to each cause of action asserted against him. For the reasons discussed below, the Court will grant Mr. Brodsky's motion.


The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (the " ABC Board" or the " Board" ) is a 7-member body of the D.C. government whose primary function is to administer and enforce the District of Columbia's alcoholic beverage regulations. See D.C. Code § 25-201 (Supp. 2012). Its duties include issuing alcoholic beverage licenses, conducting inspections of licensees' premises and records, and responding to complaints about licensees. See id. § 25-201(c). The Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (" ABRA" ) is an independent agency of the District of Columbia, whose purpose is " to provide professional, technical, and administrative staff assistance to the Board in the performance

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of its functions." Id. § 25-202 (2001). ABRA is headed by a Director, who is appointed by the ABC Board for a 4-year term, and whose duties include " employ[ing] staff as needed to carry out the function of ABRA." Id. § 25-207. One of the Board's duties is to oversee ABRA. See id. § 25-201(c)(1) (Supp. 2012). The parties dispute the extent to which this oversight includes supervision of ABRA's employment practices, but the Board has reviewed discrimination cases involving ABRA in at least one instance. See Pl.'s Resp. Mot. Dismiss & Summ. J. Ex. 5, ECF No. 83-5.

Felicia Martin, the plaintiff in this case, has been an investigator with ABRA's Enforcement Division since February 21, 2007. See Pl.'s Stmt. Material Facts 1, ECF No. 87. In 2008, Ms. Martin applied for the position of Enforcement Division Supervisor. See Am. Compl. ¶ 16, ECF No. 33. Ms. Martin alleges that, despite her exceptional work performance, she was notified that she was ineligible for the position and a less-qualified male candidate was selected. See id. ¶ ¶ 18-21. The complaint also alleges that, in the time after Ms. Martin was denied the promotion, she suffered further disparate treatment, including, among other things, denial of acting supervisor positions, denial of volunteer opportunities, and denial of overtime. See generally id. ¶ ¶ 15-105. Ms. Martin also alleges that she suffers from carpal tunnel syndrome and was denied a reasonable accommodation for her condition. See id. ¶ ¶ 106-18. In late 2009, Ms. Martin made a formal complaint of discrimination with ABRA's internal Equal Employment Opportunity (" EEO" ) Officer, Laverne Fletcher. See id. ¶ 67. Ms. Martin alleges that no investigation was conducted and, after her complaint, members of ABRA escalated their disparate treatment of her in retaliation. See id. ¶ ¶ 68-100. On April 12, 2010, Ms. Martin forwarded a portion of the EEO correspondence to members of the ABC Board via email. See Pl.'s Resp. Mot. Dismiss & Summ. J. Ex. 4, ECF No. 83-4. During all relevant times, Charles Brodsky was Chairman of the ABC Board. See Def. Brodsky's Mem. P. & A. Supp. Mot. Dismiss & Summ. J. 7, ECF No. 49.

Ms. Martin initiated this litigation in June 2011, and filed the operative complaint on April 16, 2012, asserting twelve causes of action under various federal and D.C. employment and civil rights laws. See generally Compl., ECF No. 1; Am. Compl., ECF No. 33. Mr. Brodsky is named in his personal capacity as a defendant in this action, along with several individual ABRA employees and the District of Columbia. See Am. Compl. ¶ ¶ 3-9, ECF No. 33. Other than his passive act of receiving Ms. Martin's April 12, 2010, email, the complaint does not specifically allege that Mr. Brodsky took any action in the events underlying this lawsuit. See id. ¶ 156. The gravamen of Ms. Martin's complaint against Mr. Brodsky is that he " should have acted on the Plaintiff's notice concerning [her] EEOC matters within ABRA." Pl.'s Mem. P. & A. Resp. Mot. Dismiss & Summ. J. 16, ECF No. 83. Mr. Brodsky is named as a defendant as to seven of the twelve causes of action in this case. He has moved to dismiss each of the claims, or, in the alternative, for summary judgment.


A. Failure to State a Claim

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require that a complaint contain " a short and plain statement of the claim" in order to give the defendant fair notice of the claim and the grounds upon which it rests. Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2); accord Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93, 127 S.Ct. 2197,

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167 L.Ed.2d 1081 (2007) (per curiam). A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) does not test a plaintiff's ultimate likelihood of success on the merits; rather, it tests whether a plaintiff has properly stated a claim. See Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236, 94 S.Ct. 1683, 40 L.Ed.2d 90 (1974). A court considering such a motion presumes that the complaint's factual allegations are true and construes them liberally in the plaintiff's favor. See, e.g., United States v. Philip Morris, Inc., 116 F.Supp.2d 131, 135 (D.D.C. 2000). It is not necessary for the plaintiff to plead all elements of her prima facie case in the ...

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