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AFSCME Local 2401 v. District of Columbia

United States District Court, D. Columbia.

March 26, 2014

AMERICAN FEDERATION OF STATE, COUNTY, AND MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES LOCAL 2401, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, Defendant

For AMERICAN FEDERATION OF STATE, COUNTY AND MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES LOCAL 2401, KAREN M PERRY, KATHLEEN JANSEN, MICHELLE SWINDLER, TOREE HARRIS, JEFFREY ANDERSON, GERALD A. LUCAS, ANGELA S. CAMPBELL, KISHIA M. WATKINS, FRANCAIS P. CHIRINOS, MARIO TYREE PATTERSON, CLARICE JONES, KAREN L. SIMMS, LORETTA SMITH, GWENDOLYN BELL, TISHELLE S. BLAIZE, KAY MILLER, FREDRICA E. SHEPARD-SMITH, ERIC R. WALCOTT, LINSAY N. SEEGARS, KIM A. GROSS, CLEMENT EYO, EVELYN D. BEASLEY, ANDREW L. SELWELL, NATASHA LEWIS, DEBORAH WHITE, LADONNA K. MUHAMMAD, MINNIE P. COHEN, MELISSA K. STOKES, JEAN WASHINGTON, SELINA M. LYLES, Plaintiffs: Donald M. Temple, LEAD ATTORNEY, DONALD M. TEMPLE, P.C., Washington, DC.

For DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, A Municipal Corporation, Defendant: Bradford Collins Patrick, Douglas Stuart Rosenbloom, Gary Daniel Feldon, LEAD ATTORNEYS, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, Public Interest Division, Washington, DC; Robert C. Utiger, LEAD ATTORNEY, DC OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, Washington, DC.

Page 150

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Barbara Jacobs Rothstein, U.S. District Court Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

This case concerns allegations of age and race discrimination against the District of Columbia (hereinafter " Defendant" or " the District" ) in connection with a reduction-in-force (" RIF" ) at the District of Columbia Department of Health Care Finance (hereinafter " DHCF" ), as well as the hiring of personnel into newly created positions at DHCF after the RIF. Plaintiffs--African-American DHCF employees whose positions were eliminated in the RIF and who were not rehired into newly created positions--allege that there was intentional age-and race-based discrimination in both the RIF and the rehiring process, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983, 42 U.S.C. § 1981, and the District of Columbia Human Rights Act (" DCHRA" ).[1] See generally Third Amended Complaint (Dkt. No. 34) (" Comp." ). Before the Court is Defendant's motion for summary judgment filed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. Having reviewed the motion, opposition, and reply thereto, the entire record in the case, and the applicable law, the Court GRANTS Defendant's motion for summary judgment.

II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND[2]

Prior to the creation of DHCF, Medicaid and the D.C. Healthcare Alliance--which together provide health care services for one in three District citizens--were primarily administered by the Medical Assistance Administration (" MAA" ) within the D.C. Department of Health. See Defendant's Statement of Material Facts Not in

Page 151

Dispute (Dkt. No. 98) (hereinafter " Def.'s St. Facts" ) at ¶ 1. It is undisputed that under MAA, the administration of health care services was frequently mishandled, resulting in significant over and under payments on service claims, as well as under-reimbursement from federal programs. Id. at ¶ 2. Accordingly, in 2007, the Mayor of the District of Columbia signed into law the Department of Health Care Finance Establishment Act of 2007 to create a new agency--DHCF--to centralize and improve the administration of health care services in the District. Id. at ¶ 3.

Thereafter, the District retained a team of consultants from the George Washington University (" GW" ) School of Public Health and Health Services to assist the District in establishing DHCF and transitioning the services from MAA to DHCF. Id. at ¶ ¶ 6-7. Ultimately, a Transition Plan was developed that structured DHCF along " functional lines" meant to improve the quality and availability of health care to District citizens, as well as " correct the financial and audit challenges" facing the District. Id. at ¶ ¶ 11, 13. After DHCF's organizational structure was established, the GW consultants developed an organizational chart to implement the changes envisioned by the Transition Plan. Id. at ¶ 14.

DHCF's organizational structure included new positions that had not previously existed at MAA and eliminated some positions that had existed within MAA. Id. at ¶ ¶ 15-17, 31-32. Plaintiffs do not dispute that the GW consultants were primary responsible for drafting the job descriptions for the newly created positions in DHCF. Id. Nor do Plaintiffs dispute that, at the time that the determination was made as to which positions would be eliminated in the RIF, the GW consulting team members did not know the identities of the employees who held those positions. Id. at ¶ 32.

DHCF assumed MAA's responsibilities on October 1, 2008 and thereafter the RIF was implemented. Id. at ¶ ¶ 22, 29-30. Seventy-nine positions were eliminated in conjunction with the RIF and sixty-two positions were created. Id. at ¶ ¶ 29-30. It is undisputed that agency employment records demonstrate that the race and age of DHCF's workforce before and after the RIF remained the same. Id. at ¶ 37. More particularly, before the RIF, 47.58% of DHCF's employees self-identified as African-American; after the RIF, 47.58% of DHCF's employees self-identified as African-American. Id. Likewise, before the RIF, 46 was the median age of DHCF's employees; after the RIF, 46 was the median age of DHCF's employees. Id.

Page 152

In addition, DHCF notified its employees of the impending RIF one month before it implemented the RIF. Id. at ¶ 33. The employees whose positions were slated for elimination were encouraged to apply for one of the newly created positions and were given priority in hiring for those positions. Id. at ¶ 38-39. Forty-seven of the seventy-nine employees whose positions were eliminated by the RIF were rehired into new positions at DHCF. Id. at ¶ 41. Plaintiffs are seventeen of the thirty-two former DHCF employees whose positions were terminated, but who were not rehired into any of the newly created positions.[3] It is undisputed that five of the seventeen Plaintiffs did not apply for a new position within DHCF or, in the case of one Plaintiff, applied but then withdrew from consideration for the position. Id. at ¶ 47. This lawsuit followed on September 21, 2009. Dkt. No. 1.

III. DISCUSSION

A. Summary Judgment 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." Olatunji v. District of Columbia, 958 F.Supp.2d 27, 29 (D.D.C. 2013) (quoting 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. Olatunji, 958 F.Supp.2d at 29. A dispute is genuine if the " evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Id. (quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247-48). 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, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in his favor." Id. at 29-30 (quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255). However, the nonmoving party must establish more than " the existence of a scintilla of evidence" in support of its position, Id. at 30, and 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). In addition, the nonmoving party may not rely solely on allegations or conclusory statements. See Greene v. ...


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