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Mapp v. District of Columbia

United States District Court, D. Columbia.

April 28, 2014

MONICA MAPP, Plaintiff,
v.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, Defendant

For Monica Mapp, Plaintiff: Nathaniel D. Johnson, THE JOHNSON LAW GROUP, LLC, White Plains, MD.

For District of Columbia, Defendant: Shana Lyn Frost, LEAD ATTORNEY, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR D.C., Washington, DC.

OPINION

Page 27

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Royce C. Lamberth, United States District Judge.

Plaintiff Monica Mapp, a former probation officer for the District of Columbia Superior Court, filed suit against the District alleging multiple counts of discrimination in violation of the Family and Medical Leave Act, the D.C. Family and Medical Leave Act (" DCFMLA" ), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the D.C. Human Rights Act (" DCHRA" ). The District has moved to dismiss the DCHRA claims--Counts IX, X, and XIII of the Amended Complaint--on the ground that the DCHRA, which prohibits employment discrimination, does not apply to the D.C. Superior Court.[1] For the reasons explained herein, the Court agrees and therefore GRANTS the District's motion.

I. LEGAL PRINCIPLES

From its inception in 1836 until 1970, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia served the dual roles of a local and federal court, " hear[ing] and decid[ing] the full range of local common law and equitable questions, in addition to its regular calendar of federal questions and diversity actions." Shutack v. Shutack, 516 F.Supp. 219, 221 (D.D.C. 1981). In 1970, Congress enacted the District of Columbia Court Reorganization Act, Pub.L.No.91-358, Title I, 84 Stat. 475, which

reorganized the court system in the District of Columbia and established one set of courts in the District with Art. III characteristics and devoted to matters of national concern [and] created a wholly separate court system designed primarily to concern itself with local law and to serve as a local court system for a large metropolitan area.

Palmore v. United States, 411 U.S. 389, 408, 93 S.Ct. 1670, 36 L.Ed.2d 342 (1973). In addition to establishing the D.C. Superior Court and the D.C. Court of Appeals, the Reorganization Act provided that a Joint Committee on Judicial Administration " shall have responsibility within the District of Columbia court system for . . . [g]eneral personnel policies, including those for recruitment, removal, compensation, and training." D.C. Code § 11-1701. The Act also stated that " [a]ppointments and removals of court personnel shall not be

Page 28

subject to the laws, rules, and limitations applicable to District of Columbia employees." D.C. Code § 11-1725.

Shortly thereafter, in 1973, Congress furthered its goal of an independent local government for the District by enacting the Home Rule Act, which ceded some federal control of the city to an elected mayor and city council. Congress was clear, however, that the local Superior Court and Court of Appeals " shall continue as provided under the District of Columbia Court Reorganization Act of 1970." D.C. Code § 1-207.18. Moreover, Congress explicitly forbade the new council from enacting " any act, resolution, or rule with respect to any provision of [the Court Reorganization Act] (relating to organization and jurisdiction of the District of Columbia courts)." D.C. Code § 1-206.02.

Against this background, the D.C. City Council enacted the D.C. Human Rights Act of 1977 to " secure an end in the District of Columbia to discrimination for any reason other than that of individual merit." D.C. Code § 2-1401.01. To this end, the DCHRA established Office on Human Rights to receive, review, investigate, and mediate employment discrimination claims in the District. D.C. Code § 2-1411.03. If the Office finds probable cause and is unable to mediate a violation, the complaint is forwarded to the Commission on Human Rights, an " impartial forum for the hearing and deciding of cases of unlawful discrimination in employment." D.C. Code § 2-1404.02. Both the Office and the Commission are executive agencies and have broad power to remedy discrimination in all aspects of employment (e.g., appointments, removal, compensation, training, etc.). The District's motion raises the question whether this broad ...


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