United States District Court, D. Columbia.
JAMES M. BLAND III, Plaintiff,
JEH JOHNSON, Defendant
Decided September 1, 2014
For JAMES M. BLAND, III, Plaintiff: Phillip Robert Kete, LEAD ATTORNEY, LAW OFFICE OF PHILLIP ROBERT KETE, Chesapeake Beach, MD.
For JANET A. NAPOLITANO, Defendant: Rhonda Lisa Campbell, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Civil Division, Washington, DC.
RICHARD J. LEON, United States District Judge.
James M. Bland III brings this suit against Jeh Johnson, Secretary of the United States Department of Homeland Security, in his official capacity, alleging employment discrimination and retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. See generally Am. Compl. [Dkt. #20]. Defendant moves to dismiss the Amended Complaint as non-justiciable under Department of Navy v. Egan, 484 U.S. 518, 108 S.Ct. 818, 98 L.Ed.2d 918 (1988), which precludes courts and other non-expert bodies from reviewing the validity
of security clearance decisions made by trained Executive Branch security personnel. Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss [Dkt. #22]. Upon consideration of the parties' pleadings, relevant law, and the entire record therein, the motion is GRANTED.
Mr. Bland, an African-American male, worked for the Federal Emergency Management Administration (" FEMA" ) as a Senior Special Agent for the Office of Chief Security Officer (" FEMA OCSO" ) from May 8, 2011, to March 30, 2012. Am. Compl. ¶ ¶ 6, 14. FEMA is a component of the Department of Homeland Security (" DHS" ). Mr. Bland's position as a fraud investigator required that he obtain a Top Secret-Compartmented Secret Information (" TS-CSI" ) security clearance. Id. ¶ 19. When he first began in the position, the FEMA Personnel Security Branch granted Mr. Bland an interim secret clearance, id. ¶ ¶ 15-16, and Mr. Bland submitted the information necessary to process the permanent security clearance request, id. ¶ 20.
In the beginning of June, 2011, one or more FEMA officials complained that, in 2010, Mr. Bland had bribed FEMA's Chief Security Officer to contract with Bland's company for certain technology systems. Id. ¶ ¶ 22-23. Mr. Bland alleges that the official or officials who made the report were aware the allegations were false. Id. ¶ 24. The DHS Office of the Inspector General (" OIG" ) began investigating the allegations in late June 2011. Id. ¶ ¶ 30-35. Mr. Bland alleges that the OIG investigation did not " result in any evidence to support the originals [sic] allegations." Id. ¶ 32.
On July 1, 2011, FEMA management placed Mr. Bland on administrative leave, which involved, among other things, collecting his government identification card, badges, and credentials, and denying him access DHS/FEMA facilitates and communications systems. Id. ¶ ¶ 36-38. Mr. Bland alleges his colleagues were told he was guilty of criminal misconduct. Id. ¶ 97. The investigation was completed on July 6, 2011. Id. ¶ 53. It is unclear from the Complaint whether Mr. Bland returned to work from administrative leave upon completion of the investigation. Mr. Bland initiated an informal employment discrimination process at some point in July 2011. Id. ¶ 47.
On or around July 15, 2011, the FEMA Personnel Security Branch chief granted Mr. Bland TS-CSI clearance. Id. ¶ 54. Around two months later, on September 20, 2011, allegedly at the behest of FEMA management, the DHS Office of Chief Security Officer (" DHS OSCO" ) suspended Mr. Bland's security clearance.Id. ¶ ¶ 66, 77. FEMA's " main expressed concern" involved a crime Mr. Bland committed over twelve years ago while in the Air Force, the nature of which the FEMA managers felt could not be mitigated. Id. ¶ 67. DHS OSCO proposed revoking Mr. Bland's clearance, but first offered him thirty days to respond. Id. ¶ 77. That same month, September ...