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Jones v. National Council on Disability

United States District Court, D. Columbia.

September 4, 2014


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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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Charles Jones, Plaintiff, Pro se, Glenn Dale, MD.

For National Council on Disability, Jeffrey Rosen, Rebecca Cokley, Anne Sommers, Defendants: Judith A. Kidwell, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Washington, DC USA.


ROSEMARY M. COLLYER, United States District Judge.

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Charles Jones is retired, and his wife, Sylvia Jones, is employed as a Director of Administration for the National Council on Disability (NCD), a federal agency. Mr. Jones, an African American, alleges that when he visited NCD to take his wife to brunch he was questioned by the Federal Protective Service based on illegal " racial profiling." As a result of this incident, Mr. Jones sues NCD and certain of its employees for violations of his constitutional rights, discrimination, and various torts. Defendants move to dismiss. As explained below, their motion will be granted.


On September 30, 2013, Mr. Jones visited the NCD office in Washington, D.C., to take his wife to brunch. He arrived around 9:00 a.m. and waited in his wife's office while she worked.[1] In the meantime, NCD employee Anne Sommers telephoned NCD Executive Director Rebecca Cokley to report that an unknown man was in Mrs. Jones' office. Ms. Cokley was at home on maternity leave. She phoned Mrs. Jones and inquired about the identity of the man in her office. Mrs. Jones, who took the call by speaker phone, indicated that it was her husband. Ms. Cokley seemed angry and she asked what Mrs. Jones was working on. After recounting her current projects, Mrs. Jones asked whether Ms. Cokley was questioning all NCD directors or just her. Ms. Cokley " abruptly slammed the phone" down. Am. Compl. at 4.

Mr. and Mrs. Jones left for brunch at 12:20. When they returned, Mr. Jones again sat in Mrs. Jones' office. Mrs. Jones has a disability that causes bleeding and migraines and that is exacerbated by stress; Mr. Jones wanted to observe her medical condition for a time because the phone call from Ms. Cokley had been stressful. At 2:30 p.m. when Mr. Jones was about to leave, NCD Chair Jeffrey Rosen and two Federal Protective Service (FPS) officers arrived to investigate Ms. Cokley's complaint that Mr. Jones was in Mrs. Jones' office and he was engaging in

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" suspicious activity." Id. at 5-6. Mr. Jones alleges that he was " placed . . . in a custodial situation" while being questioned by the officers. Id. at 5. Mr. Jones was permitted to remain, and the officers and Mr. Rosen left; Mr. Jones left soon thereafter.

Mr. Jones wrote to NCD on September 30 and October 21, 2013 to complain that he was discriminated against, intimidated, and publicly humiliated. Id. at 6-8. NCD " through Rebecca Cokley denied the plaintiff's assertions on October 25, 2013." Id. at 8.

Mr. Jones, proceeding pro se, filed his initial complaint here on October 29, 2013. The Court dismissed the complaint without prejudice as too vague under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8. See Order (Dec. 19, 2013) [Dkt. 5]. Mr. Jones then filed a more detailed Amended Complaint against NCD, Ms. Sommers, Ms. Cokley, and Mr. Rosen (collectively, Defendants), asserting that " [i]t goes against the civil rights and liberties given to citizens under the Constitutional amendments to use racial profiling as a tool for investigation." Am. Compl. at 5. Mr. Jones further alleges:

The false reports, statements and race-based assumptions made against the plaintiff led to public humiliation violating the plaintiff's rights to privacy which is a natural human right. The defendants[] also defamed the plaintiff's reputation by making false statements in written and oral communications [and by] making fabricated assertions that the plaintiff's mere presence was a threat to the safety of staff, threatened the theft of government property, [and caused] a disruption to NCD business and that plaintiff was moving government furniture, which essentially resulted in law enforcement depriving the plaintiff of his right to freedom of movement.

Id. at 7. The Amended Complaint asserts the following causes of action:

(1) race discrimination in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964;
(2) violation of due process under the Fifth Amendment;
(3) violation of equal protection under the Fifth Amendment;
(4) defamation;
(4) intentional infliction of emotional ...

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