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Ridley v. Dynamic Vision Home Health Services

United States District Court, D. Columbia.

September 18, 2014

DONNA A. RIDLEY, Plaintiff,
v.
DYNAMIC VISION HOME HEALTH SERVICES, et al., Defendants

DONNA A. RIDLEY, Plaintiff, Pro se, Washington, DC.

For OFFICE OF HUMAN RIGHTS, District of Columbia, Defendant: Soriya R. Chhe, LEAD ATTORNEY, OFFICE OF ATTORNEY GENERAL/DC, Washington, DC.

Page 75

MEMORANDUM OPINION

EMMET G. SULLIVAN, United States District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on Defendant the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights' Motion to Dismiss [ECF No. 11] and Federal Defendant's Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim or Untimeliness [ECF No. 14].[1] For the reasons discussed below, the motions will be granted.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff, a former employee of Dynamic Vision Home Health Services, alleges that she was wrongfully terminated on July 14, 2009 because of her race and national origin. See generally Compl. at 2; Am. Compl. at 1.[2] She brings this action against her former employer, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (" EEOC" ), and the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights (" DCOHR" ) under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, see 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., and 42 U.S.C. § 1981. See generally Am. Compl. at 1; see id. Attach. (letter dated July 10, 2013).

Plaintiff contacted the EEOC by telephone on July 22, 2009, see Compl. at 3, 4, was asked to complete a questionnaire, see id. at 7 (Letter to plaintiff from EEOC dated July 22, 2009), and was informed that her discrimination complaint must be filed within 180 days of her termination, see id. She submitted a completed questionnaire to the EEOC, id. at 3, which the EEOC did not receive until June 28, 2010, id. at 6 (Letter to plaintiff from Mindy Weinstein, Acting Director, Washington Field Office, EEOC, dated July 8, 2013). Because plaintiff had not filed a charge of discrimination timely, the EEOC dismissed the charge and issued a right-to-sue letter on May 30, 2013. Id. at 12 (Dismissal and Notice of Rights dated May 30, 2013). Plaintiff believed that " for some reason they misplaced the document." Id. at 3; see Am. Compl. at 1.

Plaintiff also sought relief through the DCOHR. She completed an intake questionnaire on or about May 1, 2010, see Compl. at 18-19 (Employment Intake Questionnaire) and met with a DCOHR representative on July 16, 2010, see id. at 23 (Letter to plaintiff from Alease B. Parson, Supervisory Equal Opportunity Specialist, DCOHR, dated June 30, 2010). Ultimately, plaintiff received notice that DCOHR dismissed her case administratively:

On July 10, 2010 [plaintiff] informed [the] desk receptionist that [she] had filed and signed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC in [its] Washington Field Office in reference to the same incident that [she] had wanted to pursue with the DC Office of Human Rights. In accordance with the Office of Human Rights (OHR) Contractual Agreement, the OHR is precluded from conducting an investigation once a Complainant has filed a case regarding the same issues with the EEOC.

Id. at 24 (Letter to plaintiff from Gustavo F. Velasquez, Director, DCOHR, dated July 21, 2010).

Plaintiff " would like [the Court] to check this matter" because the EEOC and

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DCOHR " didn't do the job right." Id. at 4.

II. DISCUSSION

A. Dismissal Under Rule 12(b)(6)

A complaint need only provide a " short and plain statement of [plaintiff's] claim showing that [she] is entitled to relief," Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), that '" give[s] the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests,'" Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93, 127 S.Ct. 2197, 167 L.Ed.2d 1081 (2007) (per curiam) (quoting Bell A. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007)). To survive defendants' motions to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), plaintiff's " complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). In other words, it must set forth " factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Patton Boggs LLP v. Chevron Corp., 683 F.3d 397, 403, 401 U.S.App.D.C. 263 (D.C. Cir. 2012) (citing Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678)). For purposes of this discussion, the Court construes plaintiff's complaint liberally, see Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520, 92 S.Ct. 594, 30 L.Ed.2d 652 (1972), and presumes that its factual allegations are true, see Gray v. Poole, 275 F.3d 1113, 1115, 348 U.S.App.D.C. 369 (D.C. Cir. 2006). With these considerations in mind, the Court concludes that the complaint must be dismissed as against the EEOC and the DCOHR.

B. The Complaint Fails to State a Claim Against the EEOC

It appears that plaintiff's sole claim against the EEOC arises from its handling, or mishandling, of her administrative charge of discrimination. There is " no cause of action against the EEOC . . . for challenges to its processing of a claim." Smith v. Casellas, 119 F.3d 33, 34, 326 U.S.App.D.C. 234 (D.C. Cir.) (per curiam), cert. denied, 522 U.S. 958, 118 S.Ct. 386, 139 L.Ed.2d 302 (1997); Brown v. Berrein, 923 F.Supp.2d 43, 43-44 (D.D.C. 2013) (dismissing claim against EEOC and its Chairperson arising from handling and summary dismissal of plaintiff's charge of discrimination); Greene v. Washington Field Office, No. 11-2248, 2011 WL 6369780, at *1 (D.D.C. Dec. 19, 2011) (dismissing complaint against EEOC's Washington Field Office based on its processing of discrimination complaint against plaintiff's former employer), aff'd sub nom. Greene v. EEOC, 466 F.App'x 6 (D.C. Cir. 2012) (per curiam); see also Koch v. White, 967 F.Supp.2d 326, 336 (D.D.C. 2013) (dismissing claim against agency's EEO counselor for alleged failure to provide adequate counseling services regarding administrative complaint of discrimination).[3] Therefore, the complaint fails to state a claim against the EEOC upon which relief can be granted.

C. The Complaint Fails to State a Claim Against the DCOHR

Plaintiff fares no better with respect to her claim against DCOHR.

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" [T]he overwhelming weight of precedent in this Circuit . . . holds that in the absence of explicit statutory authorization, bodies within the District of Columbia government are not suable as separate entities." Kundrat v. District of Columbia, 106 F.Supp.2d 1, 7 (D.D.C. 2000) (brackets, internal quotation marks and citations omitted). DCOHR is among those District government entities. See Crew v. Barry, No. 79-1383, 1979 WL 33, at *2 (D.D.C. Sept. 25, 1979) (finding that District of Columbia Commission on Human Rights and District of Columbia Office of Human Rights " are not independent agencies capable of suing or being sued" ). Furthermore, even if plaintiff could have brought a claim against DCOHR directly, her complaint fails to state a viable claim. Missing from the complaint are any factual allegations as to the error or a violation of law committed by DCOHR. There simply are not sufficient well-pled facts from which the Court could " draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).

III. CONCLUSION

Because the complaint fails to state claims against the EEOC and the DCOHR, their motions to dismiss will be granted. An Order accompanies this Memorandum Opinion.

ORDER

For the reasons stated in the accompanying Memorandum Opinion, it is hereby

ORDERED that Plaintiff['s] Motion to Continue This Matter with Evidence of Documentations [17] is DENIED, and instead is construed as plaintiff's opposition to defendants' motions to dismiss; it is

FURTHER ORDERED that Defendant the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights' Motion to Dismiss [11] is GRANTED; it is

FURTHER ORDERED that Federal Defendant's Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim or Untimeliness [14] is GRANTED; and it is

FURTHER ORDERED that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights are DISMISSED as parties to this action.

SO ORDERED.


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