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Marshall v. Honeywell Technology Systems, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Columbia.

November 10, 2014

SANDRA MARSHALL, Plaintiff,
v.
HONEYWELL TECHNOLOGY SYSTEMS, INC., et al., Defendants

For WILLIAM D. WHITE, Trustee for the bankruptcy estate of Sandra Marshall, Plaintiff: William Douglas White, MCCARTHY & WHITE, PLLC, McLean, VA.

For HONEYWELL TECHNOLOGY SYSTEMS INC, Defendant: John B. Flood, Marilyn Ginger McCauley, LEAD ATTORNEYS, OGLETREE, DEAKINS, NASH, SMOAK & STEWART, P.C., Washington, DC.

For L-3 COMMUNICATIONS GOVERNMENT SERVICES INC, also known as EER SYSTEMS INC, Defendant: Leslie Paul Machado, LEAD ATTORNEY, LECLAIR RYAN, Washington, DC; Marilyn Ginger McCauley, LEAD ATTORNEY, OGLETREE, DEAKINS, NASH, SMOAK & STEWART, P.C., Washington, DC; Megan Starace Ben'Ary, LECLAIR RYAN, Alexandria, VA; Sarah E. Moffett, LECLAIR RYAN, A Professional Corporation, Alexandria, VA.

For SGT INC, Defendant: Antonio R. Franco, Paul Warren Mengel, III, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Jonathan Todd Williams, PILIERO MAZZA, PLLC, Washington, DC; Marilyn Ginger McCauley, LEAD ATTORNEY, OGLETREE, DEAKINS, NASH, SMOAK & STEWART, P.C., Washington, DC; Kevin J. Allis, PRO HAC VICE, NATIVE AMERICAN CONTRACTORS ASSOCIATION, Washington, DC.

For SANDRA MARSHALL, Movant: JoAnn P. Myles, LEAD ATTORNEY, LAW OFFICE OF JOANN P. MYLES, Largo, MD.

Page 6

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Royce C. Lamberth, United States District Judge.

Plaintiff Sandra Marshall (" Marshall" ) seeks monetary relief for alleged violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e (2012) and the Civil Rights Act of 1871, 42 U.S.C. § § 1981, 1985 (2012). Marshall alleges that defendants, Honeywell Technology Systems, Inc., L-3 Communications Government Services Inc.,[1] and SGT Inc. (individually, " Honeywell," " L-3," and " SGT" or collectively " defendants" ), wrongfully terminated her employment on the basis of discrimination and retaliation for filing an internal Title VII complaint. In February 2004, Marshall filed a written charge of discrimination with the Prince George's Human Relations Commission and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. While the discrimination investigation was ongoing, Marshall filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Marshall failed to report her pending discrimination claims, and later suit against defendants, in her Bankruptcy Petition or the attached Schedules at any point before her bankruptcy was discharged in 2006. Defendants now seek summary judgment on Marshall's claims, arguing that they are precluded by judicial estoppel.

I. BACKGROUND

Marshall worked as a NASA contractor for over twenty years under various contract administrators. Honeywell obtained the NASA contract on which Marshall worked in 1999, and Honeywell and L-3 (a subcontractor on Honeywell's contract) became Marshall's employers. Between 1999 and 2003, Marshall alleges that she suffered repeated age, sex, and race discrimination, harassment, and civil rights violations by Honeywell and L-3. In 2003, SGT took over the NASA contract from Honeywell and L-3, but SGT did not rehire Marshall to work under the new contract. Marshall alleges that SGT rehired all of her coworkers, but failed to rehire her due to age, sex, and race discrimination. Marshall's last day of work was December 31, 2003. Marshall filed Charges of Discrimination against defendants with the Prince George's County Human Relations Commission and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on December

Page 7

29, 2003 (SGT) and February 2, 2004 (Honeywell and L-3). Mem. in Supp. of Def.'s Renewed Mot. for Summ. J. [" SGT Mot." ], Ex. A, ECF No. 162; Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J. [" Honeywell Mot." ], Ex. 1, ECF No. 178; Mem. in Supp. of Renewed Mot. for Summ. J. [" L-3 Mot." ], ECF No. 161. On September 23, 2005, while the Charges of Discrimination were pending, Marshall filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy pro se with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Columbia, Case No. 05-1448.

Under penalty of perjury, Marshall filed a Voluntary Petition for Bankruptcy, Statement of Financial Affairs, and Summary of Schedules. Honeywell Mot., Ex. 2-4. In the Statement of Financial Affairs, section 4a, Marshall was required to list all suits and administrative proceedings to which she was a party. Marshall listed three suits, in each of which she was a defendant, but did not list her pending Charges of Discrimination against defendants. Id., Ex. 3. Marshall was required to identify " equitable or future interests" and " other contingent and unliquidated claims of every nature" in her Summary of Schedules. Marshall also failed to note the three pending Charges of Discrimination against defendants in her Summary of Schedules. Id., Ex. 4. On November 5, 2005, Marshall appeared for the Section 341 hearing with bankruptcy trustee William D. White (" Trustee" ). During the hearing, Marshall noted that she had a pending EEOC claim against Honeywell only. Id., Ex. 5. Marshall filed her initial complaint against Honeywell, L-3, and SGT on December 30, 2005. Compl., ECF No. 1. Marshall did not amend her Bankruptcy Petition, Statement of Financial Affairs, or Summary of Schedules to include her pending Charges of Discrimination or the current lawsuit at any time before her bankruptcy was discharged on February 13, 2006 or the bankruptcy was closed as a " no asset case" on June 13, 2006. L-3 Mot., Ex. A, ECF No. 161.

In June and July 2009, each defendant filed an initial Motion to Dismiss and/or a Motion for Summary Judgment. Honeywell Mot. to Dismiss for Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction, ECF No. 122; SGT Mot. to Dismiss and/or Summ. J., ECF No. 123; L-3 Mot. to Dismiss and/or Mot. for Summ. J. on the Basis of Judicial Estoppel, ECF No. 127. On December 18, 2009, Judge Roberts granted defendants' motions to dismiss without prejudice. The Court found that Marshall lacked standing because she had filed for bankruptcy and the Trustee was the proper party in interest with standing to pursue Marshall's claims against defendants. Mem. Op., ECF No. 141. On February 18, 2010, the Trustee filed a Motion to Reinstate Proceedings against defendants. Mot. to Reinstate Proceedings, ECF No. 148. The Trustee noted that Marshall had moved pro se to reopen her closed bankruptcy ...


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