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Williams v. Stake

United States District Court, D. Columbia.

December 2, 2014

KATHI L. WILLIAMS, Plaintiff,
v.
DAN STAKE, et al., Defendants

KATHI L. WILLIAMS, Plaintiff, Pro se, Laurel, MD.

For DAN STAKE, CEO, Signal Financial Federal Credit Union/Signal Financial Services, LLC, TERRY POWERS, EVP/COO, Signal Financial Federal Credit Union/Signal Financial Services, LLC, GUY TEGLER, SVP Business Services, Signal Financial Federal Credit Union/Signal Financial Services, LLC, Defendants: Chantelle M. Custodio, LEAD ATTORNEY, PESSIN KATZ LAW, P.A., Towson, MD; Lisa Y. Settles, PRO HAC VICE, PESSIN KATZ LAW, P.A., Towson, MD.

For SIGNAL FINANCIAL FEDERAL CREDIT UNION/SIGNAL FINANCIAL SERVICES, LLC, Defendant: Lisa Y. Settles, PRO HAC VICE, PESSIN KATZ LAW, P.A., Towson, MD.

Page 186

MEMORANDUM OPINION

JAMES E. BOASBERG, United States District Judge.

Pro se Plaintiff Kathi L. Willams worked as a Business Development Manager at Defendant Signal Financial Federal Credit Union until she resigned in early 2012 after being demoted. Believing that such demotion was the result of improper age discrimination -- she was 52 at the time -- Williams brought this action under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act against Signal and several of its officers. Defendants now move to dismiss, arguing principally that Plaintiff has missed her filing deadline under the ADEA. Concluding that she did timely file, the Court will deny the Motion in part, but grant it as to the individual Defendants, who are not subject to ADEA liability.

I. Background

According to Plaintiff's Amended Complaint, which the Court must credit as true at this juncture, Williams was initially hired by Signal as a Business Development Coordinator in 2006. See Am. Compl., ¶ 12. In May 2008, she was promoted to Manager of the Business Development Department. See id., ¶ 13. Several years later, on January 25, 2012, the company announced the elimination of this department, see id., ¶ 19, and Williams was told the next day that she could either work as a branch manager or leave the company. See id., ¶ 21. She resigned on January 30, " rather than be demoted to the branch manager position." Id., ¶ 22.

Williams, who was 52 years old in early 2012, see id., ¶ 4, alleges that her demotion constituted age discrimination inasmuch as the corporate reorganization " adversely affected a disproportionate number of individuals over age 50." Id., ¶ 26. More directly, she claims that her job duties were renamed and given to JoAnna Mason, another employee, solely because Mason was younger -- 42 years old at the time. See id., ¶ ¶ 11, 22. Williams alleges that

Page 187

she was more qualified than Mason since she had more banking experience, had served a longer tenure at Signal, and had closed a significantly higher dollar amount in loans. See id., ¶ ¶ 7-9.

Plaintiff's sole claim is for a violation of the ADEA, and she seeks front and back pay. She names as Defendants both Signal and the following three officers: Chief Executive Officer Dan Stake, Chief Operating Officer Terry Powers, and Senior Vice President Guy Tegler.

II. Legal Standard

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) provides for the dismissal of an action where a complaint fails " to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." In evaluating Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, the Court must " treat the complaint's factual allegations as true . . . and must grant plaintiff 'the benefit of all inferences that can be derived from the facts alleged.'" Sparrow v. United Air Lines, Inc.,216 F.3d 1111, 1113, 342 U.S.App.D.C. 268 (D.C. Cir. 2000) (quoting Schuler v. United States,617 F.2d 605, 608, 199 U.S.App.D.C. 23 (D.C. Cir. 1979)) (citation omitted); see also Jerome Stevens Pharms., Inc. v. FDA,402 F.3d 1249, 1253, 365 U.S.App.D.C. 270 (D.C. Cir. 2005). The notice-pleading rules are " not meant to impose a great burden upon a plaintiff," Dura Pharms., Inc. v. Broudo,544 U.S. 336, 347, 125 S.Ct. 1627, 161 L.Ed.2d 577 (2005), and she ...


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