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District of Columbia v. Poindexter

Court of Appeals of Columbia District

December 11, 2014

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, APPELLANT,
v.
CRYSTAL POINDEXTER, APPELLEE

Argued: June 3, 2014.

Page 849

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 850

Appeals from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. (CAB-6627-08). (Hon. Judith Bartnoff, Trial Judge).

Stacy L. Anderson, Senior Assistant Attorney General for the District of Columbia, with whom Irvin B. Nathan, Attorney General, Todd S. Kim, Solicitor General, and Donna M. Murasky, Deputy Attorney General, were on the brief, for appellant.

David A. Branch for appellee.

Before GLICKMAN, BLACKBURNE-RIGSBY, and BECKWITH, Associate Judges.

OPINION

Page 851

Blackburne-Rigsby, Associate Judge:

Following appellee Crystal Poindexter's separation from employment with the District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (" DCRA" ) and lawsuit on various grounds against her former employer, a jury found for appellee on her Whistleblower Protection Act (" WPA" ) claim under D.C. Code § § 1-615.51 to-615.59 (2001). On appeal, appellant District of Columbia (" the District" ) argues that the trial court erred in denying its motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict because appellee failed to produce sufficient evidence that any of the allegations she reported evidenced " gross mismanagement," " gross misuse or waste of public funds," " abuse of authority in connection with the administration of a public program," or " violation of law, rule, or regulation" sufficient to constitute a " protected disclosure" under the WPA. Consequently, the District contends, it was entitled to judgment as a matter of law. We agree with the District and conclude that appellee failed to present sufficient evidence to demonstrate that she made a " protected disclosure" on any basis under the WPA. Therefore, the District was entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Accordingly, we vacate the trial court's judgment and remand for it to enter judgment in the District's favor.[1]

I. Factual Background

After working for DCRA as a Supervisory Investigator for approximately five years, appellee was transferred into the newly formed Office of Consumer Protection (" OCP" ), along with Investigators Patricia Hill, Deon Henderson, and Gloria Henderson and Program Support Specialists Recita Evans and Phoebe Queen-Addison. Robert Harris was hired in July 2006, from outside of DCRA, to be OCP's Program Manager. Harris, ...


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