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Ortiz-Diaz v. United States Department of Housing

United States District Court, D. Columbia.

December 18, 2014

SAMUEL ORTIZ-DIAZ, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT, OFFICE OF THE INSPECTOR GENERAL, Defendant

Page 562

For SAMUEL ORTIZ-DIAZ, Plaintiff: Eden J. Brown Gaines, BROWN GAINES, LLC, White Plains, MD.

For UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT, OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL, Defendant: Alexander Daniel Shoaibi, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Washington, DC.

Page 563

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Royce C. Lamberth, J.

This case arises from plaintiff Samuel Ortiz-Diaz's allegations of discrimination against the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Office of Inspector General (" Agency" ). Ortiz-Diaz alleges that Assistant Inspector General, Investigations, John McCarty, denied Ortiz-Diaz's requests to transfer to Albany, New York and Hartford, Connecticut because of his race and national origin. Ortiz-Diaz, who is Hispanic and Puerto Rican, contends that McCarty routinely approved transfers for similarly-situated white, non-Puerto Rican investigators to their desired locales. Pl.'s Opp'n 2.

Before the Court is Mr. Ortiz-Diaz's Motion to Compel, ECF No. 20, the Agency's response, ECF No. 21, and Mr. Ortiz-Diaz's reply, ECF No. 22. Also before the Court is the Agency's Motion for Summary Judgment, ECF No. 23, Mr. Ortiz-Diaz's opposition, ECF No. 25, and defendant's reply, ECF. No. 26. Based on these submissions, applicable law, and the record in this case, the Court will GRANT defendant's Motion [23] for Summary Judgment, DENY plaintiffs Motion [20] to Compel, and DISMISS plaintiff's claim.

I. BACKGROUND

Mr. Ortiz-Diaz began his employment with the Agency in April 1998 as a Criminal Investigator in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Am. Compl. ¶ 6; Def.'s Mot. Summ. J. 4. In December of 2000, Ortiz-Diaz requested a reassignment to Hartford, Connecticut, after his wife received a job offer in Albany, New York. ECF No. 5-4 at 12 (Ramos Deck); id. at 22 (Notification of Personnel Action). The reassignment request was granted and Mr. Ortiz-Diaz and his wife moved to Albany. Id ; ECF 25-3 (Ortiz-Diaz Decl.) ¶ 1.

Mr. Ortiz-Diaz subsequently applied for and received a position with the Criminal Investigation Division in Washington, D.C., where he could earn a higher salary. Ortiz-Diaz Deck ¶ ¶ 1-5. He agreed to remain with HUD OIG in Washington from December 15, 2009 to December 15, 2010 or repay relocation expenses. ECF 5-3 (Ortiz-Diaz Rebuttal Aff.) at 37. Mr.

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McCarty approved Ortiz-Diaz's promotion. ECF 23-3 (McCarty Dep.) at 79:1-5.

In July 2010, Mr. Ortiz-Diaz applied for an Assistant Special Agent in Charge position in New York City and was not selected. ECF 5-4 at 64; Ortiz-Diaz Deck ¶ 11. Although he believed that he was denied the position because of his race, he did not pursue an EEO claim. Ortiz-Diaz Deck ¶ 11. The individual selected for the position was also Hispanic, and Mr. McCarty approved his selection. McCarty Dep. 83:6-84:3.

The Agency maintains a no cost, voluntary transfer program that allows investigators to request voluntary transfers to duty stations of their choice for reasons other than the specific staffing needs of the Agency. ECF 25-20 (Dep. of Lester A. Davis, Deputy Assistant Inspector General for Investigations) at 14. In October 2014, Mr. Ortiz-Diaz requested that he be considered for such a transfer to Albany, New York or Hartford, Connecticut. Although there were no Special Agent positions in Albany, Special Agent in Charge Rene Febles felt it would be helpful to have an agent stationed there. ECF 25-15 at 26-29 (Febles Dep.). Additionally, Mr. ...


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