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Shipman v. National Railroad Passenger Corp.

United States District Court, D. Columbia.

December 23, 2014

D'RAYFIELD KARY-KHAME SHIPMAN, Plaintiff
v.
NATIONAL RAILROAD PASSENGER CORPORATION (AMTRAK), et al., Defendants

D'RAYFIELD KARY-KHAME SHIPMAN, Plaintiff, Pro se, New Castle, DE.

For NATIONAL PASSENGER RAILROAD CORPORATION, AMTRAK, Defendant: Andrew G. Sakallaris, LEAD ATTORNEY, MORGAN, LEWIS & BOCKIUS LLP, Washington, DC; Rafique Omar Anderson, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Civil Division, Washington, DC; William James Delany, PRO HAC VICE, MORGAN, LEWIS & BOCKIUS LLP, Washington, DC.

For TCU, UNION, Defendant: N. Skelly Harper, LEAD ATTORNEY, GUERRIERI, CLAYMAN, BARTOS & PARCELLI, P.C., Washington, DC; Rafique Omar Anderson, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Civil Division, Washington, DC.

For EEOC OFFICE, Defendant: Rafique Omar Anderson, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Civil Division, Washington, DC.

Page 174

MEMORANDUM OPINION

COLLEEN KOLLAR-KOTELLY, United States District Judge.

D'Rayfield Kary-Khame Shipman, proceeding pro se, brought this action against three defendants: his employer, the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (" Amtrak" ); the union that represents him, the Transportation Communications Union/IAM (" TCU" or " Union" ); and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (" EEOC" ), the agency charged with enforcing federal employment discrimination laws, including Title VII of the Civil

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Rights Act of 1964.[1] While the precise nature of the claims against each defendant is not wholly clear from the pleadings, Plaintiff appears to lodge several claims related to allegations of employment discrimination. See Compl. at 1-2. Plaintiff claims that Amtrak and the Union " have been in collusion since my employment to deny me an African-American male over the age of 50 the right to pursue promotional opportunities with Amtrak." Id. at 2. Plaintiff also claims that the EEOC did not properly handle his complaint of discrimination. Id. Lastly, Plaintiff seeks records under the Freedom of Information Act (" FOIA" ) from both the EEOC and Amtrak. Presently before the Court are Defendant EEOC's [15] Motion to Dismiss, or Alternatively, Motion for Summary Judgment and Defendant TCU's [23] Motion to Dismiss. Upon consideration of the pleadings,[2] the relevant legal authorities, and the record as a whole, the Court GRANTS TCU's Motion to Dismiss, and the Court GRANTS-IN-PART and DENIES-IN-PART the EEOC's motion. First, the Court concludes that, with respect to TCU, Plaintiff's complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. Second, the Court concludes that Plaintiff's claim that the EEOC improperly handled its investigation of his discrimination complaint is properly dismissed pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) for want of subject matter jurisdiction. Third, the Court concludes that dismissal of the FOIA claim is not warranted. Finally, because there are no disputes of material fact with respect to the FOIA claim and because Plaintiff is entitled to judgment as a matter of law, the Court enters JUDGMENT for Plaintiff on that claim. Plaintiff is entitled to receive his EEOC charge file.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Factual Background

While the precise facts of this case are not wholly clear, it is clear that, at core, Plaintiff brings this action claiming that his employer, Amtrak, discriminated against him in its employment decisions due to his being an African-American male over the age of 50. See Compl. at 2. In particular, he suggests that several white employees with inferior typing skills were given clerk positions, which had previously required demonstrating specific typing abilities, while denying Plaintiff those opportunities. See id. He also claims that Amtrak retaliated against him -- in response to the grievance he filed -- by adjusting the qualifications for the position of statistical clerk such that the position no longer required the typing qualifications previously required. See id.; Compl., Ex. at 50-51. Plaintiff also claims that the Union colluded with Amtrak in denying

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Plaintiff promotional opportunities. See id.

Plaintiff filed a discrimination claim with the EEOC in 2009. After conducting an investigation, the EEOC concluded that further action by the agency was not warranted. See Compl., Ex. at 2. The EEOC closed its file on Plaintiff's charge against Amtrak on December 16, 2013. See id. The EEOC reported its conclusion to Plaintiff in a Dismissal and Notice of Rights, which stated that, " [b]ased on its investigation, the EEOC is unable to conclude that the information obtained established violations of the statutes." [3] Id. This litigation ensued.

Because a full factual presentation is not necessary at this point given the Court's legal conclusions below, the Court reserves further presentation of the facts for the discussion of the individual issues raised by the motions currently before the Court.

B. Procedural History

On March 11, 2014, Plaintiff filed this action, proceeding pro se, against Amtrak, TCU (" Union" ), and the EEOC. The Court discusses the procedural history with respect to each Defendant in turn.

In response to the complaint, Defendant Amtrak, Plaintiff's employer, filed an answer. Further proceedings with respect to Amtrak will resume after the Court's resolution of the motions currently before the Court.

On April 8, 2014, the Union filed a motion for a [7] Motion for a More Definite Statement. The Court subsequently granted the motion, ordering Plaintiff to " file an amended complaint which contains a more definite statement of his claim(s) against Defendant TCU." Order dated August 19, 2014, ECF No. 20. In response, Plaintiff filed a [21] Response to Memorandum & Order but did not amend his complaint. The Union then timely filed a [23] Motion to Dismiss, one of the two motions currently before the Court. The Court advised Plaintiff that, if he did not file a response by October 26, 2014, the Court would treat the Union's motion as conceded and would dismiss that Defendant. After resolving some confusion with respect to pro se Plaintiff's receipt of the Union's Motion to Dismiss, the Court set a new deadline for Plaintiff to respond to the Union's motion: November 27, 2014. Citing Fox v. Strickland, 837 F.2d 507, 509, 267 U.S.App.D.C. 84 (D.C. Cir. 1988), the Court once ...


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