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Allen v. Hamilton

United States District Court, D. Columbia.

February 23, 2015

GIA ALLEN, Plaintiff,
v.
BOOZ ALLEN HAMILTON, Defendant

Decided February 22, 2015.

Page 242

For GIA ALLEN, Plaintiff: F. Peter Silva, II, LEAD ATTORNEY, GOWEN GROUP LAW OFFICE, PLLC, Washington, DC.

For BOOZ ALLEN HAMILTON, INC., Defendant: Elizabeth A. Lalik, LEAD ATTORNEY, LITTLER MENDELSON, P.C., McLean, VA.

Page 243

MEMORANDUM OPINION

RICHARD J. LEON, United States District Judge.

[Dkt. ## 7, 9]

Plaintiff Gia Allen (" plaintiff' or " Allen" ) filed this action against defendant Booz Allen Hamilton (" defendant" or " Booz Allen" ), a strategy and technology consulting firm, in D.C. Superior Court on February 21, 2014, alleging breach of contract; violation of the D.C. Wage Payment and Collection Act, D.C. Code § 32-1301 et seq. (" DCWPCA" ); violation of the Maryland Wage Payment and Collection Act, Md. Code Ann., Lab. & Empl. § 3-501, et seq. (" MWPCA" ); negligent misrepresentation; and promissory estoppel. See Compl. [Dkt. # 1-1], at ¶ ¶ 40-81. The case was removed to this Court on the basis of diversity jurisdiction on March 18, 2014. See Notice of Removal [Dkt. # 1]. Plaintiff then moved to remand the case to the Superior Court on April 7, 2014, and defendant moved to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim on April 11, 2014. See Mot. to Remand [Dkt. # 7]; Mot. to Dismiss [Dkt. # 9]. Because I agree with defendant that plaintiff has failed to state a claim, defendant's motion is GRANTED, plaintiff's motion is DENIED as moot, and the case is DISMISSED.[1]

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiff began working for Booz Allen as an associate in April 2008 and worked exclusively on a contract for one of Booz Allen's clients, the Defense Information Systems Agency (" DISA" ). Compl. at ¶ ¶ 10-11. Around July 2013, plaintiff received a job offer from another employer at a salary of $115,000, slightly higher than her $100,000 salary at Booz Allen. Compl. ¶ ¶ 12, 38. Plaintiff attempted to leverage that offer to secure a salary increase from Booz Allen by telling the Project Manager on the DISA contract that she would stay at Booz Allen if Booz Allen would pay her a salary of $120,000. Compl. ¶ 15. Over the ensuing days and weeks, plaintiff engaged in several email conversations regarding her salary with the DISA contract Project Manager. Compl. ¶ ¶ 14-20, 26-31, Exs. 4-6. During the negotiations, two main issues arose: (1) whether plaintiff could work remotely, and (2) whether plaintiff could receive a salary increase. See Def.'s Mem. in Support of its Mot. to Dismiss [Dkt. # 9-1] (" Def.'s Mem." ), at 3; Compl. at Ex. 3.

As to the first issue, the Project Manager " confirmed with DISA that two days per week telework is acceptable" in an email on July 22, 2013. Compl. at Ex. 4. As to the salary increase, however, the Project Manager was far more circumspect:

Page 244

" the increase in salary is doable . . . . Now I have to check on how I go about initiating a salary increase that is, in essence, out of cycle and not attributed to assessment actions." Id. Later that day, the Project Manager reiterated to plaintiff that the salary issue was unresolved, explaining that he did not have authority at his level to agree to the salary increase: " the contract will support the raise, it is just the unknown of Booz Allen management that I have to address. At this point, I do not see any reason this will not work out. I would just like to get an OK from Level 4/5 to ensure we have the backing." Compl. at Ex. 5. Indeed, plaintiff confirmed her understanding that the salary issue was unresolved, writing " I will await to hear from you." Id.

Unlike the working remotely issue, the Project Manager never confirmed an agreement on the salary increase. Two days later, he wrote to plaintiff, " I have HR started on the process for your market salary increase. I do not have any idea how long it takes, but I would guess a few days at least. Hopefully such that it can take effect on 1 Aug. I'll keep you advised as I hear about where in the process it is." Compl. at Ex. 6. Plaintiff alleges that based on this ambiguous report, she declined the other job offer. Compl. ¶ ¶ 21-22. Ultimately, those with authority within Booz Allen attempted to negotiate a salary increase with plaintiff in September 2013, but those ...


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