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Kline v. Archuleta

United States District Court, D. Columbia.

April 14, 2015

VALERIE KLINE, Plaintiff,
v.
KATHERINE ARCHULETA, et al., Defendants

For VALERIE KLINE, Plaintiff: Tyler Jay King, FRANKLIN SQUARE LAW GROUP, Washington, DC.

For KATHERINE ARCHULETA, In her capacity as Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, ERIC H. HOLDER, JR., In his capacity as U.S. Attorney General, RONALD C. MACHEN, JR., In his capacity as U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, WILLIAM M. DAVIS, CLAUDIO A. BENEDI, Defendants: Kenneth A. Adebonojo, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Washington, DC.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Royce C. Lamberth, United States District Judge.

In this suit, Ms. Kline alleges that her employer, the United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM) discriminated or retaliated against her by giving responsibility for the regulatory issuances system to Mr. Stephen Hickman instead of to Ms. Kline. Before the Court is defendant's motion [ECF No. 13] to dismiss, or in the alternative for summary judgment. Also before the Court is plaintiff's motion [ECF No. 18] for leave to file an amended complaint.

I. BACKGROUND

In 2002, OPM hired Valerie Kline as a GS-12 Management Analyst to perform regulatory duties. In 2003, however, Ms. Kline agreed to a reassignment to a revised position description that included primarily non-regulatory publication duties. See 2003 Position Description of Valerie Kline (" 2003 Kline PD" ), Defs.' Ex. 3, ECF No. 13-3. This is the third District Court action along with several administrative actions that Ms. Kline has filed out of

Page 2

dissatisfaction with her job requirements following her reassignment.

In Kline v. Springer, 602 F.Supp.2d 234 (D.D.C. 2009), aff'd 404 Fed.Appx. 505 (D.C. Cir. 2010), Ms. Kline alleged that she had been subjected to discrimination in 2004-05 when she received a " bad" evaluation of duties assigned to her under her new position description. In a second suit, decided this date, Ms. Kline alleged that she was retaliated against when her substantive regulatory duties were stripped from her after she complained to the EEOC. Kline v. Archuleta, Civ A. No. 10-1802, (D.D.C. April 14, 2015) (" Kline II " ).

In this case, Ms. Kline alleges OPM discriminated or retaliated against her " by giving responsibility for the regulatory issuances system" to Mr. Stephen Hickman instead of to her. Compl. at 8. While a more complete summary of the factual background in this case can be found in the today's companion case, Kline II, the relevant facts are as follows.

In 2006, in preparation for Ms. Carter's retirement, OPM advertised a " GS-12-classified position nearly identical to the one Plaintiff applied for and was hired to fill in 2002." Opp'n 21. This position was advertised as a full-time regulatory position. Nonetheless, Ms. Kline failed to apply for this position, and OPM hired Mr. Stephen Hickman into the regulatory position.

In 2008, OPM competitively advertised a GS-13 position with responsibility for managing the regulatory issuances system in USAJOBS. Compl. ¶ 48. Ms. Kline did not apply for this position either, and Mr. Hickman was ultimately promoted into this position.

Ms. Kline's various allegations are indeed unclear and OPM correctly points out that they raise issues of res judicata and administration exhaustion, among others. For example, if Ms. Kline's claim is a " non-selection" claim, she lacks standing to challenge their actions because she did not apply to either the 2006 GS-12 regulatory position or the GS-13 position filled in 2008.

In a creative attempt to avoid this obvious problem, Ms. Kline insists that she is not bringing a " non-selection" claim but instead a claim of " failure to promote." Opp'n at 10, ECF No. 17. " [T]he discrimination claim in this case is not based on " non-selection" of the GS-12 classified position advertised in August 31, 2006, but that Defendants discriminated against Plaintiff by assigning the duties encumbered under the GS-13-classified position to Mr. Hickman after Ms. Carter retired." Id. at 11. Essentially, Ms. Kline alleges that OPM ...


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