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Smith v. World Bank Group

United States District Court, D. Columbia.

April 21, 2015

ADRIENNE SMITH, Plaintiff,
v.
WORLD BANK GROUP, and JIM YONG KIM, President, World Bank Group, Defendants

ADRIENNE SMITH, Plaintiff, Pro se, Washington, DC.

For WORLD BANK GROUP, JIM YONG KIM, President, World Bank Group, Defendants: Jeffrey T. Green, LEAD ATTORNEY, SIDLEY AUSTIN LLP, Washington, DC.

Page 167

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Emmet G. Sullivan, United States District Judge.

Adrienne Smith brings this lawsuit alleging that the World Bank and its President, Jim Yong Kim, discriminated against her during the course of her employment. Ms. Smith appeared to have properly served the defendants in September 2014, but the defendants did not timely respond to the Complaint and the Clerk of Court entered default against them. Days later, before any motion for default judgment was filed, the defendants moved to vacate the entry of default and to dismiss this case for lack of jurisdiction. Upon consideration of the motions, the responses and

Page 168

replies thereto, the applicable law, and the entire record, the Court GRANTS the defendants' motions, VACATES the default, and DISMISSES this case.

I. Background

Ms. Smith worked for the World Bank from 1997 to 2012. See Compl., ECF No. 1 at 2. Ms. Smith's precise allegations of discrimination are not clear from the Complaint, although she alleges that " World Bank senior personnel managers resorted to 'Gestapo,' 'Shang hai' style tactics and threats against Plaintiff." Id. at 10; see also id. at 14 (alleging that a manager, for discriminatory reasons, " targeted Plaintiff" and sought to have her removed from her position). Ms. Smith also makes more generalized allegations regarding the World Bank, including that its " internal conflict system . . . has failed miserably to provide due process to Black and African staff." Id. at 6; see also id. at 7--8.

In July 2012, Ms. Smith filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (" EEOC" ), alleging that the World Bank had discriminated against her during the course of her employment. See id. at 2. Ms. Smith's complaint was dismissed by the EEOC for lack of jurisdiction in January 2014. See id.

Ms. Smith filed this lawsuit on April 25, 2014 " as the next step" following the denial of her EEOC Complaint. See id. at 1. On August 4, 2014, the Court entered an Order noting that the deadline for Ms. Smith to serve process on the defendants was approaching. See Order, ECF No. 3 at 1. The Court directed her to do so by August 25, 2014, or risk dismissal of the case. See id. On August 18, 2014, Ms. Smith filed an affidavit that appeared to be partly responsive to the Court's Order. See Aff., ECF No. 4. The Court directed Ms. Smith to provide supplemental materials sufficient to demonstrate that the defendants had been properly served by no later than September 2, 2014. See Minute Order of August 21, 2014.

Ms. Smith submitted in September 2014 a document that appeared to show that she had served the defendants on September 8, 2014, which produced a deadline of September 29, 2014 for their response to the Complaint. See Minute Order of October 16, 2014. Because no response had been filed by October 16, and Ms. Smith had not further prosecuted her case, the Court entered a Minute Order directing Ms. Smith to " show cause why this case should not be dismissed for her failure to comply with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55." Id. (emphasis omitted).

On October 21, 2014, Ms. Smith submitted an affidavit seeking entry of default. See Aff. for Default, ECF No. 9. The Clerk entered default on October 22, 2014. See Entry of Default, ECF No. 10. Six days later, the defendants moved to vacate that entry of default and to dismiss the case for lack of jurisdiction. See Mot. to Vacate, ECF No. 11; Mot. to Dismiss, ECF No. 12. The Court then entered an Order, citing the D.C. Circuit's decisions in Fox v. Strickland, 837 F.2d 507, 267 U.S.App.D.C. 84 (D.C. Cir. 1988) and Neal v. Kelly, 963 F.2d 453, 295 U.S.App.D.C. 350 (D.C. Cir. 1992), which directed Ms. Smith to respond to the motions by no later than November 28, 2014. See Order, ECF No. 13 at 2. Ms. Smith's opposition brief was timely filed, Pl.'s Opp., ECF No. 15, and the defendants filed their reply brief on December 8, 2014. See ...


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