United States District Court, District of Columbia
ROYCE C. LAMBERTH, District Judge.
In this case, plaintiff, Linwood Williams, Jr., proceeding pro se, alleges "discrimination, retaliation and other claims" against his former employer, the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency for D.C. Compl. 2. This matter is before the Court on defendant's motion for judgment on the pleadings or for summary judgment. ECF No. 123.
I. SUFFICIENCY OF PLAINTIFF'S SUBMISSIONS
At the outset, the Court confronts serious deficiencies in Mr. Williams' submissions in this case. In determining the undisputed facts for the purposes of reviewing a motion for summary judgment, this Court adheres to the text of Local Civil Rule 7(h). As such, in resolving the present summary judgment motion, this Court "assume[s] the facts identified by the moving party in its statement of material facts are admitted, unless such a fact is controverted in the statement of genuine issues filed in opposition to the motion." LCvR 7(h).
The Court previously warned Mr. Williams that pursuant to Local Rule 7(h) he is required to submit concise factual statements including references to parts of the record relied upon to support the statements. See April 24, 2015 Order, ECF No. 138. The Court warned that the Rule "places the burden on the parties and their counsel, who are most familiar with the litigation and the record, to crystallize for the district court the material facts and relevant portions of the record." Jackson v. Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, 101 F.3d 145, 151 (D.C. Cir. 1996) (quoting Twist v. Meese, 854 F.2d 1421, 1425 (D.C. Cir. 1988)) (discussing Rule 7(h)'s predecessor), and that "a district court should not be obliged to sift through hundreds of pages of depositions, affidavits, and other interrogatories in order to make [its] own analysis and determination of what may, or may not be a genuine issue of material fact." Id. at 151 (quoting Twist, 854 F.2d at 1425). Where a party has failed to file a proper Rule 7(h) statement, he "may not be heard to complain that the district court has abused its discretion by failing to compensate for [his] inadequate effort.'" Id. (quoting Twist, 854 F.2d at 1425).
Mr. Williams subsequently submitted a "Renewed motion for admission of agreed upon facts, " ECF No. 139 ("Pl.'s SOMF"), as well as "Renewed responses to defendant's statement of undisputed facts, " ECF No. 142 ("Pl.'s Renewed Responses"), a combined 86 pages of factual assertions. While these statements demonstrate an attempt to comply with the local rules, they are so deficient as to impede effective review by this Court.
Both of Mr. Williams' statements violate the Local Rule because, at 86 pages, they are certainly not " concise statement[s] of genuine issues setting forth all material facts." LCvR 7(h). His statements are replete with argument, speculation, conjecture, and assumptions. The alleged facts are largely "not material to [his] substantive claims, " Jackson, 101 F.3d at 153, or merely "describ[e] in lengthy detail the contextual and structural background surrounding Defendant's stated facts." Gibson v. Office of Architect of The Capitol, No. 00-2424, 2002 WL 32713321, at *1 n.1 (D.D.C. Nov. 19, 2002) (quotation marks omitted). Those facts that are potentially relevant to his claims lack appropriate "references to parts of the record relied on to support the statement." LCvR 7(h). See, e.g., Pl.'s SOMF ¶ 70 (asserting that CSOSA admitted that seven female SCSOs violated the same or greater performance standards as did Mr. Williams without consequence, and citing 30 documents that do not support this statement, including the letter proposing his removal, his position description, and a phone directory); id. ¶ 72 (asserting that Mr. Williams was given less time to do his work than his peers and citing the same 30 sources plus two more, none of which seem to support this statement); id. ¶¶ 117-19 (asserting that Mr. Rush informed several of Mr. Williams' superiors of his protected activity, but citing excerpts of two depositions that make no mention of this). Although Mr. Williams asserts partial disagreement with many of CSOSA's alleged facts, he often fails to provide the basis for his disagreement. See, e.g., Pl.'s Renewed Responses ¶¶ 24-32, ¶¶ 34-42 (each stating only "Agree in part and disagree in practice" without any explanation, followed by numerous citations that generally seem irrelevant to CSOSA's assertion).
The Court has considered the matter, and in an exercise of its discretion, rules that Mr. Williams' renewed motion for admission of agreed upon facts and renewed responses to defendant's statement of undisputed facts will be stricken and therefore not considered. Accordingly, the Court will treat CSOSA's statement of undisputed fact as conceded. Thus, in most instances, the Court cites to CSOSA's Statement of Material Facts (Def.'s SOMF).
The Court believes this action is appropriate, notwithstanding Mr. Williams' status as a pro se litigant. It is simply not possible for the Court to thoroughly analyze nearly 3, 000 pages of exhibits to determine whether his statements present issues of material fact precluding summary judgment on Mr. Williams' claim. Our prior Order clearly notified Mr. Williams of the Court's requirements as well as the potential consequences should he fail to meet them. This case has been pending for seven years, during which time Mr. Williams' own conduct in litigating this lawsuit has been called into question several times. E.g., Williams v. CSOSA, 840 F.Supp.2d 192, 196 (D.D.C. 2012) (reinstating case although "Williams' potentially inconsistent statements do raise a concern"); Williams v. CSOSA, 937 F.Supp.2d 41, 43 (D.D.C. 2013) ("Williams' own delay in producing documents has been a serious hindrance to concluding discovery in this matter.").
Furthermore, the Court has painstakingly reviewed Mr. Williams' 93-page opposition brief, checking the record citations on every fact that could be relevant. Regrettably, his opposition suffers from the same deficiencies as his statements of fact, and also - inexplicably - includes lengthy excerpts of discovery requests. See, e.g., Opp'n 9 (asserting that plaintiff has the largest number of cases, but citing the entirety of Mr. Ashe's deposition without a pin cite); Opp'n 15 (attributing several quotes to a coworker, but citing only objections to discovery requests); Opp'n 32 (asserting that another employee confirms that a special condition Mr. Williams missed was not listed on the computer database, but citing a blank document); Opp'n 80 (asserting that Mr. Williams was reprimanded for his tardy completion of an assignment, while others were not reprimanded for finishing late or had deadlines waived, but citing only an email chain regarding cases Mr. Williams failed to close appropriately); Opp'n 85 (asserting that the Associate Director stated that many women were transferred when they should have been fired, but citing only objections to discovery requests). While Mr. Williams asserts many facts that, if proven, might support his claim for relief, almost none are supported by citations to record evidence. The Court nonetheless considers his arguments, as well as asserted facts where they are supported by record evidence.
II. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
The Court Services and Officer Supervision Agency for D.C. (CSOSA) is a federal agency responsible for supervising convicted offenders who are on parole, probation, and supervised release for violations of the Criminal Code of the District of Columbia. (Def.'s SOMF) ¶ 1. CSOSA's mission is to increase public safety, prevent crime, reduce recidivism, and support the fair administration of justice in close collaboration with the community. Id. ¶ 2.
Plaintiff Linwood A. Williams, Jr., was hired by CSOSA as a Community Supervision Officer (CSO) on August 16, 1998. Id. ¶ 4. Mr. Williams was promoted to Supervisory Community Supervision Office (SCSO) in 2003. Id. ¶ 5.
From 2004-2005, Mr. Williams was issued at least two written reprimands for his poor performances, id. ¶¶ 15, 20. On August 24, 2005, Bill Ashe, Branch Chief of Branch IIA, gave Mr. Williams a performance appraisal plan (PAP). Id. ¶ 21. The PAP identified the performance standards and critical elements for Mr. Williams' position and addressed the requirements necessary to attain the Fully Met Expectations level. Id.
On February 10, 2006, Mr. Ashe notified Mr. Williams that because of his unacceptable performance in the critical performance competencies of "accountability" and "team building, " Mr. Ashe was placing him on a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) in accordance with Human Resources Directive 430.2, and with the PAP previously given to Mr. Williams. Id. ¶ 22. Mr. Ashe stated that the PIP was initiated because of Mr. Williams' poor work performance that Mr. Ashe had observed since August 2005. Id. ¶ 23. The PIP specifically noted numerous occasions on which Mr. Williams had been instructed on how to perform initial case review and provide CSOs with guidance. Id. ¶¶ 24-29. It then noted several cases that Mr. Williams had assigned without initial case reviews and without providing the CSOs with instructions for appropriate case handling. Id. ¶¶ 30-36. Finally, the PIP notified Mr. Williams that his work performance would be reviewed for one year from the time of the PIP notice, and if Plaintiff were to be rated unacceptable in any critical competency element or critical success factor during that time, his overall rating would be unacceptable, and an unacceptable rating would result in his reassignment, demotion, or removal. Id. ¶ 37.
Mr. Williams grieved the PIP through various steps of appeal, until Adrienne Poteat, Associate Director, ruled that Bill Ashe had acted appropriately when he placed Mr. Williams on the PIP. Id. ¶¶ 33-41.
On April 28, 2006, Mr. Ashe told Mr. Williams that he had successfully completed the PIP based on Ashe's assessment that Williams' performance had risen to the "Fully Met Expectations" level in the "accountability" and "team building" competencies. Id. ¶ 44. Mr. Williams refused to sign this assessment. Id.
On October 10, 2006, Mr. Ashe presented Mr. Williams with his final annual performance evaluation for the period from August 1, 2005 to July 31, 2006: The final rating for that period was "Unacceptable." Id. at 46. Mr. Williams refused to sign this assessment. Id.
That same day, Mr. Ashe sent Mr. Williams a memorandum on CSOSA letterhead, entitled "Proposed Removal, " based on "Unacceptable Performance." Id. ¶ 48. The memorandum noted that Mr. Williams' performance fell below the requisite level in two critical competencies, including "accountability, " which requires that SCSOs hold themselves and others accountable for conforming to established procedures and work standards, work is normally completed on schedule, and that subordinates share a commitment to high standards for quality and timeliness. Id. ¶ 53. It noted that the specific expected performance level for the critical competency of "accountability" was:
Requires statistical data submitted by deadline date, (e.g. screener, monthly statistics; CSF quarterly reports); special reports/projects are submitted in accordance with (IAW) CSS deadlines; completes performance appraisals for subordinates IAW CSS and OHR deadlines; consistently identified and corrects performance or conduct problems IAW agency policy; effectively counsels and directs staff through weekly contact. Ensures the accuracy of data entered into the database; ensures caseloads assignments are equitably distributed IAW CSS standard, performance audits and case-reviews IAW CSS standard; submits closed cases within required time frames; ensures internal and external stakeholders (e.g. the community, the Courts, U.S. Parole Commission (USPC), and the Metropolitan (MPD) receive quality customer service; ensures Teams/Units are responsive to the need of stakeholders; ensures customer service and takes appropriate actions if needs are not being met; recognizes and rewards positive performance and team work. Open/available for employees on work-related problems and concerns in order to resolve issues at the lowest level. Demonstrates commitment to EEO and diversity principles; EEO policies, procedures and guidelines are distributed to employees and are posted IAW regulations and accurate and complete information is provided to EEO counselors and the Office of EEO. Grievances are kept to a minimum but dealt with fairly and promptly; responsive to individual and Team needs and concerns; intervenes to resolves issues at the initial stage; balances rewards and sanctions; recognizes the value of noteworthy performance through commendations, honorary awards, and cash awards, etc.
Id. ¶ 54.
The memorandum then noted specific deficiencies in Mr. Williams' work performance:
Several cases Mr. Williams noted as closed on the computer database remained ...