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Cromeartie v. RCM of Washington, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Columbia.

August 5, 2015


EARLINE YOLANDA CROMEARTIE, Plaintiff, Pro se, Washingyon, DC.

For RCM OF WASHINGTON, INC., Defendant: B. Patrice Clair, FORD HARRISON, Washington, DC; David A. Rosenberg, FORD & HARRISON LLP, Washington, DC.

Page 336


RUDOLPH CONTRERAS, United States District Judge.

Defendant RCM of Washington, Inc., removed this action from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia after plaintiff, proceeding pro se, filed an amended complaint mentioning Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § § 2000e et seq., and 42 U.S.C. § 1981. See Def.'s Not. of Removal ¶ 4, ECF No. 1; Pl.'s Am. Compl., ECF No. 4 at pp. 16-24. Pending before the Court is defendant's motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, ECF No. 5. In addition to opposing the motion, plaintiff moves for the appointment of counsel, ECF No. 9, and for leave " to file amended document pages 19, 20, 21 & 22 of the proposed order granting plaintiff's motion to deny defendant's motion to dismiss[,]" ECF No. 10. The latter unopposed motion seeks only to correct the cited pages by adding plaintiff's signature and, thus, will be granted without further discussion.

For the reasons explained below, the Court will grant defendant's motion to dismiss as to the federal claims and, declining to exercise supplemental jurisdiction, will remand the remaining state and common law claims to Superior Court.[1] See Myers v. Cent. Florida Investments, Inc., 592 F.3d 1201, 1226 (11th Cir. 2010) (" [F]ederal district courts in removal cases must remand, rather than dismiss, state claims over which they decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction." ) Consequently, plaintiff's motion for counsel will be denied as moot and plaintiff may re-submit that motion upon remand in the Superior Court.

Page 337


In the amended complaint, plaintiff alleges that defendant terminated her " due to allegations related to them by Michael Lewis, a person who had no affiliation with RCM." Am. Compl. at 2.[2] Plaintiff alleges that RCM employees involved themselves in the personal relationship between her and Lewis whom plaintiff accuses of engaging in domestic violence. Id. Plaintiff attributes her termination " to domestic violence in, at and around the workplace" and faults RCM staff for permitting Lewis to enter the worksite despite knowing about " the domestic violence that was taking place[.]" Id. Plaintiff alleges that she " attempted to keep the establishment free from harm and danger, but employees of RCM . . . saw fit to allow [ ] Lewis inside of the building, which is against policy." Id.

Plaintiff invokes D.C. Code § 51-131, which prohibits the denial of unemployment compensation to an " otherwise eligible individual . . . because the individual was separated from employment by discharge or voluntary or involuntary resignation due to domestic violence against the individual or any member of the individual's immediate family[.]" Id. § 51-131(a). Plaintiff claims that " [t]his case presents a question of first impression in both the District of Columbia and across the country: when does an employee's firing for allowing an abusive partner to enter the worksite constitute a separation from employment 'due to domestic violence' subject to unemployment compensation?" Am. Compl. at 2.

Plaintiff claims that " RCM owed [her] a duty of care to be safe from harm, especially on the job" and " liken[s]" RCM's alleged behavior " to criminal negligence." Id. at 3. She alleges that " after opening up and admitting to her superiors that she was being harassed and threatened by Mr. Lewis, they failed to take her serious[ly] and instead of adhering to the TPO [temporary protection order] issued by the D.C. Superior Court, they continued to talk with [ ] Lewis." Id. ; see also Pl.'s Surreply, ECF No. 12, at 4 (" There was a valid temporary protection order in place [that] was supposed to have been posted at the front desk which would have prevented Mr. Lewis from gaining access to the building." )

Plaintiff also purports to " bring[ ] a hostile work environment claim pursuant to Title VII," Am. Comp. at 4, and a claim under the D.C. Human Rights Act as " a member of a protected class, which is a domestic violence survivor." Id. at 4-5. In a section captioned " Plaintiff's Claim of Mental Anguish," plaintiff alleges that she " was diagnosed with mental illness due to the domestic violence that she incurred at the hands of [ ] Lewis[,]" and claims intentional infliction of emotional distress for the " outrageous" conduct of RCM's employees in allowing Lewis access to the workplace with ...

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