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Daniels v. Chugach Government Services, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Columbia.

March 7, 2016

JOHN DANIELS, Plaintiff,
v.
CHUGACH GOVERNMENT SERVICES, INC., Defendant

Page 184

          For JOHN DANIELS, Plaintiff: Richard Jay Hackerman, Baltimore, MD.

         For CHUGACH GOVERNMENT SERVICES, INC., POTOMAC JOBS CORPS CENTER, Defendant: Attison L. Barnes, III, LEAD ATTORNEY, WILEY REIN LLP, Washington, DC.

Page 185

         MEMORANDUM OPINON

         Emmet G. Sullivan, United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff John Daniels (" Mr. Daniels" ) is a middle-aged man from Liberia, West Africa. Am. Compl. ¶ 4. A permanent resident of Maryland, Mr. Daniels worked for Defendant Chugach Government Services (" Chugach" ) as a Systems Administrator from 2009 until 2011. Id. ¶ 4. In the fall of 2011, Chugach reorganized and Mr. Daniels was laid off. Id. ¶ 5. The position held by Mr. Daniels was combined with the position held by Mr. Daniels' middle-aged Ethiopian colleague. Id. Mr. Daniels interviewed for the new position, but a younger Caucasian male was hired instead. Id. ¶ 6. Mr. Daniels trained the new hire. Id. ¶ 10. After one month, the new hired was dismissed for poor performance. Id. ¶ 11. Mr. Daniels served as Acting Lead Systems Administrator for approximately four months. Id. ¶ 12. Mr. Daniels was never invited to apply for the permanent position, which was awarded to a younger African American candidate in March 2012. Id. ¶ 10. Based on these events, Mr. Daniels alleges that Chugach discriminated against him based on his national origin, age and race. Id. ¶ ¶ 10-13. Chugach moves to dismiss Mr. Daniels' Amended Complaint for failure to state a claim. Def.'s Mot. Dismiss, Docket No. 14. Upon consideration of the motion, the response and reply thereto, the applicable law, and the entire record, Defendant's Motion is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Chugach Government Services

         Chugach is a government contractor based in Alaska. Am. Compl. ¶ 3. Mr. Daniels was employed at Chugach's Washington, D.C. office. Id. At the time of the events alleged by Mr. Daniels, Chugach was a wholly owned subsidiary of Chugach Alaska Corporation, an Alaska Native Corporation created pursuant to the terms of the Alaska Native Claim Settlement Act (" ANCSA" ). Def. Mem. Supp., Docket No. 14 at 7. The Alaska Native Settlement Claim Act of 1971 extinguished all Native claims to Alaskan land based on aboriginal use. Cook Inlet Region, Inc. v. Rude, 690 F.3d 1127, 1129 (9th Cir. 2012). Native Alaskans were compensated monetarily and with title to forty million acres of land. Id. ANCSA transferred title of the settlement land to twelve regional corporations, including the Chugach Alaska Corporation, and other entities created by the Act. Id. ; see also United States v. A. Richfield Co., 435 F.Supp. 1009, 1020-21 (D. Alaska 1977) aff'd, 612 F.2d 1132 (9th Cir. 1980) (" The intent of Congress in the Settlement Act was to settle the claims of Alaska Natives and to compensate them without deciding the difficult and disputed question of the existence and extent of aboriginal title to Alaska lands." ).

         B. Mr. Daniels' Employment at Chugach

         Mr. Daniels was employed by Chugach's Washington, D.C. office as an IT professional. Am. Compl. ¶ 4. Mr. Daniels' employment with Chugach began in 2009 as a Systems Administrator. Id. At this time, Mr. Daniels was in his mid-fifties. The

Page 186

Lead Systems Administrator was an Ethiopian male in his sixties. Id. In 2011, Chugach announced a reorganization, including the consolidation of Mr. Daniels' position with the Lead Systems Administrator position. Id. ¶ 5. Mr. Daniels and his Ethiopian colleague applied for the new position, but Chugach hired a younger Caucasian male. Id. ¶ 6. Mr. Daniels alleges that the new hire did not possess the relevant education or work experience requirements that were posted in the job description. Id. ¶ 7.

         Chugach asked Mr. Daniels' to work in a temporary capacity to assist the Caucasian male's transition into the newly-created senior IT position. Id. ¶ 10. After one month, the new hire was dismissed from his duties due to behavioral and performance issues. Id. ¶ 11. Chugach asked Mr. Daniels to serve as Acting Senior IT Administrator. Id. Mr. Daniels served in this capacity from approximately November 2011 to February 2012. Id. ¶ 12. In early March, 2012, Mr. Daniels received a letter informing him that his term as Acting Senior IT Administrator was over. Id. Mr. Daniels alleges that he was not invited to apply for the permanent position. Id. The person hired for the permanent position was a " much younger African-American male, who unlike Mr. Daniels or his former supervisor, had no direct African ancestry." Id. ¶ 13. Chugach invited Mr. Daniels to work as a Substitute Instructor, but with few hours and only minimum wage, Mr. Daniels could not support his family and sought work at Walmart. Id. ¶ 14.

         C. Mr. Daniels' Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program Complaint.

         On May 30, 2012, Mr. Daniels filed a complaint with the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program (" OFCCP" ). Id. ¶ 15. Although the OFCCP findings are not attached to Mr. Daniels' Complaint, he alleges OFFCP concluded that Chugach violated Executive Order 11236 by " hiring the first Caucasian candidate over Mr. Daniels, a more qualified candidate, when the first candidate did not meet the minimum requirements of Senior IT Administrator." Id. [1] Chugach offered Mr. Daniels $2,287.20 in back pay, an offer rejected by Mr. Daniels as " entirely unsatisfactory." Id. Mr. Daniels requested a right-to-sue letter from OFCCP and now alleges racial discrimination under Section 1981 (Count I), national origin discrimination under Title VII (Count II), and age discrimination under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (Count III). Id. ¶ ¶ 16-18. Mr. Daniels seeks over $700,000.00 in damages, plus pre-judgment and post-judgment interest.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         A motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) tests the legal sufficiency of a complaint. Browning v. Clinton, 292 F.3d 235, 242, 352 U.S.App.D.C. 4 (D.C. Cir. 2002). The pleading must contain a " short plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2); Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677-78, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009). The pleading standard does not require detailed factual allegations, but should be " more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." Id. at 678. Naked assertions without factual enhancements or formulaic recitations of the elements of a cause of action will not suffice. Id. Rather, to survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint

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" must contain sufficient factual matter . . . to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Id. Plausibility entails that the plaintiff has pled factual content that is not merely consistent with liability but allows the Court to draw a reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the alleged misconduct. Id.

         In considering a 12(b)(6) motion, the Court should liberally view the complaint in the plaintiff's favor, accepting all factual allegations as true, and giving the plaintiff the benefit of all inferences that can be drawn therefrom. Redding v. Edwards, 569 F.Supp.2d 129, 131 (D.D.C. 2008) (citing Kowal v. MCI Communications Corp., 16 F.3d 1271, 1276, 305 U.S.App.D.C. 60 (D.C. Cir. 1994)).

         III. ...


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