United States District Court, District of Columbia
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
RANDOLPH D. MOSS United States District Judge
action against the United States Agency for International
Development (“USAID”) and the United States
brought by a former USAID employee, Musarrat Roohi Husain.
During her tenure at USAID, Husain filed six administrative
complaints against the agency alleging unlawful
discrimination, Dkt. 14 at 20-30 (Am. Compl. ¶¶
46-80), and two related claims against the United States
under the Federal Torts Claims Act (“FTCA”),
id. at 30-34 (¶¶ 81-99). These
administrative complaints alleged various forms of workplace
discrimination and other mistreatment under a host of federal
and local statutes. Husain subsequently filed this action,
asserting twenty-four claims against USAID and the United
States, including, among other things, claims for violations
of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S.
Constitution, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
(“Title VII”), the Rehabilitation Act, the
District of Columbia Whistleblower Protection Act
(“DCWPA”), the federal Whistleblower Protection
Act (“WPA”), and the FTCA. See Id. at
37-49 (¶¶ 106-37). USAID and the United States have
now moved to dismiss many-but not all-of those claims, Dkt.
23, and Husain has cross-moved for summary judgment, Dkt. 28.
For the reasons discussed below, the defendants’
partial motion to dismiss is GRANTED, and Husain’s
cross-motion for summary judgment is DENIED.
as here, a plaintiff is proceeding pro se, her
complaint must “be liberally construed” and held
to “less stringent standards than formal pleadings
drafted by lawyers.” Estelle v. Gamble, 429
U.S. 97, 106 (1976). To this end, courts will often consider
all of a pro se plaintiff’s filings-and not
merely her complaint-in evaluating a motion to dismiss.
See Brown v. Whole Foods Mkt. Grp., Inc., 789 F.3d
146, 152 (D.C. Cir. 2015). There are limits to this
forbearance, however, and even when a plaintiff is proceeding
pro se, a district court is not “obliged to
sift through hundreds of pages . . . to make [its] own
analysis and determination of what may[ ] or may not”
support the plaintiff’s claims. Twist v.
Meese, 854 F.2d 1421, 1425 (D.C. Cir. 1988). This is
such a case. Husain has filed more than 500 pages of
attachments. See Dkts. 2-8. The complaint often
refers generally to “the exhibits, ” see,
e.g., Dkt. 14 at 4, 24, 29 (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 9,
59, 78), without specifying where in the lengthy series of
exhibits the supporting documents can be found. As a result,
where the Court can reasonably discern the nature of
Husain’s claims, the Court will address the legal
sufficiency of those claims. But, where it can only speculate
as to what Husain intends to allege, the Court will not, in
effect, “assume the role of advocate” and fill in
the gaps left in Husain’s complaint. Miller v.
Kemp, No. 11-cv-0530, 2012 WL 1592537, at *3 (N.D. Okla.
May 4, 2012).
substance of Husain’s claims in this action is perhaps
discerned best by looking to the eight administrative
complaints that she unsuccessfully pursued before USAID,
which form the gravamen of her current claims. They are as
Husain filed an Equal Employment Opportunity
(“EEO”) complaint with USAID’s Office of
Civil Rights and Diversity on May 16, 2013, alleging that the
agency had violated the Health Insurance Portability and
Accountability Act (“HIPAA”) and the Privacy Act.
Dkt. 14 at 21 (Am. Compl. ¶ 48). This complaint asserted
that an agency director unlawfully shared “confidential
medical information” with other USAID employees.
Id. (¶ 47); see also Dkt. 3 at 63-65.
Five days after filing this complaint, Husain was suspended
for three days. Dkt. 14 at 21 (Am. Compl. ¶ 49).
Husain filed a “Reasonable Accommodation” request
on May 14, 2014, to compel USAID to accommodate her medical
conditions, particularly her alleged brain surgery, along
with her extreme stress and her need to take certain
medication. Id. at 5-6 (¶¶ 11-16); see
also Dkt. 5 at 60-67. The agency allegedly failed to
respond. Dkt. 14 at 22 (Am. Compl. ¶ 52). In an EEO
complaint filed June 7, 2014, Husain maintained that the
agency had failed to move her out of a “very unsafe,
threatening, hostile work environment.” Id.
USAID issued Husain a “Notice of Proposed
Termination” on July 8, 2014, for “Failure to
Carry out Assignments, ” “Failure to Maintain a
Regular Work Schedule, ” and
“Insubordination.” Id. at 23 (¶
55); see also Dkt. 4 at 48. After receiving this
“Notice of Proposed Termination” and an
administrative suspension, Husain filed her third EEO
complaint on July 10, 2014, asserting that USAID issued the
termination letter in retaliation for her prior protected EEO
activity. Dkt. 14 at 24 (Am. Compl. ¶ 59).
Husain sent an email on August 12, 2014, challenging her
termination on the ground that it was “based on false
accusations, pretexts and retaliation because of her prior
EEO activity, ” id. at 23 (¶ 56), but
USAID never responded, id. (¶ 57). She then
filed her fourth EEO complaint on August 14, 2014, arguing
that the USAID retaliated against her for her earlier EEO
filings. Id. at 24 (¶ 60). USAID issued its
final decision to terminate Husain on September 4, 2014, and
Husain received a letter describing this termination a week
later. Id. (¶¶ 61-62). Husain alleges in
this action that she was denied due process because USAID did
not conduct an investigation into her termination, and
because she was denied a fair opportunity to defend herself
before the termination decision was made. Id. at 25
(¶¶ 63-64). USAID, however, withdrew Husain’s
termination on October 17, 2014. See Dkt. 5 at 23.
It then reissued a notice of final removal in a letter dated
November 25, 2014, with an effective date of January 11,
2015. Dkt. 14 at 28 (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 73-74);
see also Dkt. 23 at 4 (Defs.’ Mem. at 2).
After the USAID terminated her, Husain filed a fifth EEO
complaint on or around February 3, 2015, see Dkt. 14
at 26 (Am. Compl. ¶ 67), claiming that the USAID
discriminated and retaliated against her on the basis of her
“prior EEO activities, race, color, national origin,
and religion” when it failed to provide her with
personnel documents necessary for her application for
unemployment benefits, id. at 25-26 (¶¶
65-71). The crux of this claim was that USAID’s refusal
to provide her with her personnel file was intended to punish
her for past EEO activity. Id. at 27 (¶ 69).
Husain’s sixth and final EEO complaint, filed on
February 4 or 5, 2015, claimed that the USAID wrongfully
reissued its termination on November 25, 2014, in a
discriminatory fashion, violating her “fundamental
constitutional right to due process.” Id. at
28-29 (¶¶ 75, 77).
Husain filed her first FTCA claim with the USAID’s
Office of General Counsel on June 10, 2014, alleging that her
termination was the result of the USAID’s
“negligence, wrongful act[s], omissions, violation[s]
of mandatory laws, unlawful retaliation, discrimination and
harassment.” Id. at 30-31 (¶ 84); see
also Dkt. 23 at 18-19 (Defs.’ Mot. to Dismiss Ex.
Husain filed her second FTCA claim with USAID’s Office
of General Counsel on September 30, 2014. Dkt. 14 at 33
(¶ 94). This claim alleged widespread negligence by the
USAID against Husain, specifically in its failure to
undertake any investigation into her prior EEO complaints.
Id. at 34 (¶¶ 97-98).
did not receive administrative relief with respect to these
complaints, and she subsequently brought suit before this
Court. Her amended complaint includes twenty-four counts.
See Dkt. 14. The USAID ...