United States District Court, District of Columbia
P. Mehta United States District Judge
William Parker filed this lawsuit against his former
employer, Defendant National Railroad Passenger Corporation
("Amtrak"), alleging discriminatory treatment in
violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981, and the District of
Columbia Human Rights Act, D.C. Code § 14.01.1 et
seq. Plaintiff-an African-American police officer who
worked in the Amtrak Police Canine Unit- asserts that
Defendant terminated his employment on the basis of his race.
Defendant disagrees and instead asserts that it had a
legitimate non-discriminatory reason to terminate him-namely,
that Plaintiff had engaged in unethical behavior and then
lied to Amtrak investigators about his conduct.
matter is before the court on Defendant's Motion for
Summary Judgment. Having reviewed the pleadings and evidence,
the court finds that no reasonable juror could conclude that
Defendant discriminated against Plaintiff when it terminated
his employment. Accordingly, the court grants Defendant's
Motion for Summary Judgment.
2007, Amtrak hired Plaintiff to serve as a Captain in the
Amtrak Police Department's (APD) Canine Unit. Def's
Stmt, of Facts in Supp. of Mot. for Summ. J., ECF No. 29-2
[hereinafter Def's Stmt], ¶ 1; Pl's Stmt, of
Facts in Supp. of Opp'n of Def's Mot. for Summ. J.,
ECF No. 34-2 [hereinafter Pl's Stmt.], at 12, ¶ 1.
After serving in this role for approximately four years,
Plaintiff was promoted to Inspector-a management-level
position-where he was responsible for overseeing,
supervising, and training other Canine Unit officers.
Def's Stmt. ¶¶2-3; Pl's Stmt, at 12, ¶
September 2011, both the APD's Office of Internal Affairs
("Internal Affairs") and the Amtrak Office of the
Inspector General ("OIG") received anonymous
complaints concerning Plaintiff. Def's Stmt. ¶¶
12, 22. Internal Affairs and OIG are distinct offices within
Amtrak and have separate investigative authority.
Id. ¶ 23. The complaints alleged, among other
things, that Plaintiff co-owned a property in Maryland (the
"Property") with a subordinate officer-Sarah
Bryant-with whom he was romantically involved and that, as a
result of their relationship, he was impermissibly steering
overtime funds to Bryant. i#.¶¶ 16, 22. Internal
Affairs and OIG launched separate investigations into those
allegations, which included interviewing witnesses and
gathering evidence from the public record. Id.
Internal Affairs' Investigation
months later, in March 2012, Internal Affairs concluded its
inquiry and issued its Report of Investigation
("Internal Affairs Report"). Internal Affairs found
that the allegations against Plaintiff were "not
sustained" by the record and closed the investigation
without taking any significant adverse employment action.
Id.¶ 19; Pl's Stmt, at 15, ¶ 19.
Internal Affairs did send Plaintiff a Letter of Counseling
advising him to avoid acting in ways that might lead to
future potential appearances of impropriety. Def's Stmt.
¶¶20-21; Pl.'s Stmt. at 15-16, ¶20;
Pl's Opp'n, Ex. 6, Investigative Report from Adrienne
R. Rish to Lisa Shahade and William Hermann, ECF No. 29-6
[hereinafter OIG Report], at 3.
everyone within Internal Affairs, however, agreed with the
outcome of Plaintiff s investigation. Officer Linda Dixon,
the head of Internal Affairs at the time and the lead
investigator's immediate supervisor, dissented from the
decision not to hold Plaintiff accountable and refused to
sign the final Internal Affairs Report. Pl's Stmt, at 7,
¶ 26. Internal Affairs nonetheless issued its Report
and, on April 19, 2012, Officer Dixon sent a memo to the
then-APD Chief of Police, expressing her disagreement with
the Internal Affairs Report's conclusions. Def 's
Stmt. ¶ 28; OIG Report at 3. According to Plaintiff,
Dixon then circumvented the APD chain of command and raised
her dissatisfaction about the Internal Affairs Report
directly with OIG. Pl's Stmt, at 7, ¶ 26-30. The
record does not reveal Dixon's specific objections to
Internal Affairs' findings.
OIG s parallel investigation into Plaintiff s conduct
continued, concluding six months later and reaching a far
different conclusion than Internal Affairs. On October 12,
2012, OIG issued an Investigative Report ("the OIG
Report"), finding that the allegations against Plaintiff
were in fact sustained by the evidence. The OIG Report found
that Plaintiff and his subordinate, Officer Bryant, jointly
owned the Property and that Plaintiff had given preferential
treatment in giving assignments to Bryant and others whom he
had hired, which resulted in greater overtime pay for those
employees. OIG Report at 5, 12-14. The OIG Report also
concluded that Plaintiff (1) had intentionally misled both
OIG and Internal Affairs investigators, and (2) had submitted
false tax documents in connection with his purchase of the
Property in potential violation of Maryland law. Id.
submitted its report to the APD's Acting Chief of Police
at the time, Lisa Shahade. After reviewing the report,
Shahade terminated Plaintiff from his position. Def's
Stmt. ¶¶ 53-54; Id., Ex. J, Declaration of
Lisa Shahade, ECF No. 29-14 [hereinafter Shahade Decl.],
Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment
September 30, 2014, Plaintiff filed suit in this court,
alleging: (1) discrimination in violation of the District of
Columbia Human Rights Act, D.C. Code § 14.01.1 et
seq. (Count 1); and, (2) discrimination in violation of
42 U.S.C. § 1981 (Count 2). See generally
October 23, 2015, following discovery, Defendant filed a
Motion for Summary Judgment, in which it argued that it had
terminated Plaintiff for a legitimate non-discriminatory
reason-specifically, his acts of misconduct and deceit, as
detailed in the OIG Report. See generally Def's
Mem. in Supp. of Mot. for Summ. Judg, ECF No. 29 [hereinafter
Def's Mot.]. On December 24, 2015, Plaintiff filed his
Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment,
claiming that Defendant's proffered non-discriminatory
reason for terminating him was a pretext for discrimination.
See generally Pl's Opp'n to Def's Mot.
for Summ. J., ECF No. 34 [hereinafter Pl's Opp'n]. On
January 27, 2016, Defendant filed a Reply to Plaintiff s
Opposition. See Def.'s Reply in Supp. of Mot. for Summ.
J., ECF No. 41 [hereinafter Def.'s Reply].
addition to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment, a
host of procedural motions filed by Plaintiff are before the
court. On January 8, 2016, Plaintiff filed a "Motion to
Defer Ruling on Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment
Pending Additional Discovery, " in which he requested
leave to take additional discovery-namely, the depositions of
the current APD Chief of Police, Polly Hanson, and a
third-party investigator for the Laurel Police Department,
John Superson. See generally Pl's Mem. in Supp.
of Mot. to Defer Summ. J. for Add'l Discovery, ECF No.
37-1 [hereinafter Pl's Mot. to Defer Summ. J.]. Defendant
opposed Plaintiff s request to re-open the record. See
generally Def.'s Opp'n to Pl's Mot. to Defer
Summ. J., ECF No. 39. The court will address the claimed
relevance of the proposed additional discovery in the
Discussion section below.
February 8, 2016, Plaintiff filed a "Motion for Leave to
File a Surreply in Opposition to Defendant's Motion for
Summary Judgment, " seeking to supplement the record
with evidence regarding Defendant's alleged failure to
produce records relating to the OIG investigation during
discovery. See generally Pl's Mem. in Supp. of
Mot. to File Surreply, ECF No. 47-1 [hereinafter Pl's
Mot. for Surreply]. Defendant opposed that motion, as well.
See generally Def.'s Opp'n to Pl's Mot.
for Surreply, ECF No. 50.
August 3, 2016, Plaintiff filed a third motion entitled
"Motion to Supplement the Record on Summary Judgment,
" which sought to file-as an additional exhibit to
Plaintiff's Opposition-an investigation report prepared
by John Superson. See generally Pl's Mem. in
Supp. of Mot. to Suppl. the Record on Summ. J., ECF No. 54-1
[hereinafter Pl's Mot. to Suppl.]. Defendant opposed that
motion, too. See generally, Def.'s Opp'n to
Pl's Mot. to Suppl., ECF No. 57.
on August 31, 2016, Plaintiff filed a "Motion for Leave
to File Certificate of Authenticity of Records, " which
concerned the proposed Superson report. See
generally Pl's Mot. to Incl. Cert, of Records, ECF
No. 60. Having already opposed the motion to add that exhibit
to the record, Defendant also opposed the filing of the
certificate of authenticity. ...