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Coulibaly v. Kerry

United States District Court, District of Columbia

September 30, 2016

TIEMOKO COULIBALY, Plaintiff,
v.
JOHN KERRY, U.S. Secretary of State, et al., Defendants. Re Document Nos. 30, 36, 39

         MEMORANDUM OPINION GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS OR, IN THE ALTERNATIVE, FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT; DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE FOURTH AMENDED COMPLAINT; GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO ADD NEWLY ACQUIRED EVIDENCE

          RUDOLPH CONTRERAS United States District Judge.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff Dr. Tiemoko Coulibaly, proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, brings this action against the United States, the Secretary of State, and twelve other individuals who are current or former employees of the U.S. Department of State, the Merit Systems Protection Board ("MSPB"), or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). In a twenty-two count complaint, Dr. Coulibaly alleges discrimination, retaliation, First Amendment violations, common law tort contract violations, and violations of various federal and District of Columbia statutes. Currently pending before the Court are (1) Defendants' pre-discovery motion to dismiss or, in the alternative, for summary judgment; (2) Dr. Coulibaly's motion for leave to file a fourth amended complaint; and (3) Dr. Coulibaly's motion to add newly acquired evidence.

         For reasons discussed in this opinion, the Court dismisses or grants summary judgment to Defendants on all of Dr. Coulibaly's claims asserted in his third amended complaint, with the exception of his First Amendment claim based on 2007 events (asserted in Count 5 of his complaint), as asserted against individual defendants; his Title VII hostile work environment claim (Count 6); his wrongful discharge claim (Count 13); and his claim of retaliation based on 2009 events (asserted in Count 16). As explained below, the individual defendants must be served so that they may respond to Count 5, and genuine disputes of material fact exist on the other three counts, which the parties should explore during discovery. The Court will accordingly deny Defendants' motion with respect to these four counts.

         Dr. Coulibaly's proposed fourth amended complaint reasserts many claims from his third amended complaint (including many that, as discussed below, must be dismissed). And many of Dr. Coulibaly's proposed additional claims are factually unrelated and legally distinct from the ones in his third amended complaint, such that allowing consideration of them here would unnecessarily delay this case's progress. The Court will therefore deny Dr. Coulibaly's motion for leave to file a fourth amended complaint. Lastly, because Defendants consent to Dr. Coulibaly's motion to add newly acquired evidence, the Court will grant that motion.

         II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND[1]

         A. Employment as an FSI Contractor (1999-2011)

         1. Employment Status

         Dr. Coulibaly is an African American from the Ivory Coast. Pl.'s Third Am. Compl. ("Compl.") ¶ 19, ECF No. 28. In 1999, Dr. Coulibaly joined the Department of State's Foreign Service Institute ("FSI") as a French instructor. Id. FSI originally hired him as a contractor under a series of Blanket Purchase Agreements ("BPAs"). See Id. ¶ 119; Defs.' Statement of Material Facts as to Which There Is No Genuine Dispute ("Defs.' Facts") ¶¶ 1-3, ECF No. 30. During this time, to stay employed as an FSI contractor each year, Dr. Coulibaly had to ensure that FSI would renew his contract. See Compl. ¶¶ 74-75. When he started working at FSI, Dr. Coulibaly reports that Dr. Jane Kamide was the head of the French section, and that Solomon Atayi served as her deputy. Id. ¶ 70.

         2. Discussions About Political Statements

         Later during Dr. Coulibaly's time as an FSI contractor, Solomon Atayi served as head of the French section and as Dr. Coulibaly's supervisor. Compl. ¶¶ 21, 54, 65. According to Dr. Coulibaly's complaint, Mr. Atayi is an African American from Togo. Id. ¶¶ 21, 55. Dr. Coulibaly asserts that, after Mr. Atayi learned that Dr. Coulibaly had been giving statements to the media about political events occurring in the Ivory Coast, Mr. Atayi told Dr. Coulibaly that he had "no right to give interviews to radio, TV, [or] newspapers on his country of origin" because Dr. Coulibaly was an employee of the Department of State. Id. ¶¶ 65-66. Dr. Coulibaly also asserts that Mr. Atayi further told Dr. Coulibaly that, even though Dr. Coulibaly was in line to become a "direct-hire" FSI employee, Mr. Atayi believed that hiring Dr. Coulibaly was "not a good idea" because of Dr. Coulibaly's "political articles against the Ivorian government." Id. ¶ 54. Along those lines, Mr. Atayi allegedly stated that appointing Dr. Coulibaly as an employee "could create political problems" between the Department of State and the Ivory Coast. Id.

         Dr. Coulibaly further asserts that Mr. Atayi's supervisor, "Micha, " who Dr. Coulibaly reports is white, also took Mr. Atayi's views. See Id. ¶ 57. In a conversation with Dr. Coulibaly, Micha allegedly told Dr. Coulibaly that "it [was] not a good idea to hire him as [an] employee" because Dr. Coulibaly "was a political asylee" in the United States and because "his writing could also create some political problems." Id. Dr. Coulibaly states that, in support of her statement, Micha alluded to a past incident in which "an individual working for [the] State Department was also [a] political [a]sylee" and in which "his speech against the [g]overnment of his country created some political tensions" between the United States and that individual's country of origin. Id.

         Dr. Coulibaly contends that he responded to Mr. Atayi's directives about Dr. Coulibaly's political statements by explaining that, because of his contractor status, Dr. Coulibaly "was free to give interviews after his work at FSI. . . because there was no rule or policy preventing him [from] do[ing] that." Id. ¶ 66. He further explained that he "never mentioned his work at [the] State Department in any of his interviews or article[s]." Id. ¶ 67. In response to Micha's comments, Dr. Coulibaly states that he noted how "he ha[d] been working since 1999 for [the] State Department as [a] contractor" and how his statements outside of work had "never created any political tension" between the United States and the Ivory Coast. Id. ¶ 58. Dr. Coulibaly also states that Mr. Atayi later "admitted that [Dr. Coulibaly] was right" about his ability to make political statements if he did not mention his work at the Department of State. Id. ¶ 67.

         3. Efforts to Become an FSI Employee

         Concurrently with Dr. Coulibaly's discussions with Mr. Atayi and Micha, Dr. Coulibaly alleges that FSI was preparing to hire him as an employee-but that Mr. Atayi ruined Dr. Coulibaly's chances. See Compl. ¶¶ 54-67, 79-80. Dr. Coulibaly alleges that, in 2007, FSI's "hiring of teachers was based on seniority." Id. ¶ 50 (emphasis omitted). For that reason, Dr. Coulibaly contends that "it was his turn to become [a] direct-hire [employee]" in 2007. Id. In support, Dr. Coulibaly asserts that FSI's Associate Dean James North asked Dr. Coulibaly if he would accept a direct-hire position, and that Dr. Coulibaly responded in the affirmative. Id. ¶¶ 50-51. Dr. Coulibaly therefore "expecte[d] his appointment by Associate Dean James North sometime[] soon after this conversation." Id. ¶ 51.

         Indeed, the record indicates that, on June 15, 2007, the FSI human resources department created the position description for a French language teaching position, which at some point in 2007 or thereafter had Dr. Coulibaly's name on it. See Id. ¶¶ 41-43; Duckett Decl. ¶¶ 1-2, Defs.' Facts Ex. Z, ECF No. 30-26; Position Description, Defs.' Facts Ex. F, ECF No. 30-6 (reproducing the position description, which was signed by both Associate Dean North and an FSI human resources officer on June 15, 2007). But Dr. Coulibaly did not become an FSI employee until 2011. See Compl. ¶¶ 43, 80; Defs.' Facts ¶ 4. To justify the gap in time, an FSI human resources officer explains that the position description "was classified" on June 15, 2007-meaning that it was a "standard" position description to which other individuals besides Dr. Coulibaly could also have been assigned. See Compl. ¶¶ 41, 44; Duckett Decl. ¶ 2. Thus, she states, "[u]pon [Dr.] Coulibaly's appointment in 2011, a copy of the Position Description was made and [Dr.] Coulibaly's name was written into Box 17, " which FSI originally left blank. Duckett Deck ¶¶ 3, 5; see Position Description (showing Dr. Coulibaly's name in Box 17).

         Dr. Coulibaly disputes FSI's explanation. See Compl. ¶¶ 42-54, 79-80. He points to what he views to be several flaws in the explanation: (1) both Associate Dean North and the FSI human resources officer had already signed the position description on June 15, 2007, id. ¶ 43; (2) other FSI employees did not have the date June 15, 2007 in their hiring documents and had never heard of the practice of copying a position description, id.; and (3) Dr. Coulibaly never received the June 15, 2007 position description when Dr. Coulibaly became an FSI employee in 2011, which he views as evidence of "active concealment and intentional non-disclosure, " id. ¶¶47, 51.

         Rejecting FSFs explanation, Dr. Coulibaly posits a different explanation for the gap in time between the 2007 date of the position description and his 2011 appointment as an FSI employee. See Id. ¶¶ 54-67, 79-80. Dr. Coulibaly claims that his supervisor, Mr. Atayi, used Dr. Coulibaly's political statements as a pretext to hire another employee in Dr. Coulibaly's stead. See Id. ¶¶ 55, 62-68, 79-80; see supra Part II.A.2 (discussing Dr. Coulibaly's conversations with Mr. Atayi about political statements that Dr. Coulibaly made in his private capacity). According to Dr. Coulibaly, Mr. Atayi "wanted to hire as soon as possible another teacher, " Frederic Hegbe, who shared Mr. Atayi's country of origin (Togo). Compl. ¶ 55. Because Mr. Hegbe purportedly possessed less seniority, less experience, and less education than Dr. Coulibaly, Mr. Atayi had to "obstruct[] . . . [Dr. Coulibaly's] appointment by using pretext[ual reasons]." Id. Dr. Coulibaly contends that, to that end, Mr. Atayi "avoided presenting" Dr. Coulibaly with the June 15, 2007 position description because he knew that Dr. Coulibaly was expecting the appointment and "would have accepted the hiring." Id. ¶ 64.

         Dr. Coulibaly buttresses his claims of wrongdoing on Mr. Atayi's part by detailing ways in which Mr. Atayi allegedly created a "hostile work environment, " perhaps because he was envious of Dr. Coulibaly's education and communications with journalists. See Id. ¶¶ 54, 65, 68, 73-75. According to Dr. Coulibaly, Mr. Atayi would "constantly call [Dr. Coulibaly] to order him to go buy [Mr. Atayi's] monthly parking permit. . ., just to show he was the boss." Id. ¶ 74. Dr. Coulibaly further alleges that Mr. Atayi made him beg for his contract renewal each year. Id. ¶¶ 74-75. And Mr. Atayi had purportedly told him that "if [he] want[ed] to be [a] direct hire, [he] just need[ed] to have an affair with Dr. Jane Kamide, " the head of FSFs French section before Mr. Atayi. Id. ¶ 73.

         4. Alleged Workplace Violence

         Dr. Coulibaly alleges that two years later, on March 26, 2009, he was "a victim of workplace violence." Notice of Right to File a Discrimination Complaint ¶ 3, Defs.' Facts Ex. JJ, ECF No. 30-36 (describing Dr. Coulibaly's allegation); see also Compl. ¶ 158; Notice of Dismissed Allegations, Defs.' Facts Ex. II, at 6, ECF No. 30-35.[2] He claims that, after he informed his then-supervisors about the incident, "[t]hey ignored his claim and did nothing." Notice of Right to File a Discrimination Complaint ¶ 3. Dr. Coulibaly allegedly then "went to Diplomatic Security" to report the incident, but also received no redress from that source: another FSI manager, Debra Blake, purportedly told him that "this investigation must be closed." Id. (internal quotation mark omitted).

         Although Ms. Blake allegedly assured Dr. Coulibaly that "there [would] be no retaliation" against him, Dr. Coulibaly claims that he felt "hostility" against him on the part of FSI management. Id. Indeed, Dr. Coulibaly claims that Ms. Blake told him that "he was lucky he didn't lose his job after contacting Diplomatic Security, " "warned him to not file [any more] complaint[s] against [FSI] management, " and said that, if he did, "he would lose his job." Compl. ¶ 161. Accordingly, Dr. Coulibaly claims that "was not aware of his rights and was in fear of [losing] his job, " so he did not timely bring the workplace violence incident-which he later alleged to be discriminatory-to the attention of the Department of State's Office of Civil Rights. Id.; see Notice of Dismissed Allegations, at 6-7, ECF No. 30-35 (dismissing Dr. Coulibaly's 2009 allegations, which he later asserted before the Office of Civil Rights, because he did not bring them "within 45 calendar days from the date of the matter alleged to be discriminatory").

         5. Further Efforts to Become an FSI Employee

         Dr. Coulibaly believes that, because he contacted Diplomatic Security, FSI declined to hire him as an employee in June 2009, even though he was "clearly the best candidate." Notice of Right to File a Discrimination Complaint ¶ 3; see also Compl. ¶ 158. He further contends that, at the end of the 2009 hiring process, FSI was considering "two candidates for two position[s]." Compl. ¶ 158. He reports that, even though Dr. Coulibaly was one of the candidates, FSI hired only the other candidate, who had "less education and less training"; FSI "decided to close the other position" and declined to hire Dr. Coulibaly. Id. As with the workplace violence incident, Dr. Coulibaly later claimed that FSFs failure to hire him was discriminatory, but he claims that he did not timely bring the failure to hire to the attention of the Office of Civil Rights because he "was in fear of [losing] his job." Compl. ¶ 161; see Notice of Dismissed Allegations, at 6-7, ECF No. 30-35 (dismissing both of Dr. Coulibaly's allegations arising from 2009 events).

         B. Employment as an FSI Employee (2011-2012)

         I. Employment Status

         On June 19, 2011, FSI at last hired Dr. Coulibaly as an employee. See Compl. ¶¶ 46, 121; Notification of Personnel Action, Defs.' Facts Ex. C, ECF No. 30-3 (showing that Dr. Coulibaly began working as a Department of State employee on June 19, 2011). Dr. Coulibaly's appointment as an employee was for a term of two years, which included a one-year trial period. See Notification of Personnel Action (noting Dr. Coulibaly's temporary appointment and one-year trial period); Statement of Understanding, Defs.' Facts Ex. E, ECF No. 30-5 (noting Dr. Coulibaly's two-year appointment). Upon his hire, Dr. Coulibaly signed a statement of understanding, thereby accepting that he could "be terminated at any time depending on the needs of the [Department of State]." See Statement of Understanding.

         As a Language and Culture Instructor (or, officially, a "Training Instructor"), Dr. Coulibaly's major duties included "teaching speaking, reading, listening comprehension and writing . . . skills to a full range of students" and "providing] major substantive input for the planning, design, development and evaluation of the course content." Position Description, Defs.' Facts Ex. F, at 3-4, ECF No. 30-6.[3] During Dr. Coulibaly's employment at FSI, as before, James North served as FSI's Associate Dean. See North Aff ¶¶ Q1, Q3, Defs.' Facts Ex. G, ECF No. 30-7. When Dr. Coulibaly first began working as an employee, Language Training Supervisor (LTS) Laura Fyfe, who is white and from the United States, served as Dr. Coulibaly's first-line supervisor. See Fyfe Aff. ¶¶ Q1, Q3-Q6, Q46, Defs.' Facts Ex. H, ECF No. 30-8. Starting in January 2012, LTS Phillipe Casteuble, who is white and from France, served as Dr. Coulibaly's new first-line supervisor. See Casteuble Aff. ¶¶ Q1, Q3-Q6, Defs.' Facts Ex. J, ECF No. 30-10.

         2. Alleged Preferential Treatment Toward Colleague

         The same day that Dr. Coulibaly began working as an FSI employee, he alleges that FSI also hired Aitmouloud Ahmed Hmimiche, who Dr. Coulibaly asserts was FSI Division Director Debra Blake's "boyfriend." Compl. ¶ 121.[4] Dr. Coulibaly alleges that he complained about favoritism that FSI showed toward Mr. Hmimiche, but that his action resulted in Director Blake becoming "mad" and "very agitated." Id. Dr. Coulibaly contends that Director Blake's emotional response was a motive for later retaliation and adverse actions taken against Dr. Coulibaly. See id.

         Other employees in FSI's French section shared Dr. Coulibaly's views about Director Blake and Mr. Hmimiche. For instance, another French teacher, Paulette De Launay-Fogg, exactly corroborated Dr. Coulibaly's views. See EEO Investigation Report at 34-35, ECF No. 36-3 (summarizing the affidavit that Ms. De Launay-Fogg completed for the EEO investigation);[5] see also De Launay-Fogg Aff, EEO Investigation Report at 1374-76, Coulibaly v. Kerry, No. 14-0712 (D.D.C. Mar. 4, 2016), ECF No. 26-12 (reproducing Ms. De Launay-Fogg's affidavit).[6] She states that Dr. Coulibaly and Mr. Hmimiche became employees on the same day, but that they "were treated very differently." De Launay-Fogg Aff ¶ Q6, EEO Investigation Report at 1375. Mr. Himiche's preferential treatment, she asserted, arose from the fact that he and Director Blake were a "couple, " a fact that Ms. De Launay-Fogg contends was "common knowledge" at FSI. Id. She asserts that she saw Director Blake "caressing" Mr. Hmimiche's neck, that Mr. Hmimiche was "always running into [Director Blake's] office, " and that "[m]any times, they were seen . . . leaving the school together." Id.

         Likewise, learning consultant Fatima Smith stated that "it was evident that [Director] Blake had developed an intimate and seemingly romantic relationship with Mr. Hmimiche" and that Mr. Hmimiche "clear[ly] received preferential treatment from [Director] Blake and [LTS] Fyfe." Smith Aff. ¶ Q6, EEO Investigation Report at 1365, Coulibaly v. Kerry, No. 14-0712 (D.D.C. Mar. 4, 2016), ECF No. 26-12. Ms. Smith emphasized how Mr. Hmimiche's qualifications were inferior to Dr. Coulibaly's: "Whereas Dr[.] Coulibaly is highly qualified with a Ph[.D] and ... is a seasoned French language teacher with many many years of experience, Mr. Hmimiche does not have the education or the teaching experience comparable to Dr[.] Coulibaly's." Id. Yet, Ms. Smith observed, "Mr. Hmimiche's teaching approach was never questioned by either [LTS] Fyfe or [Director] Blake, " and Mr. Hmimiche later received tenure as an FSI instructor. Id.

         Evidence indicates that, at one point, Dr. Coulibaly complained to LTS Fyfe about a change in his teaching schedule and accused FSI management of changing the schedule to accommodate Mr. Hmimiche. See Lauterbach Aff. ¶ Q6, EEO Investigation Report at 1360, Coulibaly v. Kerry, No. 14-0712 (D.D.C. Mar. 4, 2016), ECF No. 26-12 (discussing an email LTS Fyfe sent in response to the complaint). And Dr. Coulibaly's former colleague, language instructor Marie-Paule Lauterbach, shared an office space with him and asserts that she saw an email in which LTS Fyfe responded to Dr. Coulibaly's complaint and criticized him by calling him by the pejorative term "bean counter." Id. ¶¶ Q1, Q6, EEO Investigation Report at 1359-60. The email was supposedly "recalled almost immediately after [Dr. Coulibaly] had received it and after he had shown it to [Ms. Lauterbach]." Id.

         3. Conflict with Supervisor Laura Fyfe

         Meanwhile, Dr. Coulibaly and his initial FSI supervisor, LTS Fyfe, began to experience conflict over expectations for Dr. Coulibaly's job responsibilities. LTS Fyfe recounts that, after establishing Dr. Coulibaly's "work commitments" on June 20, 2011, she met with Dr. Coulibaly on July 8, 2011 for a performance discussion. Email from Laura Fyfe (Nov. 7, 2011), EEO Investigation Report at 721, Coulibaly v. Kerry, No. 14-0712 (D.D.C. Mar. 4, 2016), ECF No. 26-7. LTS Fyfe states that, during the discussion, she recommended that Dr. Coulibaly "work on his teaching portfolio by developing a specific skill since he [didn't] have pedagogical training." Id. To that end, LTS Fyfe states that she suggested that Dr. Coulibaly develop a "reading lesson plan." Id. In a later meeting, the record indicates that LTS Fyfe suggested that the lesson plan goal was "based on student feedback that he was teaching without a lesson plan." Email from Ann Keller-Lally (Nov. 9, 2011), EEO Investigation Report at 93, ECF No. 36-3.

         Throughout the rest of 2011, LTS Fyfe and Dr. Coulibaly continued to experience friction, though LTS Fyfe felt that their issues merely arose because "she [was] telling [Dr. Coulibaly] things that he [didn't] want to hear." Id. LTS Fyfe reports that in advance of a planned observation of Dr. Coulibaly's class the following month, she requested class readings from Dr. Coulibaly. Email from Laura Fyfe (Nov. 7, 2011), EEO Investigation Report at 721 (noting LTS Fyfe's message to Dr. Coulibaly on August 12, 2011). According to LTS Fyfe, Dr. Coulibaly responded by stating that he felt that his students were not yet ready to read. See Id. ("He replied that his students were only in week 6, so he was not doing reading with them."). LTS Fyfe later opined that the reading delay was "out of the ordinary" in the French section, where she stated that "teachers begin teaching reading starting in the first week with A level texts varying from advertisements to menus." Id.

         According to LTS Fyfe, she observed Dr. Coulibaly's class, as planned, on August 18, 2011. Id. She followed up with Dr. Coulibaly by email later that day and the next day. Id. at 721-22.[7] In her August 19, 2011 email, LTS Fyfe told Dr. Coulibaly to "prepare a reading lesson" for his class based on "the four P's" method. See Email from Laura Fyfe to Tiemoko Coulibaly (Aug. 19, 2011), EEO Investigation Report at 733, Coulibaly v. Kerry, No. 14-0712 (D.D.C. Mar. 4, 2016), ECF No. 26-7.

         Five days later, on August 24, 2011, Dr. Coulibaly submitted his reading lesson plan to LTS Fyfe.[8] LTS Fyfe later characterized Dr. Coulibaly's lesson plan as "a template for writing a lesson plan-not an actual lesson plan." Email from Laura Fyfe (Nov. 7, 2011), EEO Investigation Report at 722. LTS Fyfe states that she told Dr. Coulibaly during the following week that the plan was "a beginning" and then asked Dr. Coulibaly to make improvements- namely, to include a specific article for reading and to "address some of the specifics of the article and the timing and level of the lesson." See Id. at 721-23 (reproducing an email from August 30, 2011). According to LTS Fyfe, Dr. Coulibaly responded later that day and requested clarification about whether his lesson plan was satisfactory. See Id. at 723 ("I would be grateful if you could tell me if this 'beginning' is appropriate or not for you, if it is good or not, so I could try to improve it."). LTS Fyfe claims that she responded to Dr. Coulibaly's request by giving him "specific questions." See id.

         LTS Fyfe states that she again requested a reading lesson plan more than a month later, on October 3, 2011. Id. Two days later, Dr. Coulibaly responded by forwarding LTS Fyfe the lesson plan that he had previously sent her in August. See Email from Tiemoko Coulibaly to Laura Fyfe (Oct. 5, 2011, 8:55 AM), EEO Investigation Report at 732-33, Coulibaly v. Kerry, No. 14-0712 (D.D.C. Mar. 4, 2016), ECF No. 26-7. LTS Fyfe then clarified that she found the August lesson plan to be unsatisfactory. See Email from Laura Fyfe to Tiemoko Coulibaly (Oct. 5, 2011), EEO Investigation Report at 732, Coulibaly v. Kerry, No. 14-0712 (D.D.C. Mar. 4, 2016), ECF No. 26-7 ("[W]hen I wrote, 'this is a beginning, ' I was suggesting that [the August lesson plan was] not complete and [that] it needed to be revised." (emphasis in original)). In response, Dr. Coulibaly expressed that he was "confused and unclear about what to do exactly" and stated that he "would appreciate" a time to meet with LTS Fyfe for clarification. See Email from Tiemoko Coulibaly to Laura Fyfe (Oct. 5, 2011, 12:36 PM), EEO Investigation Report at 731-32, Coulibaly v. Kerry, No. 14-0712 (D.D.C. Mar. 4, 2016), ECF No. 26-7.

         LTS Fyfe states that she attempted to meet with Dr. Coulibaly on October 12, 2011, but that she "made a mistake about his teaching schedule, " so no meeting occurred. See Email from Laura Fyfe (Nov. 7, 2011), EEO Investigation Report at 724. LTS Fyfe asserts that, instead, she delegated the matter to another FSI employee, Dora Chanesman. See id.; Email from Laura Fyfe to Tiemoko Coulibaly (Nov. 4, 2011), EEO Investigation Report at 731, Coulibaly v. Kerry, No. 14-0712 (D.D.C. Mar. 4, 2016), ECF No. 26-7.

         The next month, on November 4, 2011, LTS Fyfe contacted Dr. Coulibaly again about the reading lesson plan and wrote that "[s]ince [she and Dr. Coulibaly had] not been able to set up a time to go over writing a lesson plan, [she had] asked Dora Chanesman [to] assist [him] with the process." Email from Laura Fyfe to Tiemoko Coulibaly (Nov. 4, 2011, 9:57 AM), EEO Investigation Report at 731. Dr. Coulibaly responded later that day with his interpretation of LTS Fyfe's message: "This suggests in my mind that I have refused or I have rejected to 'set up a time to go over writing a lesson plan.'" Email from Tiemoko Coulibaly to Laura Fyfe (Nov. 4, 2011, 7:11 PM), EEO Investigation Report at 728, Coulibaly v. Kerry, No. 14-0712 (D.D.C. Mar. 4, 2016), ECF No. 26-7. Disputing the idea that he was at fault for their inability to meet, Dr. Coulibaly emphasized that he had "never refused to meet with [LTS Fyfe] and [that he had] never refused to do what [she] requested." Id.

         4. Communications with Second-Line Supervisors

         A few days later, on November 7, 2011, Dr. Coulibaly wrote to Acting Division Director Ann Keller-Lally and expressed that he was "feeling hostility" from LTS Fyfe, that he believed he was "a victim of psychological abuse, retaliation and discrimination, " and that "this is a case of intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress to an employee." Email from Tiemoko Coulibaly to Ann Keller-Lally (Nov. 7, 2011), EEO Investigation Report at 727, Coulibaly v. Kerry, No. 14-0712 (D.D.C. Mar. 4, 2016), ECF No. 26-7. In response, Acting Director Keller-Lally provided Dr. Coulibaly with the procedures to report alleged discrimination, but she also suggested a face-to-face meeting with Dr. Coulibaly and with LTS Fyfe to discuss the conflict. Email from Ann Keller-Lally to Tiemoko Coulibaly (Nov. 7, 2011, 5:01 PM), EEO Investigation Report at 725-26, Coulibaly v. Kerry, No. 14-0712 (D.D.C. Mar. 4, 2016), ECF No. 26-7.

         That meeting occurred the next day, on November 8, 2011. See Email from Ann Keller-Lally (Nov. 9, 2011), EEO Investigation Report at 754-56, ECF No. 36-3 (memorializing the conversation from the meeting in writing). During the meeting, Acting Director Keller-Lally's notes indicate that she met with both LTS Fyfe and Dr. Coulibaly, that Dr. Coulibaly expressed his confusion with respect to LTS Fyfe's instructions, and that LTS Fyfe felt that her instructions were clear. See Id. at 754-55. In particular, Acting Director Keller-Lally's notes indicate that Dr. Coulibaly found LTS Fyfe's "four P's" method confusing, because another colleague had told Dr. Coulibaly that the method "was not particularly applicable with regard to reading lessons." Id. at 754. According to Acting Director Keller-Lally's notes, LTS Fyfe acknowledged "[l]ater in the meeting" that Dr. Coulibaly was "rightly confused." Id. Apart from the "four P's" method, Dr. Coulibaly also reportedly expressed that he felt "hostility" from LTS Fyfe, and that "he was sure whatever he proposed would be rejected." Id. at 754-55. In response, LTS Fyfe reportedly stated that her goal was to help Dr. Coulibaly to "do the best he could" and felt that she had simply "said some things that [Dr. Coulibaly] did not want to hear." Id. at 756. According to Acting Director Kellar-Lally's notes, LTS Fyfe ultimately "offered to drop the reading lesson plan project, " and instead requested that Dr. Coulibaly attend formal trainings. Id. at 755-56.

         The next day, Acting Director Keller-Lally sent her notes documenting the meeting to LTS Fyfe and Dr. Coulibaly. See generally Id. at 754-56. She told LTS Fyfe and Dr. Coulibaly to "[p]lease feel free to respond with any remarks or corrections based on [their] recollection of what we discussed." Id. at 754. The following week, on November 15, 2011, Dr. Coulibaly provided voluminous comments in response to Acting Director Keller-Lally's notes. See Email from Tiemoko Coulibaly (Nov. 15, 2011), EEO Investigation Report at 743-49, ECF No. 36-3. Dr. Coulibaly's response alleged that, during the meeting, LTS Fyfe had accused him of "'discrimination' 'against' her because of her 'background' and because her 'former husband' was 'Ivorian' (like [Dr. Coulibaly])." Id. at 744; see also Id. at 748 (alluding to a point during the meeting in which LTS Fyfe "became very emotional and . . . started crying, " and in which she mentioned the Ivory Coast "and her former husband, an [Ivorian]"). His response also accused LTS Fyfe of "knowingly and intentionally act[ing] ... in bad faith to create false excuses to . . . punish [Dr. Coulibaly], " of "retaliation, " and of "character assassination." Id. at 745-46. Reacting to Dr. Coulibaly's comments, LTS Fyfe asserted that there was "no basis for his [accusations], " though she admitted that she "was brought to tears" and "did ask [Dr. Coulibaly] if he had an ax to grind against [her] because of [her] ex." Email from Laura Fyfe to Debra Blake (Nov. 15, 2011), EEO Investigation Report at 743, ECF No. 36-3.

         The record indicates that, meanwhile, on November 9, 2011, Dr. Coulibaly had requested a change in supervisor. See Blake Aff ¶ Q15, Defs.' Facts Ex. D, ECF No. 30-4 ("On 11/9/11 [Dr. Coulibaly] first made a request for a new [s]upervisor."). FSI management appears to have decided to delay any change of supervisor because only two months remained in the reporting period; and, a change would have left any new supervisor without adequate observation time before year-end performance ratings. See id.; Keller-Lally Aff. ¶ Q15, Defs.' Facts Ex. KK, ECF No. 30-37.

         On November 16, 2011, the day after Dr. Coulibaly and LTS Fyfe responded to Acting Director Keller-Lally's notes, Division Director Debra Blake, having returned to the office, met with Dr. Coulibaly to address his accusations. See Blake Mem. (Nov. 15, 2011), EEO Investigation Report at 773-74, ECF No. 36-4.[9] In her notes documenting this conversation, Director Blake claimed that her purpose in calling the meeting was to determine "precisely what actions" Dr. Coulibaly felt were evidence of LTS Fyfe's "discrimination and hostility." Id. at 773. According to Director Blake, Dr. Coulibaly was initially "reluctant" to articulate specific allegations of discrimination and hostility, but he then cited the fact that LTS Fyfe's "former husband shared the same country of origin" as Dr. Coulibaly, as well as allegations that LTS Fyfe treated Dr. Coulibaly unfairly in the way that she supervised him. See Id. Director Blake shared her notes of the meeting with Dr. Coulibaly the next week. See Email from Debra Blake to Tiemoko Coulibaly (Nov. 22, 2011), EEO Investigation Report at 764-65, ECF No. 36-3.

         The day after Dr. Coulibaly received Director Blake's notes, Dr. Coulibaly responded with lengthy comments that expressed his views on the conversation. See Email from Tiemoko Coulibaly (Nov. 23, 2011), EEO Investigation Report at 764, ECF No. 36-3; Coulibaly Mem. (Nov. 23, 2011), EEO Investigation Report at 766-72, ECF No. 36-4. In his comments, Dr. Coulibaly repeatedly expressed that he believed that Director Blake was "simply trying to protect" LTS Fyfe: he wrote that Director Blake "had already decided to totally support" LTS Fyfe and had become "a zealous lawyer" for LTS Fyfe during the meeting. See Coulibaly Mem. (Nov. 23, 2011), EEO Investigation Report at 766-72.

         That same day, Director Blake met with both Dr. Coulibaly and LTS Fyfe to facilitate their working relationship going forwarded. See Email from Laura Fyfe (Nov. 23, 2011, 3:12 PM), EEO Investigation Report at 761-62, ECF No. 36-3 (memorializing the meeting). At the meeting, LTS Fyfe reports that she told Dr. Coulibaly that "the administration ha[d] ruled" that she would continue as Dr. Coulibaly's supervisor, even though he had requested a change in supervisor. Id. at 762. LTS Fyfe states that she also expressed "her willingness to move forward in the supervisory role" and that she and Dr. Coulibaly "both agreed to work productively with each other." Id. Dr. Coulibaly later emailed LTS Fyfe to clarify the procedure for changing supervisors. See Email from Tiemoko Coulibaly (Nov. 23, 2011, 4:35 PM), EEO Investigation Report at 761, ECF No. 36-4. LTS Fyfe responded by informing Dr. Coulibaly that "[t]he decision was made to keep [her] as [his] supervisor until at least the end of this year (December 31, 2011)" and that she had "not received approval to change [his] supervisor . . . after that point." Email from Laura Fyfe (Nov. 23, 2011, 5:33 PM), EEO Investigation Report at 761, ECF No. 36-3.

         A few weeks later, on December 14, 2011, Director Blake and LTS Fyfe met again with Dr. Coulibaly to address a new point of contention: his alleged failure to submit required weekly syllabi for a period of three weeks.[10] According to Director Blake, Dr. Coulibaly acknowledged that he had not submitted the weekly syllabi, but claimed that he had been too busy. Blake Mem. (Dec. 14, 2011), EEO Investigation Report at 787, ECF No. 36-4. Director Blake further reports that Dr. Coulibaly continued to allege that "he felt discriminated against and felt he was being treated unfairly, " particularly when compared to "one other instructor who entered on duty on the same date." Id. Dr. Coulibaly commented the next day that, at their meeting, he had "clearly insisted on the issue of discrimination" and that he had noted "the different standards between teacher Hmimiche AitMouloud ('Mimiche')" and himself. Email from Tiemoko Coulibaly (Dec. 15, 2011), EEO Investigation Report at 785-86, ECF No. 36-4. Dr. Coulibaly also states that he had questioned whether Mr. Hmimiche had been held to the syllabus requirement. Id.

         5. EEO Complaint

         Around the time that he was communicating with Director Blake, Dr. Coulibaly made contact with the Department of State's Office of Civil Rights and filed an informal Equal Employment Opportunity ("EEO") complaint.[11] Dr. Coulibaly filed a formal EEO complaint on December 20, 2011. See Compl. ¶ 95; Formal Compl. of Discrimination, EEO Investigation Report at 62-63, ECF No. 36-3. The complaint alleged that FSI management had discriminated against Dr. Coulibaly on the basis of race, color, and national origin and had committed "reprisal" against him. See Formal Compl. of Discrimination, EEO Investigation Report at 62-64, ECF No. 36-3. The complaint brought up issues relating both to Dr. Coulibaly's recent conflicts with his supervisors and to Dr. Coulibaly's allegations relating to events in 2009. See Id. at 64; see also supra Part II. A.4-5 (discussing events Dr. Coulibaly alleges occurred in 2009). The Office of Civil Rights filed Dr. Coulibaly's complaint under EEO Case Number DOS-F-025-12. See Letter from Jacqueline Canton to Tiemoko Coulibaly, EEO Investigation Report at 58, ECF No. 36-3.

         6. Performance Appraisal Report

         Later in December 2011, Dr. Coulibaly received a Performance Appraisal Report ("PAR") from LTS Fyfe that noted "several issues" with Dr. Coulibaly's performance.[12]LTS Fyfe noted that Dr. Coulibaly was "continu[ing] to attempt to repair" his performance with respect to those issues. PAR Report by Laura Fyfe, EEO Investigation Report at 790, ECF No. 36-4.

         In response, Dr. Coulibaly sent an email to Director Blake, LTS Fyfe, and others in FSI management, in which he alleged that the PAR was "evidence of retaliation" and that Director Blake and LTS Fyfe could not "separate performance evaluation from discrimination and retaliation against" Dr. Coulibaly. Email from Tiemoko Coulibaly (Dec. 27, 2011), EEO Investigation Report at 788-89, ECF No. 36-4. Dr. Coulibaly's email accused his supervisors of omitting "the important issues of discrimination and retaliation" in the PAR, given that, according to Dr. Coulibaly, "these disputes clearly influenced [their] performance report." Id. at 789.

         Director Blake responded by telling Dr. Coulibaly that he should pursue his discrimination allegations "through the proper channels" and that LTS Fyfe, as his supervisor, "reported on [his] performance as required." Email from Debra Blake to Tiemoko Coulibaly (Dec. 28, 2011), EEO Investigation Report at 795-96, ECF No. 36-4. She also stated that Dr. Coulibaly had "been repeatedly instructed to refrain from this line of accusations" while discussing his work performance. Id. She opined that, therefore, his continued accusations were "tantamount to insubordination." Id. Continuing his disagreement with Director Blake, Dr. Coulibaly responded by stating that "[t]here is no insubordination when a teacher denounces discrimination and retaliation, " and he reiterated that the PAR "was simply discrimination and retaliation." Email from Tiemoko Coulibaly to Debra Blake (Dec. 28, 2011, 4:09 PM), EEO Investigation Report at 795, ECF No. 36-4. In this vein, Dr. Coulibaly alleged that Director Blake and LTS Fyfe viewed Dr. Coulibaly as "their target" and did not require other teachers- such as Mr. Hmimiche-to submit syllabi in order to fulfill job responsibilities. Email from Timoko Coulibaly to Debra Blake (Dec. 28, 2011, 3:55 PM), EEO Investigation Report at 96-97, ECF No. 36-3 (emphasis omitted).

         7. Event for FSFs French Language and Culture Instructors

         The next day, on December 29, 2011, Dr. Coulibaly attended an event for FSFs French Language and Culture instructors. See Casteuble Mem. (Jan. 24, 2012), EEO Investigation Report at 815, ECF No. 36-4; see also Cazeau Aff, EEO Investigation Report at 1339-40, Coulibaly v. Kerry, No. 14-0712 (D.D.C. Mar. 4, 2016), ECF No. 26-12. Evidence in the record shows different views regarding the purpose of the meeting and the nature of Dr. Coulibaly's actions during the meeting.

         Defendants adopt the position taken in a memorandum written by LTS Phillipe Casteuble, who stated that the meeting was a "training workshop provided to all French Language and Culture Instructors" about "specifications for writing the weekly syllabi." Casteuble Mem. (Jan. 24, 2012), EEO Investigation Report at 815; see also Defs.' Facts ¶¶ 17-21 (adopting LTS Casteuble's view). LTS Casteuble's memorandum also accuses Dr. Coulibaly of "inappropriate conduct" and comments that "were off topic" during the meeting: Dr. Coulibaly allegedly "stood up and loudly began to speak about the 'No Fear Act' and discrimination and retaliation against [him] on the part of the French Supervisors, " and he allegedly "continued to stand up and loudly protest" despite LTS Casteuble's request for Dr. Coulibaly to sit down. Casteuble Mem. (Jan. 24, 2012), EEO Investigation Report at 815.

         But Dr. Coulibaly's colleague, Elder Cazeau, took a different view of the meeting. Mr. Cazeau recalls that the meeting was merely a "section meeting that had been organized to discuss lesson plans." Cazeau Aff, EEO Investigation Report at 1339. Mr. Cazeau also recounts that Dr. Coulibaly "was publicly humiliated and silenced by his supervisor who told him that he could not use the meeting as a platform to air his personal issues." Id. at 1339-40. In particular, Mr. Cazeau states that "Dr. Coulibaly started saying that he felt discriminated against because of his lesson plan, " that Dr. Coulibaly's supervisor "cut him off, " and that "Dr. Coulibaly remained silent" after that. Id. at 1440.

         8. Conflict with New Supervisor Philippe Casteuble

         In January 2012, LTS Casteuble replaced LTS Fyfe as Dr. Coulibaly's supervisor. See Email from Tiemoko Coulibaly (Jan. 27, 2012), EEO Investigation Report at 813-14, ECF No. 36-4 (indicating that LTS Casteuble's first day as Dr. Coulibaly's new supervisor was on January 24, 2012); Casteuble Aff. ¶ Q3, Defs.' Facts Ex. J, ECF No. 30-10 (indicating that Dr. Coulibaly started reporting to LTS Casteuble in January 2012). On January 24, 2012, LTS Casteuble met with Dr. Coulibaly with the expressed intention of "talk[ing] about expectations." See Email from Philippe Casteuble to Tiemoko Coulibaly (Jan. 23, 2012), EEO Investigation Report at 814, ECF No. 36-4.[13] But, during the meeting, LTS Casteuble presented Dr. Coulibaly with a memorandum that outlined an "informal counseling session" regarding Dr. Coulibaly's conduct at the December 29, 2011 meeting and that reprimanded him for his conduct at that meeting.[14] LTS Casteuble's memorandum surprised Dr. Coulibaly, who had believed that the January 24 meeting "was only about expectations on teaching." Email from Tiemoko Coulibaly (Jan. 27, 2012), EEO Investigation Report at 813-14. Dr. Coulibaly was further surprised by the fact that a human resources representative was present for the meeting.[15]

         That same day, LTS Casteuble emailed Dr. Coulibaly and thanked him for submitting his weekly syllabus. See Email from Philippe Casteuble to Tiemoko Coulibaly (Jan. 24, 2012), EEO Investigation Report at 829-30, ECF No. 36-4. In his email, LTS Casteuble also asked Dr. Coulibaly a list of questions regarding the syllabus. See Id. (asking, among other things, whether "there is a theme" that Dr. Coulibaly planned to explore, and how an activity would help Dr. Coulibaly's students "reach the professional proficiency level").

         Some time later, LTS Casteuble again brought up the issue of Dr. Coulibaly's weekly syllabus. On February 2, 2012, LTS Casteuble emailed Dr. Coulibaly and said that, after looking at Dr. Coulibaly's weekly syllabus, he needed "to talk about it" with Dr. Coulibaly. Email from Philippe Casteuble to Tiemoko Coulibaly (Feb. 2, 2012), EEO Investigation Report at 820, ECF No. 36-4. LTS Casteuble suggested a meeting early the next morning. See Id. Because Dr. Coulibaly "was very surprised by what happened in [LTS Casteuble's] office at the meeting of January 24, 2012, " Dr. Coulibaly asked to schedule the proposed meeting to later in the day so that he could arrange for a union representative to be present. Email from Tiemoko Coulibaly (Feb. 2, 2012), EEO Investigation Report at 819, ECF No. 36-4. After confirming with his own superiors that it was appropriate for a union representative to attend the meeting, LTS Casteuble proposed a meeting on February 6, 2012 and informed Dr. Coulibaly that a union representative could attend.[16] But the February 6, 2012 meeting ultimately did not occur: even though Dr. Coulibaly emailed LTS Casteuble to confirm the meeting time on February 6, LTS Casteuble claimed that, based on prior communications, he "could not know if the date and time was accepted, by [Dr. Coulibaly] and by the union representative."[17]

         That same day, LTS Casteuble also wrote Dr. Coulibaly a separate email that reminded Dr. Coulibaly about LTS Casteuble's January 24, 2012 questions about Dr. Coulibaly's weekly syllabus. See Email from Philippe Casteuble to Tiemoko Coulibaly (Feb. 6, 2012, 8:29 AM), EEO Investigation Report at 829, ECF No. 36-4 ("This is a friendly reminder that as of today I have not received any response on the 14 questions I asked . . . ."). In response, Dr. Coulibaly asserted that he had responded to LTS Casteuble's questions by requesting a meeting with him, and that LTS Casteuble "never responded" to Dr. Coulibaly's request. See Email from Tiemoko Coulibaly (Feb. 6, 2012, 9:19 AM), EEO Investigation Report at 827-28, ECF No. 36-4 ("[A] meeting would be more appropriate to answer your ' 14 questions.'"). Dr. Coulibaly also sent a separate email to LTS Casteuble, in which he noted that all of his students had passed their recent tests, forwarded complimentary remarks from one of his students, and opined that "[n]othing [was] wrong with [his] syllabus." See Email from Tiemoko Coulibaly (Feb. 6, 2012, 9:34 AM), EEO Investigation Report at 839-41, ECF No. 36-4. In light of his students' success, Dr. Coulibaly characterized the criticisms of his syllabi as harassment. See Id. ("Instead of congratulating me, you are constantly harassing me with [the] Syllabus issue as Debra and Laura Fyfe did [for] the last 6 months.").

         But despite Dr. Coulibaly's communications with LTS Casteuble, Dr. Coulibaly received another counseling memorandum on February 10, 2012, which again criticized Dr. Coulibaly's syllabi. See Casteuble Mem. (Feb. 10, 2012), Defs.' Facts Ex. P, ECF No. 30-16 (reproducing the memorandum). Perhaps because of the counseling memorandum, Dr. Coulibaly provided his answers to LTS Casteuble's January 24, 2012 questions that day. See Email from Tiemoko Coulibaly (Feb. 10, 2012), EEO Investigation Report at 902-04, ECF No. 36-4. Dr. Coulibaly also requested a sample satisfactory syllabus. See Id. at 904 ("I would appreciate if you could provide an example of a perfect syllabus you like so I can follow it line by line."). Although LTS Casteuble expressed privately to Director Blake and LTS Fyfe that he found Dr. Coulibaly's answers unsatisfactory, he later provided Dr. Coulibaly with additional feedback and a sample syllabus to reference.[18]

         9. Absence from Work

         Dr. Coulibaly alleges that the discrimination at work caused him to become ill and that, at the direction of his doctor, he took leave. See Compl. ¶ 175; Letter from Willie Hamlin to Catherine Russell at 2, Pl.'s Resp. Ex., at 146, ECF No. 36-2 ("It is recommended that [Dr.] Coulibaly not return to work prior to March 26, 2012.").[19] FSI human resources documents reflect that, beginning on Monday February 15, 2012 and until Friday March 23, 2012, Dr. Coulibaly took a combination of sick leave, annual leave, and leave without pay for six weeks. See Defs.' Facts. Ex. Q, at 1315, 1317, ECF No. 30-17.

         10. Termination

         On April 2, 2012, FSI terminated Dr. Coulibaly's employment, effective April 6, 2012, because of his "inappropriate interactions with [his] supervisors, and [his] failure to follow established procedures for requesting leave." Letter from Catherine Russell to Tiemoko Coulibaly (Apr. 2, 2012), Pl.'s Resp. Ex. 6, at 25, ECF No. 36-2.

         C. Subsequent Procedural History

         After Dr. Coulibaly's termination, the Department of State's Office of Civil Rights continued to process Dr. Coulibaly's discrimination allegations filed under EEO Case Number DOS-F-025-12. See Defs.' Facts Ex. II, ECF No. 30-35 (reproducing letters from the Office to Dr. Coulibaly about his claims). The Office of Civil Rights allowed Dr. Coulibaly to amend his claims to include allegations of wrongdoing relating to his leave requests and to his termination. See Id. at 8-13. But the Office of Civil Rights dismissed Dr. Coulibaly's discrimination allegations relating to 2009 events as untimely filed. See Id. at 6-7.

         Dr. Coulibaly also brought other claims before the Department of State and other agencies-mostly claims that sought to bring to light additional wrongdoing that Dr. Coulibaly felt occurred in the handling of his discrimination allegations. Thus, for instance, on August 20, 2013-after Dr. Coulibaly's case had apparently escalated to the Merit Systems Protection Board ("MSPB")-the Department of State's Office of Civil Rights dismissed Dr. Coulibaly's separate discrimination claim filed under EEO Case Number DOS-F-119-13. See Defs.' Facts Ex. V, ECF No. 30-22 (reproducing the Office's dismissal letter). That claim had alleged discrimination based on the fact that the Department had provided the MSPB with the position description for Dr. Coulibaly that was dated June 15, 2007. See Id. at 1; see also supra Part II.A.3 (discussing that 2007 position description, and the competing views about its origin and purpose). The Department held that Dr. Coulibaly should have filed this claim with the MSPB itself, and accordingly dismissed it. See Defs.' Facts Ex. V at 1.

         In 2014, Dr. Coulibaly brought additional discrimination allegations against the Department of State, which the Department's Office of Civil Rights filed under EEO Case Number DOS-0207-14. See Defs.' Facts Ex. W ¶¶ 24, 39, ECF No. 30-23 (discussing Dr. Coulibaly's allegations in the EEO Counselor's Report); Defs.' Facts Ex. X, ECF No. 30-24 (discussing the allegations in a letter filed under EEO Case Number DOS-0207-14). This time, Dr. Coulibaly claimed that the Department conspired with the MSPB to dismiss whistleblower claims that he had brought before the MSPB. See Defs.' Facts Ex. W, ¶ 39. The Office of Civil Rights dismissed this claim on June 24, 2014, and held that Dr. Coulibaly should have also lodged this claim with the MSPB itself, instead of the Department. See Defs.' Facts Ex. X (reproducing the dismissal letter).

         Lastly, on October 13, 2015, the Department of State dismissed yet another set of Dr. Coulibaly's discrimination claims, filed under EEO Case Number DOS-0232-15. See Pl.'s Resp. Ex., at 56-60, ECF No. 36-2 (reproducing the dismissal letter).[20] In those claims, Dr. Coulibaly had alleged that the Department had failed to provide him with a reasonable accommodation for his supervisor and had improperly handled the processing of his medical documentation. See Id. at 56, ECF No. 36-2. The Department dismissed the claim because it held that he had not timely brought his claim to an EEO counselor and because his claim failed to "allege present harm to a term, condition, or privilege of employment inflicted on the basis of [a protected class]." Id. at 56-58, ECF No. 36-2.

         Apart from discrimination allegations raised before the Department of State, Dr. Coulibaly also began filing claims under the Federal Tort Claims Act ("FTCA") in 2014. In that year, Dr. Coulibaly filed five FTCA claims against the Department of State, seeking damages in the amounts of $10, 000, 000; $50, 000, 000; $50, 000, 000; $55, 000, 000; and $60, 000, 000. See Defs.' Facts Ex. C, at 5-8, ECF No. 30-25;[21] id. Ex. CC, ECF No. 30-29. He filed three FTCA claims against members of the MSPB, seeking damages in the amounts of $5, 000, 000; $55, 000, 000; and $60, 000, 000. See Id. Ex. C, at 2-3; id. Ex. EE, ECF No. 30-31. And Dr. Coulibaly filed two FTCA claims against the EEOC, seeking damages in the amounts of $25, 000, 000 and $50, 000, 000. Id. Ex. C, at 4; id. Ex. DD, ECF No. 30-30.

         As further background for the case before the Court now, Dr. Coulibaly notes that in March 2013, the Office of the Inspector General at the Department of State (OIG) conducted an investigation of the French section within FSI. Compl. ¶ 82. The OIG determined that FSI had "a significant number of Equal Employment Opportunity . . . and harassment-related complaints." Defs.' Reply Pl.'s Opp'n Defs.' Mot. Dismiss or Summ. J. ("Defs.' Reply") Att. F, at 7, ECF No. 42-6 (reproducing the relevant excerpt of the report). See generally Office of Inspector Gen., U.S. Dep't of State & Broad. Bd. of Governors, Inspection of the Foreign Service Institute (Mar. 2013), https://oig.state.gov/system/files/209366.pdf (reproducing the entire report, but with some portions redacted).[22]

         Dr. Coulibaly claims that he first filed the present litigation on November 15, 2013. Compl. ¶ 162; see also ECF No. 1 (showing that Dr. Coulibaly's initial complaint was stamped "Received" in November 2013, but that the stamp was later crossed out). But that the complaint was not docketed until February 10, 2014. See ECF No. 1 (showing that the initial complaint was stamped "Filed" on February 10, 2014). In a pre-answer motion, Defendants move to dismiss the complaint or, in the alternative, for summary judgment. See Defs.' Mot. Dismiss or, in the Alt., for Summ. J., ECF No. 30. Combined with his opposition brief, Dr. Coulibaly has filed a motion for leave to file a fourth amended complaint. See Pl.'s Resp., ECF No. 36. Dr. Coulibaly also later filed a motion to add newly acquired evidence to the record. See Pl.'s Mot. Add Newly Acquired Evid., ECF No. 39.

         III. ANALYSIS

         Before the Court addresses the merits of the parties' respective motions, the Court addresses Defendants' suggestion that the Court strike Dr. Coulibaly's opposition brief.

         A. Length of Dr. Coulibaly's Opposition Brief

         In their reply brief, Defendants suggest that the Court strike Dr. Coulibaly's opposition brief and claim that the extreme length of his submission violates Local Civil Rule 7(e). See Defs.' Reply at 1, ECF No. 42. Defendants cite OAO Alfa Bank v. Center for Public Integrity, 387 F.Supp.2d 20, 39 (D.D.C. 2005), as support for striking the excessive pages. But Defendants do not mention that the OAO court granted the noncompliant party leave to amend and, later, reconsidered the amended motion. Id. Further, the parties in OAO were represented by counsel and, therefore, did not receive the expanded deference afforded to a pro se plaintiff such as Dr. Coulibaly. See Id. at 22-23, 39. Thus, OAO at most stands for the proposition that the Court should offer Dr. Coulibaly an opportunity to revise and resubmit his opposition brief.

         Defendants also cite Corson & Gruman Co. v. NLRB, 899 F.2d 47, 50-51 n.4 (D.C. Cir. 1990), as analogous support. However, that case is also distinguishable because it did not involve apro se plaintiff. See Id. at 48. Consequently, because Dr. Coulibaly is pro se, the Court will decline to strike Dr. Coulibaly's opposition brief but will warn Dr. Coulibaly to comply with this Court's rule on briefing length limits in the future. If he does not, the Court will exercise its authority to strike any future briefs that go over the applicable limits.

         B. Tort and Contract Claims

         The Court now turns to the merits of Defendants' motion to dismiss or, in the alternative, for summary judgment. The Court addresses Defendants' arguments in a few groups, roughly divided based on the laws under which Dr. Coulibaly's claims might reasonably fall. The Court first addresses Dr. Coulibaly's tort and contract claims, before turning to his claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Rehabilitation Act, the First Amendment of the Constitution, and District of Columbia local statutes.

         The following counts of the complaint appear to allege tort or contract claims:

(1) Count 7, which alleges intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, see Compl. ¶¶ 108-09;
(2) Count 8, which alleges active concealment of Dr. Coulibaly's 2007 hiring and contends that the concealment is evidence of misrepresentation and fraud, see Id. ¶¶ 110-11;
(3) Count 9, for promissory fraud, id. ¶¶ 112-13;
(4) Count 10, which appears to allege a breach of an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, see Id. ¶¶ 114-15;
(5) Count 11, which alleges promissory estoppel, id. ¶¶ 116-17;
(6) Count 16, which broadly alleges that Dr. Coulibaly timely exhausted his FTCA claims for infliction of emotional distress, see Id. ¶¶ 143-64;
(7) The first of the two counts labeled "Count 19" in Dr. Coulibaly's complaint, which alleges defamation and character assassination, id. ¶¶ 184-92; and
(8) Count 21, which alleges conspiracy to commit fraud, extortion, infliction of emotional distress, and personal injury under the FTCA, see Id. ¶¶ 207-08.

         Before turning to the merits of these claims, however, the Court reviews the legal standard for Defendants' motion to dismiss them.

         1. Legal Standards

         Defendants' arguments about the tort and contract counts rest on jurisdictional grounds, on Dr. Coulibaly's failure to state a claim, and on insufficient service of process. The Court accordingly applies the legal standards for motions to dismiss for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1), for insufficient service of process under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(5), and for failure to state a claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).[23]

         a. Rule 12(b)(1)

         Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, and the law presumes that "a cause lies outside this limited jurisdiction." Rasul v. Bush, 542 U.S. 466, 489 (2004) (quoting Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994)). It is the plaintiffs burden to establish that the court has subject matter jurisdiction. Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 561 (1992). To determine whether jurisdiction exists, a court may "consider the complaint supplemented by undisputed facts evidenced in the record, or the complaint supplemented by undisputed facts plus the court's resolution of disputed facts." Coal, for Underground Expansion v. Mineta, 333 F.3d 193, 198 (D.C. Cir. 2003).

         The United States "is immune from suit save as it consents to be sued, and the terms of consent to be sued in any court define that court's jurisdiction to entertain the suit." Fornaro v. James, 416 F.3d 63, 66 (D.C. Cir. 2005) (internal quotation marks omitted) (quoting United States v. Sherwood, 312 U.S. 584, 586 (1941)). "If sovereign immunity has not been waived, a claim is subject to dismissal under Rule 12(b)(1) for lack of subject matter jurisdiction." Clayton v. Dist. of Columbia, 931 F.Supp.2d 192, 200 (D.D.C. 2013) (citing FDIC v. Meyer, 510 U.S. 471, 475 (1994) ("Sovereign immunity is jurisdictional in nature.")). Courts "may not find a waiver unless Congress' intent is 'unequivocally expressed' in the relevant statute." Hubbard v. Adm'r, EPA, 982 F.2d 531, 532 (D.C. Cir. 1992) (quoting United States v. Mitchell, 445 U.S. 535, 538(1980)).

         Because sovereign immunity is a jurisdictional issue, FDIC v. Meyer, 510 U.S. 471, 475 (1994), Defendants' arguments invoking sovereign immunity require the Rule 12(b)(1) standard of review, not the Rule 12(b)(6) standard of review, to govern the Court's analysis. Therefore, Dr. Coulibaly has the burden to prove that Congress has waived sovereign immunity for the claims Plaintiff brings against the United States, the Department of State and any federal employees, if sued in their official capacity. See Tri-State Hosp. Supply Corp. v. United States, 341 F.3d 571, 575 (D.C. Cir. 2003).

         b. Rule 12(b)(5)

         "Before a federal court may exercise personal jurisdiction over a defendant, the procedural requirement of service of summons must be satisfied." Omni Capital Int'l, Ltd. v. Rudolf Wolff & Co., Ltd., 484 U.S. 97, 104 (1987); accord Gorman v. Ameritrade Holding Corp., 293 F.3d 506, 514 (D.C. Cir. 2002). When the propriety of service is challenged, "[b]y the plain text of Rule 4, the plaintiff has the burden to 'demonstrate that the procedure employed to deliver the papers satisfies the requirement of the relevant portions of Rule 4.'" Mann v. Castiel, 681 F.3d 368, 372 (D.C. Cir. 2012) (quoting 4A Charles Alan Wright & Arthur R. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 1083 (3d ed. 2002 & Supp. 2012)).

         In cases in which the plaintiff proceeds in forma pauperis, the Court must "order that service be made by a United States marshal or deputy marshal or by a person specially appointed by the court." Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(c)(3). Further, parties proceeding pro se "are allowed more latitude than litigants represented by counsel to correct defects in service of process and pleadings." Moore v. Agency for Int'l Dev., 994 F.2d 874, 876 (D.C. Cir. 1993). This latitude, however, "does not constitute a license for a plaintiff filing pro se to ignore the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure." Id. (internal quotation marks omitted) (quoting Jarrell v. Tisch, 656 F.Supp. 237, 239 (D.D.C. 1987)).

         c. Rule 12(b)(6)

         In considering a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the Court presumes that the complaint's factual allegations are true and construes them liberally in the plaintiffs favor. See, e.g., United States v. Philip Morris, Inc., 116F.Supp.2d 131, 135 (D.D.C. 2000). A Rule 12(b)(6) motion does not test a plaintiffs ultimate likelihood of success on the merits; rather, it tests whether a plaintiff has properly stated a claim. See Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974), abrogated on other grounds by Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800 (1982); Brewer v. Dist. of Columbia, 891 F.Supp.2d 126, 130 (D.D.C. 2012).

         Nevertheless, "[t]o survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal,556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). This means that a plaintiffs factual allegations "must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact)." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555-56 (citations and footnote omitted). "Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, " are therefore insufficient to withstand a motion to dismiss. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. A court need not accept ...


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