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Rogers v. Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority

United States District Court, District of Columbia

October 6, 2016

Charles H. Rogers, Plaintiff,
v.
Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, and Local 689, Amalgamated Transit Union, Defendants.

          CHARLES H. ROGERS, JR., Plaintiff, represented by John Edward Williams, LAW OFFICES OF JOHN E. WILLIAMS, Esq..

          AMALGAMATED TRANSIT UNION LOCAL 689, Defendant, represented by Douglas Taylor, GROMFINE, TAYLOR AND TYLER & Brian Connolly, GROMFINE, TAYLOR AND TYLER, pro hac vice.

          WMATA, Defendant, represented by Gerard Joseph Stief, WASHINGTON METROPOLITAN AREA TRANSIT AUTHORITY.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          AMIT P. MEHTA, District Judge.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This case is before the court on Defendant Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority's ("WMATA") and Defendant Local 689, Amalgamated Transit Union's ("Local 689") Motions for Summary Judgment. See ECF Nos. 41, 42. As required by Local Civil Rule 7(h)(1), with their Motions for Summary Judgment, both Defendants submitted statements of material facts as to which they assert there is no dispute. See ECF Nos. 41, 42-4. Plaintiff, however, did not file an Opposition to either Motion. Accordingly, as permitted by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(e) and the law of this Circuit, see Grimes v. District of Columbia, 794 F.3d 83, 92 (D.C. Cir. 2015), the court will treat the facts presented by Defendants as conceded. Still, despite treating these facts as conceded, the court must determine whether Defendants have carried their burden to warrant granting summary judgment in their favor. See id. at 97 (Griffith, J., concurring). The court will turn to that inquiry, after first briefly recounting the uncontested facts.

         II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Charles H. Rogers, Jr., brought this action alleging that (1) he was improperly terminated from his position as a bus driver at WMATA in violation of the applicable Collective Bargaining Agreement ("CBA"), and (2) denied fair representation by his union, Local 689, during subsequent arbitration proceedings in which he challenged his termination. See Compl., ECF No. 1, ¶¶ 42-45.

         WMATA hired Plaintiff as a bus driver in March 2010. Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J., ECF No. 42 [hereinafter Def. WMATA's Mot.], Def. WMATA's Stmt. of Mat. Facts, Ex. 4, ECF No. 42-4 [hereinafter Def. WMATA's Stmt.], ¶ 1. In August 2010, Plaintiff was arrested in Washington, D.C., for sexual solicitation. Id. ¶ 2. Almost three years later, in April 2013, WMATA received an anonymous tip that Plaintiff was driving with a suspended driver's license. Def. WMATA's Mot., Ex. 5, Aff. of Jewel Bell, ECF No. 42-5, Memo. of Dismissal [hereinafter Dismissal Memo.], at 3. A subsequent investigation revealed that the anonymous tip was accurate, and that while Plaintiff held a valid District of Columbia commercial driver's license ("CDL"), he had (1) a suspended CDL in Prince George's County, Maryland, (2) seven open motor vehicle cases, and (3) three upcoming trial dates relating to those cases. Id. Plaintiff admitted that he had not reported at least some of these incidents to WMATA, as he was required to do. Id. at 4. WMATA then terminated Plaintiff's employment in May 2013 for, among other reasons, "deliberately operating on a suspended license, failing to report these incidents to WMATA Management, placing yourself, our passengers and the general public in potential harm, while continuing to defraud WMATA." Id. at 8.

         Plaintiff filed a grievance regarding his termination on May 10, 2013. Def. WMATA's Mot., Ex. 2, Arbitration Board Decision, ECF No. 42-2 [hereinafter Board Decision], at 6. His grievance proceeded to arbitration. On March 4, 2014, the Arbitration Board issued its decision, finding that WMATA had "produced persuasive evidence that [Plaintiff], as charged, committed two distinct dischargeable offenses, and there is insufficient basis on this record to disturb [WMATA's] determination to dismiss [Plaintiff]." Id. at 12.

         On August 28, 2014, Plaintiff filed a complaint in D.C. Superior Court. See Compl., ECF No. 1-4. The case was removed to this court on October 2, 2014, see Notice of Removal, ECF No. 1. Defendants filed their Motions for Summary Judgment on June 29, 2016. See ECF Nos. 41-42.

         III. LEGAL STANDARD

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 provides that a court should grant summary judgment if "there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and [the moving party] is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A material fact is one that is capable of affecting the outcome of litigation. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).

         Rule 56 "mandates the entry of summary judgment, after adequate time for discovery and upon motion, against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case... on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett,477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). The party moving for summary judgment "bears the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for its motion" and identifying those portions of the record that it believes "demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact." Id. at 323. If the non-moving party does not oppose summary judgment, then the facts put forward by the moving party may be treated as ...


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