United States District Court, District of Columbia
S. CHUTKAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Lisa Niles, a former police officer with the U.S. Capitol
Police (“USCP”), brings this suit challenging her
termination, alleging disability discrimination under the
Americans with Disabilities Act (Count I), race and sex
discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of
1964 (Count II), and violations of her right to Due Process
under the Fifth Amendment (Count III). (See Compl.
¶¶ 37-54). Before the court is the narrow issue of
whether Niles brought suit against and properly served the
correct defendant. Defendant U.S. Capitol Police Board
(“CPB”), which received service and entered an
appearance, moves to dismiss on the basis that it is not the
proper defendant, as the Congressional Accountability Act
(“CAA”) waived sovereign immunity for USCP
employees to sue the USCP, not the CPB. (ECF No. 9). For the
reasons stated herein, the court GRANTS CPB's motion, and
the CPB is hereby DISMISSED from this case. The court further
GRANTS Niles leave to properly serve the USCP.
is a former police offer with the USCP. (Compl. ¶¶
3, 5). Prior to her termination in August 2015, Niles had
worked with the USCP for eleven years and had been promoted
to the rank of Sergeant in 2012. (Id. ¶¶
24, 3, 5). Twice in 2014, in February and May, while Niles
was commuting to work on an Amtrak train, she was stopped and
questioned by Amtrak police for riding without a ticket.
(Id. ¶¶ 7-12). In both instances Niles
stated she had been given permission by a conductor to ride
for free as a “courtesy rider.” (Id.).
In May 2014, Amtrak Police contacted the USCP Office of
Professional Responsibility (“OPR”) about these
two incidents, and OPR subsequently began an investigation.
(Id. ¶¶ 13-14). Niles reported that she
had no recollection of the events and would not admit that
she had stolen a seat check ticket or otherwise failed to pay
for her own ticket during her commute. (Id. ¶
October 2014, Niles was charged by USCP with Conduct
Unbecoming of an Officer under the USCP's rules and
directives for detrimental conduct and truthfulness.
(Id. ¶¶ 16, 19). After a Disciplinary
Review Board (“DRB”) hearing in February 2015,
Niles was found guilty of these charges. (Id. ¶
20). The DRB recommended that Niles be terminated for her
lack of truthfulness, and in August 2015 the USCP terminated
her from her position. (Id. ¶¶ 21, 24). In
January 2016, Niles filed a request for counseling with the
USCP Office of Compliance, and when the counseling period
ended in February she then entered into mediation with the
USCP until April 2016. (Id. ¶¶ 25-27).
Following the end of mediation, she filed this suit.
asserts that the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction and
moves to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(1). Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction.
See Gen. Motors Corp. v. EPA, 363 F.3d 442, 448
(D.C. Cir. 2004). The law presumes that “a cause lies
outside [the court's] limited jurisdiction” unless
the plaintiff establishes otherwise. Kokkonen v. Guardian
Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). When a
defendant files a motion to dismiss a complaint for lack of
subject matter jurisdiction, the plaintiff bears the burden
of establishing jurisdiction by a preponderance of the
evidence. See Lujan v. Defenders of
Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 561 (1992); Shekoyan v.
Sibley Int'l Corp., 217 F.Supp.2d 59, 63 (D.D.C.
2002). In evaluating a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(1),
the court must “assume the truth of all material
factual allegations in the complaint and ‘construe the
complaint liberally, granting plaintiff the benefit of all
inferences that can be derived from the facts
alleged[.]'” Am. Nat'l Ins. Co. v.
F.D.I.C., 642 F.3d 1137, 1139 (D.C. Cir. 2011) (quoting
Thomas v. Principi, 394 F.3d 970, 972 (D.C. Cir.
Claims Against the Capitol Police Board
argues that the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction and
the CPB must be dismissed as a defendant because the United
States has not waived its sovereign immunity for suits
against the CPB. The United States is “immune from suit
save as it consents to be sued, ” United States v.
Dalm, 494 U.S. 596, 608 (1990), and therefore “may
not be sued without its consent, ” United States v.
Mitchell, 463 U.S. 206, 212 (1983). Congress established
a limited waiver of immunity for claims brought by employees
of Congress when it passed the Congressional Accountability
Act of 1995 (“CAA”), 2 U.S.C. § 1301 et
seq. The CAA authorizes “covered employees”
of Congress and its associated entities to sue their
“employing office” under several federal
employment statutes, including Title VII and the ADA. 2
U.S.C. § 1311(a)(1), (a)(3). As related to the present
suit, an “employee of the Capitol Police” is a
covered employee under the CAA, and the employing office is
“the United States Capitol Police.” 2 U.S.C.
§ 1301(3)(D), (9)(D). Therefore, USCP employees may only
bring suits against the USCP, because the CAA has only waived
immunity for suits against the USCP, not the CPB.
opposition to the CPB's motion to dismiss, Niles did not
offer any arguments in support of whether the court has
subject matter jurisdiction to hear her suit against the CPB.
Because Congress clearly waived immunity for suit only as to
the USCP, and Niles does not dispute the CPB's arguments,
the court agrees that it lacks subject matter jurisdiction to
hear her claims against the CPB. The motion is therefore
Proper Service of U.S. Capitol Police as a Defendant
explained above, the CAA establishes that the proper
defendant in this case is the U.S. Capitol Police, which has
not entered an appearance. Niles argues that she already
properly included the USCP as a defendant because she listed
it in the caption of her complaint and on the civil cover
sheet, and she delivered a copy of the summons and complaint
to the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Attorney's Office
for the District of Columbia, and to Matthew Verderosa, the
Chief of Police at the USCP, in accordance with the
requirements of the federal rules. See Fed. R. Civ.
P. 4(i)(2) (plaintiff must serve U.S. Attorney's Office
or Attorney General, and send a copy of the summons and
complaint to the agency). However, Niles has proffered no
evidence that Verderosa was the correct party to serve at the
USCP or that the USCP has otherwise received a copy of the
summons and complaint; instead, she only submitted evidence
to establish that she properly served the Attorney General
and U.S. Attorney's Office. (See ECF No. 5, Exs.
1-2). The court therefore cannot determine whether the USCP
has been properly served.
Niles believes she has effectuated proper service, she
requests leave to amend her complaint to add the USCP as a
defendant in the event the court concludes that such
amendment is necessary. In the court's view, it is not.
Niles's complaint already lists the USCP as a party in
its caption and in the text of the complaint itself.
Therefore, the only defect with her prosecution of this
litigation appears to be in serving the USCP. The court finds
that the USCP will not be ...