United States District Court, District of Columbia
ROSEMARY M. COLLYER United States District Judge
Richardson worked as a law enforcement officer for the Board
of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (the Board) in the
Law Enforcement Unit (LEU) §from June 8, 2009, until his
termination on June 7, 2010. This is the third in a series of
actions Mr. Richardson has brought pro se against
the Board or its employees, alleging actions that he believes
led to his wrongful termination or have prevented him from
Richardson sues both the Board and the United States under
the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. § 552a et
seq.; the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. §
552 et seq.; the Notification and Federal Employee
Antidiscrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002 (No FEAR Act),
5 U.S.C. § 2301 et seq.; the whistleblower
provision of the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and
Enforcement Act of 1989 (FIRREA), 12 U.S.C. § 1831j; the
Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. § 701 et
seq.; and the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. §
2671 et seq.; in addition to a claim that his Fifth
Amendment right to due process was violated.
October 2014, Mr. Richardson filed suit against the Board and
seven of the Board's employees for a variety of claims
but only claims under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29
U.S.C. § 791, survived a motion to dismiss and are now
pending before the Court. Richardson v. Yellen, 167
F.Supp.3d 105, 118 (2016) (Richardson I). In April
2016, Mr. Richardson brought a suit against the same seven
employees, which is currently pending before the Court.
Richardson v. Sauls, et al., No. 16-794 (D.D.C.,
filed April 28, 2016) (Richardson II). On May 6,
2016, Mr. Richardson filed the current matter against the
Board. See Complaint [Dkt. 1]. He subsequently
amended the instant complaint to add several claims under the
FTCA against the United States. See First Amended
Complaint [Dkt. 17]; Second Amended Complaint [Dkt. 20].
facts alleged in this case have already been recited in
detail in this Court's opinion in Richardson I.
167 F.Supp.3d at 108. Only the most pertinent facts need be
reiterated here. Prior to his employment with the Board, Mr.
Richardson was a military police officer in the United States
Army. While deployed to Iraq in 2003, Mr. Richardson was
subjected to fumes and toxins that apparently led to severe
asthma and allergies. Before he was hired by the Board, Mr.
Richardson informed them of this medical condition. Mr.
Richardson began working for the Board on June 8, 2009. In
approximately October 2009 and again in November 2009, Mr.
Richardson requested a reasonable accommodation for his
medical condition. Neither of these requests was acknowledged
or addressed by the Board. Mr. Richardson was terminated by
the Board on July 7, 2010.
Richardson alleges that Board employees conspired to remove
22 medical documents supporting instances when he had been
absent from work for medical reasons (“calloffs”)
from his personnel file. Second Am. Compl. ¶¶ 26,
127. Mr. Richardson was informed that his termination was
based on the lack of support for his absences. Id.
his termination, in 2010 and 2011, Mr. Richardson alleges
that Board employees Billy Sauls and Albert Pleasant
illegally obtained his cellphone records without his
knowledge and then released those cellphone records to other
Board personnel in violation of the Privacy Act. Id.
October 16, 2014, Mr. Richardson initiated a complaint with
the Attorney Grievance Commission of Maryland (Maryland
Commission) against Kevin May, one of the Board members he
alleges conspired to remove medical documents from his
personnel file. On January 11, 2015, Mr. May sent certain
documents from Mr. Richardson's personnel file to the
Attorney Grievance Commission of Maryland in response to that
complaint. Mr. Richardson alleges that this disclosure
violated the Privacy Act. Id. ¶ 65, Ex. D. Mr.
Richardson also alleges that Lieutenant James McCoy sent a
mass email to the Board Management Division containing Mr.
Richardson's medical documents. Id. ¶ 76.
Mr. Richardson complained about this disclosure to several
Board employees but no further action was taken. Id.
Deputy Chief Marvin Jones authored a Notice of Suspension
Without Pay dated May 20, 2010 directed to Mr. Richardson.
Mr. Richardson alleges the Notice was falsified and that he
was never suspended or received the Notice. Id.
¶ 78. In Richardson I, Defendants admitted that
Mr. Richardson never received the Notice, explaining that it
was “because his provisional Board employment was
terminated.” Richardson I, No. 14-cv-1673,
Answer [Dkt. 28] ¶ 59. Nonetheless, the Notice was
placed in Mr. Richardson's personnel file and in the
Report of Investigation (ROI) from the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission's investigation.
Richardson has remained unemployed since his termination from
the Board. He attributes his unemployment to the Board's
continued actions against him and in particular, alleged
tampering with his personnel file. He bases this accusation
on information from the D.C. Department of Corrections to the
effect that he was ineligible for employment due to records
in his personnel file, which records he alleges were
falsified. As a result, Mr. Richardson claims to have
experienced post-traumatic stress disorder.
The Amended Complaint
Richardson filed his initial complaint in this matter on May
9, 2016 naming only the Board as a Defendant. At that time,
the complaint included six claims under the Privacy Act,
FOIA, 12 U.S.C. § 1831j, and the No FEAR Act, which
requires agencies to notify and train all employees about
their rights and remedies under federal anti-discrimination
and whistleblower laws. Compl. [Dkt. 1]; see 5
C.F.R. § 724.202(a). On July 22, 2016, Mr. Richardson
filed an Amended Complaint, adding three claims against the
United States for alleged violations of the Federal Tort
Claims Act. Am. Compl. [Dkt. 17]. The Court's order
granting Mr. Richardson leave to file an amended complaint
stated that Mr. Richardson was to file no later than August
5, 2016. Mr. Richardson mistook this instruction to mean that
he could amend and refile a further amended complaint any
time before August 5, 2016, which he did on August 4, 2016.
See Motion for Leave to File Second Amended
Complaint [Dkt. 21]; Second Am. Comp. [Dkt. 20]. The Second
Amended Complaint included two additional claims against the
Board and is the operative Complaint. Counts One to Eight
name the Board as Defendant and Counts Nine to Eleven name
the United States.
One of the Second Amended Complaint alleges a violation of
the Privacy Act and FOIA for the removal of twenty-two
medical documents from Mr. Richardson's personnel file.
Two, Three, and Six allege violations of the Privacy Act,
FOIA, and 12 U.S.C. § 1831j for the release of
information from Mr. Richardson's personnel file to the
Maryland Commission (Count Two); the release of Mr.
Richardson's medical documents in a mass email to Board
personnel (Count Three); and the alleged illegal search and
seizure of Mr. Richardson's cellphone and dissemination
of his cellphone records (Count Six).
Four alleges violations of the Privacy Act and 12 U.S.C.
§ 1831j for the placement of a falsified suspension
notice in Mr. Richardson's personnel file.
Five and Seven allege violations of 12 U.S.C. § 1831j
for retaliation against Mr. Richardson for his disclosure
that there were medical documents missing from his personnel
file (Count Five); and the denial of his termination appeal
Eight alleges a violation of the Administrative Procedure Act
for failure to comply with the statutorily mandated
requirements of the Privacy Act, FOIA, No FEAR Act, and 12
U.S.C. § 1831j.
Nine through Eleven are claims against the United States
under the Federal Tort Claims Act for wrongful termination
(Count Nine); obtaining cellphone records (Count Ten); and
intentional infliction of emotional distress (Count Eleven).
Mr. Richardson claims that his due process rights under the
Fifth Amendment of the Constitution have been violated. Mr.
Richardson's termination appeal was denied by the Board
Ombudsman who determined that Mr. Richardson was terminated
for too many tardy arrivals, not for absences. Mr. Richardson
claims that by giving him misinformation regarding the basis
of his termination, the Board violated his due process rights
because it prevented him from adequately challenging his