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Golden v. Management & Training Corp.

United States District Court, District of Columbia

July 21, 2017

DAVID GOLDEN, Plaintiff,
v.
MANAGEMENT & TRAINING CORPORATION, et al., Defendants. Re Document Nos. 22, 23, 26, 34

         GRANTING [22] DEFENDANT MANAGEMENT & TRAINING CORPORATION'S MOTION TO DISMISS; GRANTING [23] DEFENDANT CHUGACH GOVERNMENT SOLUTIONS LLC'S MOTION TO DISMISS; DENYING AS MOOT [26] PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT; DENYING AS MOOT [34] DEFENDANT CHUGACH GOVERNMENT SOLUTIONS LLC'S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE A SURREPLY

          RUDOLPH CONTRERAS United States District Judge.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff David Golden brings this civil action against Management & Training Corporation and Chugach Government Solutions LLC, alleging that they retaliated against him in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, 29 U.S.C. §§ 621 et seq. Specifically, Plaintiff claims that Defendants placed him on a performance improvement plan and ultimately fired him in 2015 for an internal grievance that he submitted in 2013, alleging “age discrimination” and a “hostile work environment.” See First Am. Compl. ¶¶ 1, 7-18, ECF No. 20. This matter now comes before the Court on Defendants' motions to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, see generally MTC's Mot. Dismiss (“MTC's Mot.”), ECF No. 22; CGS's Mot. Dismiss Am. Compl. (“CGS's Mot.”), ECF No. 23, as well as Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File a Second Amended Complaint (“Plaintiff's Mot. for Leave”), ECF No. 26, and Chugach Government Solutions LLC's Motion for Leave to File a Surreply, ECF No. 34. For the following reasons, the Court concludes that it must grant Defendants' motions to dismiss and will deny as moot Plaintiff's motion to amend and Chugach Government Solutions LLC's Motion for Leave to File a Surreply.

         II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         In May 2009, David Golden was hired as a career and technical training manager at the Potomac Job Corps facility, located in the District of Columbia. First Am. Compl. ¶¶ 5, 7, ECF No. 20. The Potomac Job Corps facility is one of several locations around the country at which the U.S. Department of Labor administers a program called Job Corps. See First Am. Compl. ¶¶ 5-6. Job Corps is a free academic and career technical training program for young, former offenders designed to provide those individuals with skills and education that will allow them to obtain meaningful employment and become productive members of their communities. First Am. Compl. ¶¶ 5, 8. Chugach Government Services, Inc. (“CGSI”) is an Alaska corporation that allegedly contracted with the Department of Labor to operate this program on its behalf throughout the United States.[1] Proposed Second. Am. Compl. ¶ 6, ECF No. 26-2. Management & Training Corporation (“MTC”) is a subcontractor under CGSI, that “assists in the management of the Potomac Job Corps facility.” Proposed Second Am. Compl. ¶ 5. Golden alleges that he was hired by MTC when he was 57 years old and that his responsibilities at the facility included teaching former criminal offenders about educational training, plumbing, and culinary arts. See First Am. Compl. ¶ 7.

         On October 16, 2013, Golden filed a grievance with MTC's Equal Employment Opportunity (“EEO”) Coordinator in which he alleged “age discrimination” and a “hostile working environment.” First. Am. Compl. ¶ 12. Golden's grievance allegedly encompassed two perceived harms. See First. Am. Compl. ¶ 12. First, Golden claimed that, beginning in 2011, he had informed his supervisors of concerns he had relating to Defendants' allegedly poor administration of the Job Corps program and the lack of certain resources and administrative support that they provided to him and his staff.[2] First Am. Compl. ¶¶ 9-10, 12. According to Golden, however, these concerns went unaddressed. See First Am. Compl. ¶ 12. Second, he claimed that his MTC supervisor erroneously placed him on a performance improvement plan (“PIP”) in 2012 for allegedly failing to obtain certifications for students, even though Golden had maintained a satisfactory rating on his performance evaluation for that year. First. Am. Compl. ¶¶ 11-12. According to Golden, his administrative concerns went unaddressed and he was erroneously placed on the PIP because of “age discrimination, ” though his complaint provides no details explaining how he arrived at that conclusion. See First Am. Compl. ¶ 12. He further alleged that these harms were representative of a “hostile work environment, ” but again, he provides no other details supporting that belief. See First Am. Compl. ¶ 12.

         At some point in 2015, more than a year after Golden's internal complaint, a different MTC supervisor placed Golden on yet another PIP. First Am. Compl. ¶ 13. Again, this was done despite Plaintiff maintaining a satisfactory performance rating for that year. First Am. Compl. ¶ 13. Then, in July 2015, MTC terminated Golden from his employment because he allegedly failed to complete the second PIP's requirements. First Am. Compl. ¶ 14.

         On February 18, 2016, Golden filed a Charge of Discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), alleging that he had been “discriminated against and been the victim of retaliation for engaging in protected activity” in violation of the ADEA. See EEOC Charge of Discrimination, ECF No. 25-3. Three months later, on May 18, 2016, the EEOC issued a right-to-sue letter. EEOC Dismissal and Notice of Rights, ECF No. 1-2.

         On August 16, 2016, Golden brought suit against MTC and Chugach Government Solutions (“CGS”)-not CGSI-alleging that Defendants retaliated against him by “erroneously placing Plaintiff on a PIP and terminating him despite his satisfactory ratings on his yearly performance appraisals” as a result of Golden's “internal complaint for age discrimination and hostile work environment.” Compl. ¶ 17, ECF No. 1. Golden's Complaint, however, sought relief under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, not the ADEA. Compl. ¶ 1. After Defendants filed motions to dismiss highlighting this fact, Golden amended his Complaint to replace the Title VII claim with a retaliation claim under the ADEA on November 3, 2016. See generally First Am. Compl. Golden did not alter any of the underlying allegations. Compare Compl., with First. Am. Compl.

         On November 21, 2016, MTC and CGS each filed new motions to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. See generally MTC's Mot.; CGS's Mot. One of the arguments advanced by CGS in its motion was that it could not be liable to Golden because it, in fact, did not operate the Potomac Job Corps facility and thus could not have been his employer. See CGS's Mot. at 3-4. CGS pointed out, as it had in its prior motion, that the facility was, in reality, operated by CGSI. See CGS's Mot. at 3-4. In response, Golden filed a motion for leave to file a second amended complaint, which sought to replace CGS with CGSI without altering any of the underlying factual allegations, see generally Pl.'s Mot. for Leave, and Defendants opposed the motion, see generally CGS's Opp'n to Pl.'s Second Mot. Leave Am. Compl., ECF No. 30; MTC's Opp'n Pl.'s Mot Leave File Second Am. Compl., ECF No. 32. The Court now addresses each of the pending motions.[3]

         III. LEGAL STANDARD

         The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require that a complaint contain “a short and plain statement of the claim” in order to give the defendant fair notice of the claim and the grounds upon which it rests. Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2); accord Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (per curiam). A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) does not test a plaintiff's 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). A court considering such a motion presumes that the complaint's factual allegations are true and construes them liberally in the plaintiff's favor. See, e.g., United States v. Philip Morris, Inc., 116 F.Supp.2d 131, 135 (D.D.C. 2000). 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 plaintiff's 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 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 a plaintiff's legal conclusions as true, see id., nor must a court presume the veracity of the legal conclusions that are couched as factual allegations. See Twombly, 550 U.S. At 555.

         IV. ...


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