United States District Court, District of Columbia
GEORGIA A. STEWART, Plaintiff
MURIEL BOWSER, et al., Defendants
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
COLLEEN KOLLAR-KOTELLY United States District Judge
in this case alleges that her former employer, the District
of Columbia Office of Human Rights (“OHR”),
discriminated against her in violation of Title VII of the
Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”) and the
Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967
(“ADEA”). Presently before the Court is
Defendants'  Motion to Dismiss the Complaint. Upon
consideration of the pleadings,  the relevant legal
authorities, and the record as a whole, the Court will
GRANT-IN-PART and DENY-IN-PART Defendants' motion.
Georgia A. Stewart, an African American female, was an
employee of the OHR from 1967 to 2016. Compl., ECF No. 1,
¶¶ 4, 6. In 2013, Plaintiff filed a charge with the
United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
(“EEOC”) alleging that, despite her many years of
distinguished service, the OHR had begun to discriminate
against her on the basis of her age. Id.
¶¶ 12-13. The discriminatory acts Plaintiff claims
her supervisors subjected her to include hiring and firing
employees in Plaintiff's department without allowing her
any input in the decision, refusing to allow the unit she
supervised to have a full staff, depriving that unit of
proper tools and equipment, assigning work within the unit
without notice to or input from Plaintiff, and giving
preferential treatment to other, younger, employees in her
department. Id. ¶ 19. Plaintiff was terminated
on September 30, 2016 and allegedly told she had 15 minutes
to exit the building. Id. ¶¶ 20-21.
Plaintiff alleges that when she asked her supervisor why she
was firing her, the supervisor responded “Because I
can.” Id. ¶ 22.
asserted three causes of action in her Complaint: reprisal
under Title VII, age discrimination under the ADEA, and
intentional infliction of emotional distress. Id.
¶¶ 27-34. Defendants have moved to dismiss under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).
to Rule 12(b)(6), a party may move to dismiss a complaint on
the grounds that it “fail[s] to state a claim upon
which relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6).
The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require that a complaint
contain “‘a short and plain statement of the
claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, '
in order to ‘give the defendant fair notice of what the
. . . claim is and the grounds upon which it
rests.'” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355
U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). “[A] complaint [does not] suffice
if it tenders ‘naked assertion[s]' devoid of
‘further factual enhancement.'” Ashcroft
v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557). Rather, a complaint must
contain sufficient factual allegations that, if
true, “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. “A
claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads
factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. In
evaluating a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for failure to
state a claim, a court must construe the complaint in the
light most favorable to the plaintiff and accept as true all
reasonable factual inferences drawn from well-pleaded factual
allegations. See In re United Mine Workers of Am.
Employee Benefit Plans Litig., 854 F.Supp. 914, 915
Plaintiff's Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress
Court begins by noting that Plaintiff concedes that her
intentional infliction of emotional distress claim should be
dismissed and withdraws that claim. Pl.'s Opp'n at 1.
That claim is accordingly dismissed.
The Proper Defendant
Defendants urge the Court to dismiss Plaintiff's
Complaint in its entirety because she has named the wrong
Defendants. Defs.' Mot. at 4. “There is little
dispute that the proper defendant in an action by a District
employee for employment discrimination is the District of
Columbia itself.” Cooper v. Henderson, 174
F.Supp.3d 193, 199 (D.D.C. 2016). Plaintiff, however, has not
named the District of Columbia as a Defendant. She has
instead named Mayor Muriel Bowser and Plaintiff's
supervisor as Defendants in their official capacities.
Court is not persuaded that this mistake warrants the
draconian result of dismissal. “Where a plaintiff,
through unknowing mistake, names an improper defendant in her
complaint, many courts in this district have sua
sponte ordered substitution of the proper
defendant.” Id. at 200 (collecting cases). A
court may correct such a mistake regardless of whether the
plaintiff is appearing pro se or is represented by
counsel. Id. The Court will simply do so here. In
lieu of dismissing Plaintiff's complaint, the Court will
order that the individual Defendants be dismissed and
replaced with the District of Columbia as the Defendant in
this action. Pursuant to this substitution, the
“complaint will be construed as one alleging claims
against the District of Columbia.” Sampson v. D.C.
Dep't of Corrections, 20 F.Supp.3d 282, 285 (D.D.C.
Plaintiff's Title ...