United States District Court, District of Columbia
F. HOGAN SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
before the Court is plaintiff Allan Earl Lucas, Jr.'s
second motion to amend his complaint. [ECF No. 50]. The
District of Columbia ("the District") filed an
opposition. [ECF No. 52]. For the foregoing reasons, the
Court will grant the motion.
lawsuit seeks to recover financial damages for lost earnings
and retirement benefits stemming from the District of
Columbia Metropolitan Police Department's
("MPD") alleged failure to treat his induction into
the United States Marine Corps as a military furlough and to
reemploy him upon his discharge from military service. He
filed a complaint against the District and other defendants
on February 4, 2013, [ECF No. 1], and amended his complaint
for the first time on December 17, 2013 to include only the
District as a defendant, [ECF No. 34].
District filed a motion to dismiss, [ECF No. 36], and on
September 30, 2015, the Court dismissed plaintiffs First
Amended Complaint ("FAC") without prejudice because
plaintiff did not demonstrate that he exhausted his
administrative remedies as required under the Comprehensive
Merit Personnel Act ("CPMA"). [ECF No. 39], In
doing so, the Court concluded that based on the FAC,
"plaintiff never filed a formal grievance or otherwise
invoked the required and exclusive CMPA procedures to pursue
his claims." Id. at 15. Plaintiff then moved
for reconsideration or, in the alternative, for leave to file
a second amended complaint. [ECF No. 41]. The Court denied
both, denying the latter without prejudice because plaintiff
failed to attach his proposed amended complaint to his motion
for leave to amend, as required. [ECF No. 49].
again moves for leave to amend his complaint, this time
attaching a Second Amended Complaint ("SAC").
Plaintiff contends that the Court should allow him to amend
his complaint because he sufficiently alleges that he
exhausted his administrative remedies.
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a party may amend its
pleadings once as a matter of course within a prescribed time
period. Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(1). Beyond that, the decision
whether to grant leave to amend is entrusted to the sound
discretion of the trial court. Leave "should be freely
given unless there is a good reason, such as futility, to the
contrary." Willoughby v. Potomac Elec. Power
Co., 100 F.3d 999, 1003 (D.C. Cir. 1996); Fed.R.Civ.P.
15(2) ("[t]he court should freely give leave [to amend]
when justice so requires."). "A district court may
deny a motion to amend a complaint as futile if the proposed
claim would not survive a motion to dismiss."
Hettinga v. United States, 677 F.3d 471, 480 (D.C.
Cir. 2012). The defendant has the burden of demonstrating why
a court should not grant leave to amend. Mead v. City
First Bank of DC, N.A., 256 F.R.D. 6, 7 (D.D.C. 2009).
support his assertion that he has exhausted his
administrative remedies, plaintiff asserts that he submitted
two "formal grievances"-a letter to the D.C. Office
of Personnel in March 2007, SAC, ¶ 29, Ex. 1, and a
letter to the District of Columbia Retirement Board in
2010. Id. ¶ 31, Ex. 2. He received
a response from the District of Columbia Retirement Board on
April 27, 2010 indicating that it lacked the authority to
determine retirement eligibility or employment rights.
Id., ¶ 32, Ex. 3. The District of Columbia
Retirement Board then forwarded his letter and its
attachments to the District of Columbia Police and
Firefighters Retirement and Relief Board ("PFRRB"),
as well as to the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police
Department ("MPD") Human Resources Office.
Id. Plaintiff met with MPD Human Resource Specialist
Wanda Montcrieff and PFRRB Assistant Attorney General Pamela
Brown on August 18, 2010, where they acknowledged that he did
not receive appropriate separation counsel, and agreed to
investigate the grievance. Id. ¶ 33. Plaintiff
received a 14-page legal opinion from the PFRRB dated October
9, 2012 that concluded, after conducting an
"investigation of the matter, " that "[t]he
doctrine of laches bar[red] any claim in this matter
because of Mr. Lucas' unreasonable delay, " and the
PFRRB "ha[d] no jurisdiction in this matter."
Id. ¶ 35, Ex. 4, at 20, 32-33.
plaintiff has not in fact exhausted his administrative
remedies, he asserts that additional efforts would be
"futile and useless" because the PFRRB has already
taken a position on its jurisdiction and "indicated its
unwillingness to reconsider the issue." Id.
to the District, it is plaintiffs proposed amendment that
would be "futile" because he fails to allege that
he exhausted his administrative remedies. Def.'s Opp. at
1. Specifically, the District alleges that CMPA grievance
procedures require that plaintiff appeal the denial of his
grievances to the Office of Employee Appeals
("OEA"). Id. at 4.
CPMA, D.C. Code §§ 1-601.01 etseq., is
"with few exceptions, .. the exclusive remedy for a
District of Columbia public employee who has a work-related
complaint of any kind." Lucas v. District of
Columbia,133 F.Supp.3d 176, 183 (D.D.C. 2015) (quoting
Robinson v. District of Columbia,748 A.2d 409, 411
(D.C. 2000)). The CMPA requires that administrative remedies
be exhausted though the CMPA before a federal court
entertains a lawsuit. Lucas v. United States
Gov't,268 F.3d 1089, 1094 (D.C. Cir. 2001); see
Lucas, 133 F.Supp.3d at 183 (treating the exhaustion