United States District Court, District of Columbia
ANDY B. VINH, Plaintiff,
WASHINGTON METROPOLITAN AREA TRANSIT AUTHORITY, Defendant.
C. Lamberth United States District Judge.
Andy B. Vinh brought this action against the Washington
Metropolitan Area Transit Authority ("WMATA")
alleging that the defendant discriminated against him based
on his race, gender, and national origin, in violation of
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §
2000e, et seq., when he was rehired by the
defendant, as opposed to reinstated, after his criminal
conviction was overturned on appeal. Before the Court is
defendant's motion for summary judgement on all claims.
ECF No. 22. Upon consideration of the motion, the response
and reply thereto, the entire record of the case, and the
relevant case law, the Court GRANTS the
defendant's motion for summary judgment.
Andy B. Vinh, who is of Asian origin and of Vietnamese
national origin, began working as a police officer for the
Metro Transit Police Department (MTPD)-WMATA's police
force-in 2008. On October 31, 2013, the plaintiff was
convicted of second degree assault in Montgomery County,
Maryland District Court. In response to the conviction, WMATA
terminated the plaintiffs employment on November 25, 2013. He
appealed his conviction and in January of 2014 the Montgomery
County Circuit Court reversed his conviction and found him
not guilty. At that point, the plaintiff reapplied for a
position as a police officer with WMATA and was rehired, and
not reinstated, on March 5, 2014.
time of his firing and rehiring, the plaintiff was a paying
union member of the Fraternal Order of the Police
("FOP"). On the plaintiffs behalf, FOP only filed a
Step One Grievance and failed to pursue any additional
grievance procedures under the Collective Bargaining
Agreement ("CBA"), including arbitration.
September 18, 2015, the plaintiff filed a Complaint in the
present action against WMATA. He alleges three counts of
discrimination under Title VII (race, national origin, and
gender based discrimination). The plaintiffs allegations
center on the claim that WMATA should have reinstated him, as
opposed to rehiring him, following the reversal of his second
degree assault conviction.
II. LEGAL STANDARDS
A. Summary Judgement
judgment is appropriate "if the movant shows that there
is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). Courts must "view the evidence in
the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and draw all
reasonable inferences in its favor." Athridge v.
Aetna Cas. & Sur. Co., 604 F.3d 625, 629 (D.C. Cir.
2010) (internal quotation marks omitted). To show that a
dispute is "genuine" and defeat summary judgment,
the nonmoving party must present evidence "such that a
reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving
party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. 242, 248 (1986). "If the evidence is merely
colorable, or is not significantly probative, summary
judgment may be granted." Id. (internal
citations omitted). Summary judgment is also appropriate
when, "after adequate time for discovery, " the
nonmoving party "fails to make a showing sufficient to
establish the existence of an element essential to that
party's case, and on which that party will bear the
burden of proof at trial . . . since a complete failure of
proof concerning an essential element of the nonmoving
party's case necessarily renders all other facts
immaterial." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317, 322 (1986).
Title VII-National Origin, Race, and Gender
employment discrimination is prohibited by Title VII of the
Civil Rights Act of 1964, under which it is unlawful for an
employer "to discriminate against any individual with
respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges
of employment, because of such individual's race, color,
religion, sex, or national origin." 42 U.S.C. §
VII claims that rely on circumstantial evidence-as opposed to
direct evidence of discrimination-are analyzed under the
burden-shifting framework found in McDonnell Douglas
Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792 (1973). Under McDonnell
Douglas, the employee "must carry the initial
burden under the statute of establishing a prima facie case
of racial discrimination." Id. at 802. In cases
concerning disparate treatment based on national origin,
race, or sex, a prima facie case consists of a showing that
"(1) [the plaintiff] is a member of a protected class;
(2) she suffered an adverse employment action; and (3) the
unfavorable action gives rise to an inference of
discrimination." Chappell-Johnson v. Powell,
440 F.3d 484, 488 (D.C. Cir. 2006) (internal quotation marks
plaintiffs "burden of establishing a prima facie case of
disparate treatment is not onerous, " Texas
Dep't of Cmty. Affairs v. Burdine, 450 U.S. 248, 253
(1981), and the requirement of establishing a prima facie
case "is 'not intended to be an inflexible
rule.'" Young v. United Parcel Serv., Inc.,
135 S.Ct. 1338, 1353 (2015). Thus, "an individual
plaintiff may establish a prima facie case by 'showing
actions taken by the employer from which one can infer, if
such actions remain unexplained, that it is more likely than
not that such actions were based on a discriminatory
criterion illegal under' Title VII." Id.
employee establishes a prima facie case of discrimination,
the burden "must shift to the employer to articulate
some legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for the"
adverse action. McDonnell Douglas, 411 U.S. at 802.
The employer "must clearly set forth, through the
introduction of admissible evidence, the reasons for the [the
action]" so as to "raise a genuine issue of fact