United States District Court, District of Columbia
E. BOASBERG, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
2012, Plaintiff Eugene Hudson became the first black person
elected to serve as National Secretary-Treasurer for
Defendant American Federation of Government Employees.
Despite being re-elected in 2015, he claims that the Union
mistreated him, and ultimately fired him, because of his race
in violation of Title VII and 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981,
1983. AFGE now moves to dismiss, arguing that Plaintiff has
failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.
Agreeing that the bulk of his allegations either fail to pass
the relatively undemanding Rule 12(b)(6) standard or are
barred under the doctrine of claim-splitting, the Court will
largely grant the Motion.
parties are not strangers to this Court. Although generally
on a motion to dismiss a court may not look outside of the
pleadings, it “may take judicial notice of other cases
including the same subject matter or questions of a related
nature between the same parties.” Veg-Mix, Inc. v.
U.S. Dep't of Agric., 832 F.2d 601, 607 (D.C. Cir.
1987) (citation omitted); Lee v. City of Los
Angeles, 250 F.3d 668, 689 (9th Cir. 2001) (court may
take judicial notice of other opinions involving the same
parties without converting motion to dismiss into motion for
summary judgment “not for the truth of the facts
recited therein, but for the existence of the opinion”)
(citation omitted); EEOC v. St. Francis Xavier Parochial
Sch., 117 F.3d 621, 624 (D.C. Cir. 1997) (court may
consider “matters of which [it] may take judicial
notice” in deciding motion to dismiss). It still must,
however, treat the facts in Plaintiff's Complaint as
true. Sparrow v. United Air Lines, Inc., 216 F.3d
1111, 1113 (D.C. Cir. 2000).
a national labor organization representing over 1000 federal
and D.C. government employees. See Compl., ¶
17. The Union's governing body, the National Executive
Council, consists of the National President, the National
Secretary-Treasurer, the National Vice President for Women
and Fair Practices, and the National Vice Presidents for the
12 AFGE districts. Id., ¶ 18. The President and
the NST are the top two positions in the organization.
Id., ¶ 15. Plaintiff was elected to serve as
NST for two consecutive three-year terms beginning in 2012.
Id., ¶¶ 14-15. After taking office, Hudson
alleges that “AFGE President J. David Cox and his staff
harassed [him] on the basis of his race and created a hostile
work environment.” Id., ¶ 20.
Plaintiff contends that this discriminatory and abusive
behavior had been ongoing “[s]ince 2012, ”
id., ¶ 20, all of the conduct alleged in the
Complaint occurred in the last two years. Over the course of
the latter half of 2016, Cox systematically and
“unilaterally stripped” Hudson of many of his NST
duties. Id., ¶ 24. First, in June, without
receiving approval from the NEC, Cox took away Hudson's
supervisory responsibilities for the Information Services
department. Id., ¶¶ 23-25. The following
month, after Hudson questioned NEC members about travel
expenses, his “investigations” became a heated
discussion topic at an NEC retreat. Id., ¶ 32.
In August, Cox “issued a memorandum stating that he
would be the sole authority for all NEC members' travel
vouchers, except for his own.” Id., ¶ 34.
By the end of 2016, Cox had “removed” Hudson
“from all chairmanships.” Id., ¶
35. Also, at some point, Plaintiff recommended a promotion
for a black member of his staff, which Cox denied.
Id., ¶¶ 28-29.
onslaught against Plaintiff continued into the next year. In
January 2017, federal employees received a salary increase to
reflect the increased cost of living. AFGE employees, who are
pegged to the same scale, also received a bump. In contrast
to “the full Cost of Living Adjustment 2.88%”
that Cox gave himself and an NVP (both white), the Union
President only “gave Plaintiff . . . a 2.48%
increase.” Id., ¶¶ 22, 26-27.
internal strife reached a breaking point after an NVP filed a
charge against Hudson. Pursuant to Union protocol, AFGE
convened a Committee of Investigation in July 2017.
Id., ¶¶ 36-37. The COI considered five
charges, dismissing all but one. Id., ¶¶
38-39. It “found probable cause that a November 15,
2016[, ] email that [Plaintiff] sent to AFGE members
concerning President Donald Trump's election constituted
malfeasance” under the Union Constitution.
Id., ¶ 39. In August, the NEC met and
“found NST Hudson guilty based on the single . . .
charge, ” id., ¶ 41, and made the
unprecedented decision to remove him from office.
Id., ¶ 16 (“Plaintiff is the first
national officer of any race in the history of the AFGE to
have been removed from elected office.”).
September 12, 2017, Hudson filed a lawsuit, alleging that his
discharge violated the Labor-Management Reporting and
Disclosure Act (LMRDA) and the Labor Management Relations Act
(LMRA). See Hudson v. AFGE, No. 17-1867. There was
no mention that his race played any role at all in AFGE's
actions. The LMRDA suit, which is still pending before this
Court, has taken many twists and turns including the granting
(and subsequent vacating) of Plaintiff's first Motion for
Preliminary Injunction, see Hudson v. AFGE, 2017 WL
5449806 (D.D.C. Nov. 9, 2017), the dismissal of three of the
four counts, see Hudson v. AFGE, 2018 WL 707431
(D.D.C. Feb. 5, 2018), the denial of a second Motion for
Preliminary Injunction as moot, see Minute Order of
February 20, 2018, the permitting of the filing of an amended
complaint, id., and, most recently, the denial of
Plaintiff's third Motion for Preliminary Injunction.
See Hudson v. AFGE, 2018 WL 1587473 (D.D.C. Apr. 2,
10, 2017, Hudson filed a charge of discrimination and
retaliation with the District of Columbia Office of Human
Rights and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
See Compl., ¶ 8, ECF No. 1-3. The EEOC issued
him a right-to-sue letter the next day. See ECF No.
1-4. On October 10, 2017 - one month after filing his LMRDA
action - Plaintiff brought this four-count suit, alleging
employment discrimination, retaliation, a hostile work
environment, and “pretextual discrimination.” He
seeks “retroactive reinstatement as NST, with all
attendant back pay, benefits[, ] and other emoluments of
employment, ” and $300, 000 in compensatory damages.
See Compl. at 8. Plaintiff's discrimination case
was reassigned to this Court as related, as it was already
presiding over the LMRDA matter. See ECF No. 7.
Defendant now moves to dismiss.
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) provides for the dismissal
of an action where a complaint fails to “state a claim
upon which relief can be granted.” Although the notice
pleading rules are “not meant to impose a great burden
on a plaintiff, ” Dura Pharm., Inc. v. Broudo,
544 U.S. 336, 337 (2005), and “detailed factual
allegations” are not necessary to withstand a Rule
12(b)(6) motion, Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 555 (2007), “a complaint must contain
sufficient factual matter, [if] accepted as true, to state a
claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)
(internal quotation marks and citation omitted). Plaintiff
must put forth “factual content that allows the ...