United States District Court, District of Columbia
FELICIA HARDY and BARRY POPE, as personal representatives of the estate of Andre Hardy, Plaintiffs,
JEROME H. POWELL, in his official capacity as Chairman, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Defendant.
N. McFADDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Hardy and Barry Pope seek $10 million in this Title VII
retaliation case against Jerome Powell, whom they have sued
in his official capacity as Chairman of the Board of
Governors of the Federal Reserve System. As personal
representatives of the estate of Andre Hardy, they allege
that the Federal Reserve drove Mr. Hardy to commit suicide by
retaliating against him for engaging in activity protected by
Title VII. Because the Plaintiffs cannot show that they have
exhausted their retaliation claims and because they cannot
show that retaliation took place, the Defendant's Motion
for Summary Judgment will be granted.
Hardy worked for the Board of Governors of the Federal
Reserve System as a law enforcement officer from 2011 to
2016. Compl. ¶ 22. In 2015, Mr. Hardy participated in
tryouts for a new bike patrol unit. Opp. to Mot. Summary J.
5. Although he scored 95% on speed test, he scored 30% on a
cone course test. Mot. Summary J. Ex. K. His supervisor,
Lieutenant Kelly Graves, gave him a 100% recommendation, and
he also earned a 100% “D.C. Code Score.”
Id.; see also Opp. to Mot. Summary J. 5.
Mr. Hardy's overall score of 81% represents the average
of these four scores and placed him 17 out of 21 tryout
participants. See Mot. Summary J. Ex. K. Nine
participants, including three female officers, were selected
for the bike team, but Mr. Hardy was not selected. Opp. to
Mot. Summary J. 5.
2015, Mr. Hardy contacted the Board's Employee Relations
office to discuss his concern that female officers were
favored over him in the formation of the bike team.
Id. at 6. Employee Relations forwarded Mr.
Hardy's complaint to the Board's Equal Employment
Opportunity, or EEO, office. Id. In August 2015, Mr.
Hardy spoke with Andre Smith, an EEO counselor, to discuss
the bike selection process and other instances of perceived
Plaintiffs allege that Mr. Hardy's supervisors learned of
his complaint as soon as he contacted the EEO office, and
that Lt. Graves retaliated against Mr. Hardy because of it.
Id. at 6-11. For example, they allege that when Mr.
Hardy sought promotion to corporal, Lt. Graves denied his
request to reschedule a necessary exam. Id. at
9-10. They also allege that Lt. Graves denied
Mr. Hardy's request to transfer to a different location,
where Mr. Hardy would no longer be under Lt. Graves's
supervision. Id. at 10-11. Mr. Hardy complained about
these incidents in a letter to Employee Relations.
Id. Ex. 18. But rather than characterizing them as
retaliation, he described them as examples of discrimination
and complained that Lt. Graves made it clear from the time he
first began to supervise Mr. Hardy that he “was coming
for [him] personally.” Id. Ex. 18 1.
March 14, 2016, Mr. Hardy submitted a resignation letter:
I am writing to inform you that I am resigning from my
position with The Federal Reserve. Thank you for the
opportunities and professional development that I have
received from the Federal Reserve Law Enforcement Unit. While
I believe that that [sic] I am moving for good reasons. I am
sorry to leave and I thank you for your support during my
time with The LEU [Law Enforcement Unit], which I have found
enjoyable and fulfilling.
I am putting in my two weeks' notice and I hope this is
sufficient for you. My last day in office will be Monday,
March 28 2016. With an effective date of Tuesday, March 29
Id. Ex. 25. Tragically, on March 28, Mr. Hardy
committed suicide after recording an audio note explaining
his frustrations with Lt. Graves and his sense that he could
never advance in his career. Id. at 11.
April 2016, the Plaintiffs initiated an EEO complaint on
behalf of Mr. Hardy's estate, alleging that
discrimination and retaliation had driven Mr. Hardy to resign
his position and take his own life. Id. at 11-12.
The Board dismissed their complaint because Mr. Hardy's
estate lacked standing. Id. at 26-27. The Plaintiffs
then sued the Chairman of the Board of Governors in federal
court, alleging that the Board violated Title VII by
committing sex discrimination and by retaliating against Mr.
Hardy for engaging in activity protected by Title VII. The
Defendant moved to dismiss the Complaint. In response, the
Plaintiffs dropped their claims of sex discrimination but
added new allegations about retaliation. Id. at 3
n.1, 17. The Board's Motion for Summary Judgment is now
prevail on a motion for summary judgment, a movant must show
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); see also Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247 (1986);
Celotex Corp v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). A
factual dispute is material if it could alter the outcome of
the suit under the substantive governing law.
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. A dispute about a
material fact is genuine “if the evidence is such that
a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving
party seeking summary judgment always bears the initial
responsibility of informing the district court of the basis
for its motion, and identifying those portions of the
pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and
admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any,
which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue
of material fact.” Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323.
Once the party seeking summary judgment makes this showing,
the non-moving party ...