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Menoken v. Lipnic

United States District Court, District of Columbia

July 19, 2018

CASSANDRA M. MENOKEN, Plaintiff,
v.
VICTORIA A. LIPNIC, Acting Chair, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          ROSEMARY M. COLLYER United States District Judge.

         Before the Court is Plaintiff's Rule 54(b) Motion for Reconsideration of the Court's March 6, 2018 Memorandum Opinion and Order dismissing, with prejudice, Plaintiff's claims under the Rehabilitation Act pursuant to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, for Summary Judgment. The Plaintiff, Cassandra M. Menoken, requests reinstatement of her Rehabilitation Act claims against her employer, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

         After careful review, the Court finds that Plaintiff has failed to provide justification to revisit her claims under the Rehabilitation Act and will deny the Motion for Reconsideration.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The facts were discussed in detail in the Court's March 6, 2018 Memorandum Opinion in this case and will only be repeated to the extent that they are relevant to the pending motion. See Menoken v. Lipnic, 300 F.Supp.3d 175 (D.D.C. 2018). Ms. Menoken is an African-American woman who has been employed as an attorney with the EEOC for the past thirty-five years. Id. at 179. On September 11, 2012, Ms. Menoken requested a meeting with EEOC's Disability Program Manager to discuss her need for a reasonable accommodation on the grounds that she was not “currently able to meet the demands of [her] job” because the uncertainty and delay surrounding her pending equal employment opportunity (EEO) appeals from previous complaints against the Office of Personnel Management was affecting her health. Ex. 1, Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss Pl.'s Am. Compl. or, in the Alt., for Summ. J. (Mot. to Dismiss), Confirmation of Request for Reasonable Accommodation (Request for Accommodation) [Dkt. 8-3] at 000400; see also Am. Compl. [Dkt. 7] ¶ 92. Ms. Menoken requested “[p]aid leave for 6 months or until such time as [her] discrimination complaints are adjudicated (whichever is longer).” Request for Accommodation at 000400. Chief Operating Officer Withers (COO Withers) allegedly arranged for processing of Ms. Menoken's accommodation request to be delayed and offered to settle it by approving Ms. Menoken's reasonable accommodation request if she absolved EEOC of liability with respect to any claims arising from her employment. Am. Compl. ¶¶ 94, 96. Ms. Menoken rejected the settlement offer. Id. ¶ 97.

         On February 6, 2013, Ms. Menoken filed a formal EEO complaint alleging a hostile and adverse work environment. See Id. ¶ 27. She filed another EEO complaint on September 26, 2014, “asserting violations of the Rehabilitation Act after learning that EEOC had disregarded her right to medical privacy as well as her right not to be subjected to unwarranted medical inquiries.” Id. ¶ 42. This second complaint alleged that “EEOC arranged for a stranger, not employed by the government, to repeatedly access and review medical information in Plaintiff's [Office of Workers' Compensation] file.” Id. ¶ 43. An Administrative Judge dismissed both complaints. Id. ¶ 49.

         On December 20, 2016, Ms. Menoken filed this action, which was later amended, alleging violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq., and the Rehabilitation Act (Rehab Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701, et seq. Menoken, 300 F.Supp.3d at 182. The Court dismissed Ms. Menoken's Amended Complaint in its entirety for failure to state a claim on which relief could be granted. See id at 190. As to Ms. Menoken's reasonable accommodation claim, the Court concluded that she was not a “qualified individual” and that the accommodation requested was not reasonable. Id. at 185-87. Further, the Court concluded that Ms. Menoken's complaint failed to state a claim for breach of confidentiality, that a claim of “interference” is not cognizable as a separate claim under the Rehab Act, and that Ms. Menoken failed to allege a claim for unlawful access of her medical records. Id. at 187-88. As to Ms. Menoken's Title VII claim of a retaliatory hostile work environment, the Court concluded that her complaint failed to allege sufficiently severe or pervasive hostile acts that could have interfered with her work. Id. at 190.

         Ms. Menoken now moves under Rule 54(b) for the Court to reconsider its dismissal of her claims under the Rehab Act. Pl.'s Mot. for Recons. [Dkt. 17]. As grounds for her motion, Ms. Menoken states the following:

1. The Memorandum Opinion evinces a fundamental misapprehension of the operative facts and governing law supporting the legal sufficiency of Plaintiff's claims that Defendant unlawfully interfered with her efforts to exercise rights under the Rehabilitation Act and unlawfully failed to provide her a reasonable accommodation.
2. The Memorandum Opinion evinces a fundamental misapprehension of the operative facts and governing law supporting the legal sufficiency of Plaintiff's claims that Defendant violated the Rehabilitation Act when it allowed an unauthorized individual to access Plaintiff's Workers Compensation file to monitor medical information in that file.
3. Reinstatement of Plaintiff's Rehabilitation Act claims is appropriate and necessary to avoid a manifest injustice.

Id. at 1. Additionally, Ms. Menoken filed a memorandum in support of her motion. Mem. of P. & A. Supporting Pl.'s Mot. for Recons. (Mem.) [Dkt. 17-1]. EEOC opposed. Def.'s Opp'n to Pl.'s Mot. for Recons. (Opp'n) [Dkt. 21]. Ms. Menoken replied. Reply to Def.'s Opp'n to Pl.'s Mot. for Recons. (Reply) [Dkt. 22]. The motion is ripe for review.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b) provides that “any order . . . that adjudicates fewer than all the claims or the rights and liabilities of fewer than all the parties . . . may be revised at any time before the entry of a judgment adjudicating all the claims and all the parties' rights and liabilities.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(b). “The Court has broad discretion to hear a motion for reconsideration brought under Rule 54(b).” Isse v. American Univ., 544 F.Supp.2d 25, 29 (D.D.C. 2008). Courts in this jurisdiction have established that reconsideration is appropriate “as justice requires.” Cobell v. Norton, 355 F.Supp.2d 531, 539 (D.D.C. 2005). A court may consider “whether the court ‘patently' misunderstood a party, made a decision beyond the adversarial issues presented to the court, made an error in failing to consider ...


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