United States District Court, District of Columbia
P. MEHTA UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Carrie Lou Evans, proceeding pro se, brings this action
against Defendants Troy Tyler, Tina D. Lee, and Steven
Bartlett, three employees of the U.S. Patent and Trademark
Office (“USPTO”). Plaintiff appears to contend
that Defendants falsified records that led to her firing. For
the reasons that follow, this action may proceed no further.
are all USPTO employees. See Ex. 1 to Notice of
Removal, ECF No. 2 [hereinafter Compl.], at 2; Defs.'
Mot. for Summ. J., ECF No. 14 [hereinafter Defs.' Mot.],
at 4. Plaintiff claims that Defendants “wrongfully
terminated” her and interfered with her ability to
“receiv[e] fair representation” from her union
and USPTO's Office of Equal Employment Opportunity and
Diversity (“OEEOD”). See Compl. at 2.
These claims appear to be based on Plaintiff's belief
that Defendants doctored or falsified documents concerning
her extended, unexcused absence from work between April and
May 2014, which ultimately resulted in her termination.
See Defs.' Mot. at 1-3; see also
Pl.'s Resp. to Defs.' Mot. for Summ. J., ECF No. 17
[hereinafter Pl.'s Resp.], at 2-3.
first, Plaintiff brought suit against USPTO, seeking to hold
the agency responsible for its employees' alleged
wrongful conduct. See generally Evans v. U.S. Patent
& Trademark Office (“Evans I”), 238
F.Supp.3d 4 (D.D.C. 2017). The court dismissed that case for
lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. Id. at 5.
then filed this action, and Defendants initially moved to
dismiss on a theory of claim preclusion. See Order,
ECF No. 10, at 1-2. On April 5, 2018, the court denied that
motion because “Plaintiff's case against USPTO was
for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction and therefore was not
a final judgment ‘on the merits, '” as
required for claim preclusion to apply. Id. at 3.
Thereafter, Defendants moved for summary judgment.
See Defs.' Mot. That motion is now ripe for
assert two grounds for summary judgment. First, Defendants
argue that they are not proper defendants in this action.
Because Defendants were acting in their official capacities
with respect to Plaintiff's claims, Defendants argue that
the proper defendant in this suit, depending on the claim,
would be the agency head or the United States. See
Id. at 4-6. Second, Defendants argue that the court
lacks subject-matter jurisdiction because Plaintiff failed to
pursue, let alone exhaust, her administrative remedies prior
to filing suit. See Id. at 6-9. In response,
Plaintiff does not address the merits of Defendants'
legal arguments; instead, she makes factual arguments
regarding Defendants' conduct. See generally
Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Subject-Matter
Defendants challenge the court's subject-matter
jurisdiction, the court construes their summary judgment
motion as a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(1). See Whiteru v. Wash. Metro. Area
Transit Auth., 258 F.Supp.3d 175, 181-82 (D.D.C. 2017).
When evaluating a Rule 12(b)(1) motion, the court
“accept[s] all [well-pleaded] factual allegations in
[the] complaint as true.” Jerome Stevens Pharm.,
Inc. v. FDA, 402 F.3d 1249, 1253- 54 (D.C. Cir. 2005)
(third alteration in original) (quoting United States v.
Gaubert, 499 U.S. 315, 327 (1991)). Further, “the
court may consider materials outside the pleadings ‘as
it deems appropriate to resolve the question [of] whether it
has jurisdiction to hear the case.'” Cummings
v. Murphy, 321 F.Supp.3d 92, 101 (D.D.C. 2018) (quoting
Scolaro v. D.C. Bd. of Elections & Ethics, 104
F.Supp.2d 18, 22 (D.D.C. 2000)). The plaintiff bears the
burden of establishing subject-matter jurisdiction.
Id. (citing Lujan v. Defs. of Wildlife, 504
U.S. 555, 561 (1992)); see also Hill v. United
States, 562 F.Supp.2d 131, 133-34 (D.D.C. 2008).
Motion for Summary Judgment
extent that Defendants' summary judgment motion does not
implicate the court's subject-matter jurisdiction, the
court must apply the standards set forth in Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 56. Rule 56 provides that a court must grant
summary judgment “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). A dispute is “genuine” only if a
reasonable fact-finder could find for the non-moving party,
and a fact is “material” only if it is capable of
affecting the outcome of litigation. Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). In viewing the facts,
the court “draw[s] reasonable inferences in the light
most favorable to the [non-moving] party.” Scott v.
Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 378 (2007) (internal quotation