United States District Court, District of Columbia
B.B. CRAIG, Plaintiff,
STEVEN MNUCHIN, Secretary of the Treasury Defendant.
OPINION GRANTING IN PART PLAINTIFF'S MOTIONS FOR COMPLETE
EQUITABLE RELIEF AND COMPLETE ATTORNEYS' FEES; DENYING
PLAINTIFF'S MOTIONS FOR PARTIAL EQUITABLE RELIEF AND
INTERIM ATTORNEYS' FEES RE DOCUMENT NOS. 110, 120, 121,
RUDOLPH CONTRERAS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
B.B. Craig, an official at the United States Mint, sued
United States Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, in
his official capacity, under Title VII of the Civil Rights
Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2000e-17 (“Title
VII”). Following a trial, the jury returned a
verdict in favor of Mr. Craig, awarding him $5, 485 in
compensatory damages. With the verdict now in, Mr. Craig
seeks injunctive relief and attorneys' fees. As explained
below, the Court concludes that Mr. Craig is entitled to both
forms of relief, though not to the extent he requests.
Accordingly, the Court grants in part and denies in part Mr.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Craig has worked for the United States Mint, as a member of
the United States Treasury's Senior Executive Service
(“SES”), since 2008. See Am. Compl.
¶ 12, ECF No. 22. From 2008 to early 2013, he was the
Associate Director of the Mint's Sales and Marketing
Division (“A/D SAM”), having failed to receive
his preferred position of Associate Director of the
Mint's Manufacturing Division (“A/D
Manufacturing”) in 2008. See Dep. Tr. B.B.
Craig (“Craig Dep.”) at 24:25-26:1, 27:4-30:1,
128:1-4, ECF No. 51-3; Summ. J. Opp'n Ex. 4, ECF No.
41-6. As A/D SAM, Mr. Craig had authority to speak and act on
behalf of the Mint, and he had significant supervisory
authority over approximately ninety-four full-time-equivalent
employees allotted to the SAM Division. See Decl. of
B.B. Craig (“Craig Decl.”) ¶¶ 3-4, ECF
2012, Mr. Craig failed to meet the Mint's expectations on
two critical SAM projects. Summ. J. Opp'n Ex. 11 at 4,
ECF No. 41-11; Summ. J. Opp'n Ex. 24 at 5, ECF No. 41-19
(noting Mr. Crag's “lack of constructive resolution
of and leadership on the Order Management System project, and
the failure to produce an effective comprehensive marketing
plan). These performance issues prompted the Mint's Chief
Administrative Officer, Beverly Babers, to begin seeking a
position in the Mint that would be a “better fit”
for Mr. Craig. Id.; Craig Decl. ¶ 9. Around
this time, Mr. Craig filed an informal complaint with the
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (an “EEO
complaint”), alleging that certain individuals at the
Mint discriminated against him based on his race and gender.
Id. ¶ 10; Pls. Petition Award Reasonable
Attorneys' Fees & Costs (“Fee Mot.”) Att.
D, ECF No. 121-9.
the “better fit” that Ms. Babers identified was a
detail to a position called “Executive Lead”
which, unlike Mr. Craig's previous position, had
unclassified duties and no supervisory
authority. Craig Dep. at 128:1-7, 180:8-13; Craig
Decl. ¶¶ 13-14; Summ. J. Opp'n Ex. 6, ECF No.
41-7. Mr. Craig remained in the Executive Lead position until
2014, when he was reassigned to a permanent SES position as
Associate Director of Environment, Safety, and Health
(“A/D ESH”), having again failed to receive an
appointment to the A/D Manufacturing position. Craig Dep. at
125:15-128:6; Craig Decl. ¶ 14. Mr. Craig has received
performance bonuses and excellent performance reviews since
assuming the A/D ESH position, where he remains to this day.
See Def's Opp'n Partial Equitable Relief
(“Partial Inj. Opp'n”) Ex. A, ECF No. 112-1.
Craig brought this action in 2014 and filed an amended
complaint in 2015, alleging that the Mint violated Title VII
by (1) failing to place Mr. Craig in the A/D Manufacturing
position in 2008; (2) moving Mr. Craig out of the A/D SAM
position in 2012; (3) giving Mr. Craig a sub-par performance
review in 2012; (4) assigning Mr. Craig to the Executive Lead
position for approximately 18 months, from 2012 to 2014; (5)
declining to reassign Mr. Craig to the acting or permanent
A/D Manufacturing or A/D SAM positions in 2014; and (6)
reassigning Mr. Craig to his current position, the A/D ESH.
See generally Am. Compl. These claims were narrowed
over several rounds of briefing. First, the Court granted the
government's pre-discovery motion for summary judgment on
Mr. Craig's claim that his non-selection to the A/D
Manufacturing position in 2008 was discriminatory. Craig
v. Lew (Craig I), 109 F.Supp.3d 268, 284 (D.D.C. 2015).
Next, the Court granted the government's post-discovery
motion for summary judgment on Mr. Craig's claims that
his sub-par performance review in 2012, his removal from the
A/D SAM position in 2012, and the Mint's refusal to
reassign him to the A/D SAM position in 2014 were
discriminatory or retaliatory; and Mr. Craig's claims
that his placement in the Executive Lead position from 2012
to 2014, his assignment to the A/D ESH position in 2014, and
his non-selection to the A/D Manufacturing position in 2014
were discriminatory. Craig II, 278 F.Supp.3d at 59,
65, 69, 72, 76.
the case went to trial on Mr. Craig's claims that (1) his
placement in the Executive Lead position from 2012 to 2014;
(2) his assignment to the A/D ESH position in 2014; and (3)
his non-selection to the A/D Manufacturing position in 2014
were retaliatory, in violation of Title VII. Of these three
claims that went to the jury, the jury found for Mr. Craig
only on his claim that the Mint retaliated against him by
detailing him to the role of Executive Lead, and it awarded
Mr. Craig $5, 485 in compensatory damages. Jury Verdict, ECF
No. 99. In 2018 the Mint received a new permanent Director, a
position that had been unfilled since 2011. Pls. Mot. Award
Partial Equitable Relief (“Partial Inj. Mot.”) at
4-5, ECF No. 110.
after the trial, Mr. Craig filed a motion for partial
injunctive relief. See generally Partial Inj. Mot.
After the parties were unable to settle during mediation on
injunctive relief and attorneys' fees, the Court ordered
Mr. Craig to file motions for complete injunctive relief and
complete attorneys' fees and costs. See Minute
Order (Aug. 1, 2018). Mr. Craig dutifully filed those
motions, which are now, along with his earlier motion for
partial injunctive relief and his later motion for interim
attorneys' fees, ripe for the Court's consideration.
See Partial Inj. Mot.; Pls. Mot. Complete Award
Equitable Relief (“Inj. Mot.”), ECF No. 120; Fee
Mot., ECF No. 121; Pls. Mot. Interim Award Reasonable
Attorneys' Fees (“Fee Mot. II”), ECF No.
of the central purposes of Title VII is ‘to make
persons whole for injuries suffered on account of unlawful
employment discrimination.'” Franks v. Bowman
Transp. Co., Inc., 424 U.S. 747, 763 (1976) (quoting
Albemarle Paper Co. v. Moody, 422 U.S. 405, 418
(1975)). Accordingly, Title VII expressly provides for a wide
range of remedies:
If the court finds that the [defendant] has intentionally
engaged in . . . an unlawful employment practice charged in
the complaint, the court may enjoin the [defendant] from
engaging in such unlawful employment practice, and order such
affirmative action as may be appropriate, which may include,
but is not limited to, reinstatement or hiring of employees,
with or without back pay . . . or any other equitable relief
as the court deems appropriate.
42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(g)(1).
considering what remedy is appropriate, the Court “must
strive to grant ‘the most complete relief
possible.'” Lander v. Lujan, 888 F.2d 153,
156 (D.C. Cir. 1989) (quoting Franks, 424 U.S. at
764). In other words, the Court's goal is to restore the
plaintiffs, as nearly as possible, to the circumstances they
“would have occupied if the wrong had not been
committed.” Id. (internal quotation marks
omitted) (quoting Albemarle Paper, 422 U.S. at
418-19). In fashioning a remedy which satisfies the
objectives of Title VII, the district court is vested with
“considerable discretion.” Id.; see
also Hayes v. Shalala, 933 F.Supp. 21, 25 (D.D.C. 1996).
Title VII, the Court is authorized, in its discretion, to
award “the prevailing party . . . a reasonable
attorney's fee (including expert fees) as part of the
costs.” 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(k). Generally,
“[a] reasonable fee is one that is ‘adequate to
attract competent counsel, but that does not produce
windfalls to attorneys.'” West v. Potter,
717 F.3d 1030, 1033 (D.C. Cir. 2013) (internal quotation
marks omitted) (quoting Blum v. Stenson, 465 U.S.
886, 897 (1984)). In awarding reasonable attorneys' fees,
a court must conduct a two-step inquiry. Craig v.
District of Columbia, 197 F.Supp.3d 268, 274-75 (D.D.C.
2016) (citing Does I, II, III v. District of
Columbia., 448 F.Supp.2d 137, 140 (D.D.C. 2006)).
the court must determine whether the plaintiff is the
prevailing party. Id. at 275. A plaintiff is
considered a prevailing party, entitled to attorneys'
fees, “if [he] succeed[s] on any significant issue in
litigation which achieves some of the benefit the [plaintiff]
sought in bringing suit.” Harvey v. Mohammed,
951 F.Supp.2d 47, 53 (D.D.C. 2013) (internal quotation marks
and alterations omitted) (quoting Hensley v.
Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424, 433 (1983)). A litigant need
not succeed at every step of the litigation in order to be a
prevailing party under Title VII; “a litigant who is
unsuccessful at a stage of litigation that was a necessary
step to [his] ultimate victory is entitled to attorney's
fees even for the unsuccessful stage.” Craig,
197 F.Supp.3d at 275 (quoting Ashraf-Hassan v. Embassy of
Fr. in the U.S., 189 F.Supp.3d 48, 54-55 (D.D.C. 2016)).
the court must determine whether the plaintiff's fee
request is reasonable. Does I, II, III, 448
F.Supp.2d at 140. In analyzing the plaintiff's fee
request, “[a] court must: (1) determine the
‘number of hours reasonably expended in
litigation'; (2) set the ‘reasonable hourly
rate'; and (3) use multipliers as
‘warranted.'” Salazar ex rel. Salazar v.
District of Columbia, 809 F.3d 58, 61 (D.C. Cir. 2015)
(quoting Eley v. District of Columbia, 793 F.3d 97,
100 (D.C. Cir. 2015)). In determining whether the hours
expended on the successful litigation are reasonable, the
court must exclude hours that are “excessive,
redundant, or otherwise unnecessary.” Craig,
197 F.Supp.3d at 275 (quoting Does I, II, III, 448
F.Supp.2d at 140). And in determining whether the proposed
hourly rate is reasonable, the court must consider three
sub-elements: “(1) ‘the attorneys' billing
practices,' (2) ‘the attorneys' skills,
experience, and reputation' and (3) ‘the prevailing
market rates in the relevant community.'”
Salazar, 809 F.3d at 62 (quoting Covington v.
District of Columbia, 57 F.3d 1101, 1107 (D.C. Cir.
1995)). Generally, “there is a ‘strong
presumption that the fee yielded by the now-ubiquitous
lodestar method, which bases fees on the prevailing market
rates in the relevant community, is reasonable.'”
Makray v. Perez, 159 F.Supp.3d 25, 30 (D.D.C. 2016)
(quoting West, 717 F.3d at 1034). However, if a
plaintiff “achieved only partial or limited success,
” the court may conclude that “the product of
hours reasonably expended on the litigation as a whole times
a reasonable hourly rate may be an excessive amount, ”
and it may accordingly reduce the award. Hensley,
461 U.S. at 436.
the plaintiff bears the burden of establishing both his
entitlement to attorneys' fees and the reasonableness of
the fees he seeks. See Eley, 793 F.3d at 100;
Turner v. D.C. Bd. of Elections & Ethics, 354
F.3d 890, 895 (D.C. Cir. 2004); Covington, 57 F.3d
at 1107. Once the plaintiff meets this initial burden, a
presumption arises that the number of hours billed and the
rates at which they are billed are reasonable. See
Covington, 57 F.3d at 1110-11; Makray, 159
F.Supp.3d at 30; Jackson v. District of Columbia,
696 F.Supp.2d 97, 101 (D.D.C. 2010). At that point, the
burden shifts to the opposing party to “provide
specific contrary evidence tending to show that a lower rate
would be appropriate.” Covington, 57 F.3d at
1109-10 (quoting Nat'l Ass'n of Concerned
Veterans v. Sec'y of Def., 675 F.2d 1319, 1326 (D.C.
described above, the jury concluded that the Mint retaliated
against Mr. Craig when it assigned him to the Executive Lead
position. Mr. Craig's rights having been vindicated at
trial, he is a prevailing party seeking injunctive relief and
attorneys' fees. The Court will address each form of
relief in turn, concluding that Mr. Craig is entitled to a
portion of the injunctive relief sought and a portion of the
attorneys' fees sought. Accordingly, it grants each of
Mr. Craig's motions in part.
Court first addresses Mr. Craig's motions for injunctive
relief. Again, under 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(g)(1), the
Court may grant “equitable relief” that
“the court deems appropriate” to restore Mr.
Craig, as nearly as possible, to the circumstances he would
have occupied but for the Mint's retaliation.
Lander, 888 F.2d at 156; see also Berger v. Iron
Workers Reinforced Rodmen, 170 F.3d 1111, 1119 (D.C.
Cir. 1999) (“[A] court must, as nearly as possible,
recreate the conditions and relationships that would have
been, had there been no unlawful discrimination.”
(citation and internal quotation marks omitted)). In
furtherance of this objective, “[d]uring the remedial
stage of the proceedings, the district court may make factual
findings to determine appropriate ‘make whole'
relief under § 2000e-5(g)(1), as long as the findings
are consistent with the jury verdict.” Porter v.
Natsios, 414 F.3d 13, 21 (D.C. Cir. 2005) (internal
Craig seeks wide ranging injunctive relief designed to
replicate the career path that he believes he would have
followed, had he not been placed in the Executive Lead
position. He asks the Court to (1) require the government to
install Mr. Craig in a “dual hat” role; (2)
enjoin the government from detailing Mr. Craig to a position
with unclassified duties for more than 240 days; (3) declare
that Mr. Craig's civil rights were violated by his
placement in the Executive Lead position; and (4) require the
government take certain actions with respect to Mr.
Craig's personnel file and future employment inquiries.
Inj. Mot. at 1-2. As explained below, the Court concludes
that Mr. Craig is not entitled to a dual hat role or
declaratory relief, but that he is entitled to certain
personnel file-related relief. Accordingly, the Court grants
Mr. Craig's motion in part.
Assignment to a Dual Hat Role
Craig argues that to restore him to the position he would
have occupied but for the Mint's retaliation, this Court
must require the Mint to install Mr. Craig in a dual hat role
in which he encumbers his current Associate Director position
and another SES-level position simultaneously. As
noted, “Title VII envisioned that making a victim whole
would include his reinstatement to the position he would have
held but for the discrimination.” Jean-Baptiste v.
District of Columbia, 958 F.Supp.2d 37, 42 (D.D.C. 2013)
(quoting Lander, 888 F.2d at 156). However, while a
court must strive to “recreate the conditions and
relationships that would have been” in the absence of
the defendant's discrimination or retaliation against the
plaintiff, Berger, 170 F.3d at 1119 (quoting
Int'l Bhd. of Teamsters v. United States, 431
U.S. 324, 372 (1977)), “equitable relief is not
automatic and the court must assess the appropriateness of
the equitable relief sought in light of the injuries found,
” Hayes, 933 F.Supp. at 27. “Where the
jury has not actually decided an issue or where the basis for
the jury's decision cannot be determined, the court is
not bound.” Id. (citing Blake v.
Hall, 668 F.2d 52, 54 (1st Cir. 1981), cert.
denied, 456 U.S. 983 (1982)). Accordingly, a court need
not recreate a plaintiff's hypothetical career path, if
the jury's verdict does not dictate that the plaintiff be
placed on that path.
Craig contends that “the path to career advancement for
a member of the SES is through indefinite details in acting
positions, usually while simultaneously assigned to his or
her permanent position, ” Partial Inj. Mot. at 6, and
that “other Associate Directors who did not engage in
protected EEO activity” received these “career
enhancing assignments.” Id. at 14. Mr. Craig
thus asks the Court to require the government to install him
as acting A/D of Manufacturing, acting A/D SAM, now titled
Director of Numismatics and Bullion, acting Chief
Administrative Officer, or an “equivalent acting
position” for eighteen months, in addition to his
current position as A/D ESH. Inj. Mot. at 1. The government
counters that such relief is inappropriate because (1) the
jury's verdict does not dictate that Mr. Craig be
detailed-in addition to his current A/D ESH position-to
another Associate Director position; and (2) Mr. Craig
“has presented no evidence that would support a claim
that he would have been ‘dual-hatted' in any other
role, were it not for the Mint detailing him to the Executive
Lead role.” Partial Inj. Opp'n at 8, ECF No. 112.
The government's argument is well-taken.
in this District occasionally grant retroactive promotions
grounded in plaintiffs' “career path”
theories, applying the principle that a “remedial
decree which considers career progress improperly denied is
well within this Court's discretion under Title
VII.” Brown v. Marsh, 713 F.Supp. 20, 22
(D.D.C. 1989) (citing Zipes v. Trans World Airlines,
Inc., 455 U.S. 385, 399 (1982); Franks v. Bowman
Transp. Co., Inc., 424 U.S. 747, 762 (1976)). In
determining whether this type of relief is appropriate, a
court must consider whether the jury's verdict is based
on the plaintiff's failure to obtain a specific position
or promotion to which he or she was entitled in the absence
of discrimination or retaliation. See Porter, 414
F.3d at 22-23 (affirming the district court's decision to
deny the plaintiff retroactive placement when the jury's
verdict did not establish that the plaintiff would have
received that placement in the absence of discrimination).
The court must also look to “the career path of the man
[or woman] promoted in [the plaintiff's] stead” and
any record evidence suggesting that the plaintiff was likely
to progress at a similar or faster rate. Brown, 713
F.Supp. at 22.
instance, in Brown, another court in this District
determined that a plaintiff who had been refused a GS-9
position in the United States Army for discriminatory reasons
was entitled to equitable relief mirroring the career path of
the individual chosen for that position, who had subsequently
advanced to a GS-13 position. Id. a 21-22. The
record indicated that the plaintiff was a qualified,
“perhaps . . . exceptional employee” with
ambitious goals-as indicated by his personnel reviews,
application history, and his superiors' statements-such
that merely placing the plaintiff in the position he was
initially refused “seem[ed] clearly inequitable.”
Id. at 22-23. The court accordingly concluded that
the plaintiff was entitled to back pay and retroactive
promotions corresponding to the career path of the individual
promoted in the plaintiff's stead. Id. at 24.
in Allen v. Barram, another court in this District
held that the plaintiffs-who had been discriminatorily denied
GS-7 jobs-were entitled to retroactive promotions and
trainings to mirror the career paths of the individuals
selected in their stead. 215 F.Supp.2d 184, 189-91 (D.D.C.
2002). The court concluded that because “the incumbents
[could not] claim some expertise that [the] plaintiffs
lack[ed]”, because the plaintiffs had “excellent
records” and their “supervisors thought
highly” of them, and because nine of the eleven
incumbents achieved substantial career advancement from the
positions that the plaintiffs were improperly denied,
retroactive promotion was appropriate. Id. at
other hand, courts have been reluctant to grant retroactive
promotions where a plaintiff is unable to sufficiently
demonstrate that he would have achieved the promotions
sought, but for the discrimination or retaliation. In
Lloyd v. Holder, for instance, another court in this
District refused to grant a retroactive promotion where the
record indicated only that “if [the plaintiff] had had
the opportunities which were denied him, [he] might
have been a more attractive candidate for promotion.”
No. 97-1287, 2010 WL 1999657at *3 (D.D.C. May 18, 2010). The
court found it significant that the plaintiff provided no
evidence that he was a competitive candidate for the
promotion sought-he “was an average employee”-and
the career path of the individual that the plaintiff sought
to imitate “was not comparable” to the
plaintiff's. Id. at *3-4; see also
Jean-Baptiste, 958 F.Supp.2d at 42-43 (denying the
plaintiff's request for a retroactive promotion where the
plaintiff relied on “vague, ” “unduly
speculative” assertions in support of that request);
Fogg v. Gonzales, 407 F.Supp.2d 79, 91 n.6 (D.D.C.
2005) (holding that the plaintiff was not entitled to a
retroactive promotion where such a promotion was
“overly speculative” and the court was “not
persuaded that [the plaintiff] would have been among the
relatively few [individuals] selected to advance to the . . .
level” sought) aff'd in part and rev'd on
other grounds, 492 F.3d 447 (D.C. Cir. 2007).
Mr. Craig has not sufficiently demonstrated that the
jury's verdict requires that he be placed in a dual hat
role. The jury determined that Mr. Craig's
“placement and treatment . . . in the role of Executive
Lead was retaliatory.” Jury Verdict at 1. In making
this determination, as Mr. Craig notes, Reply Mem. Supp.
Partial Inj. Mot. (“Partial Inj. Reply”) at 2,
ECF No. 114, the jury was instructed to determine whether Mr.
Craig's placement “significantly affect[ed] [Mr.
Craig's] supervisory authority, programmatic
responsibilities, or future employment opportunities
or career prospects.” Jury Preamble at 18
(emphasis added), ECF No. 98. Put another way, the jury
determined that Mr. Craig's retaliatory detail from an
Associate Director position to the Executive Lead position
harmed him by depriving him of certain authority and
responsibilities that he enjoyed as an Associate Director,
or by depriving him of career opportunities that he
would have otherwise received as an Associate Director. The
jury did not determine, as Mr. Craig would have this Court
conclude, that Mr. Craig was retaliated against because he
was deprived of “career-enhancing” dual hat
details or assignments, but rather because he was deprived of
an Associate Director role overseeing a single Mint
unit. See Partial Inj. Mot. at 14;
Partial Inj. Reply at 4. Mr. Craig points to no evidence, and
the record does not indicate, that the jury's verdict
depended on Mr. Craig's entitlement to a dual hat
just because the jury did not consider whether Mr. Craig
would have received a dual hat role but for the Mint's
retaliation does not mean that the Court cannot grant such
relief. As Mr. Craig notes, Partial Inj. Reply at 8-9,
“a district court which endeavors to fashion a remedy
for discrimination cannot confine itself to narrow or
technical measures which, while perhaps bearing a logical
connection to the plaintiff's complaint, fail to reflect
the whole of the plaintiff's injury.”
Brown, 713 F.Supp. at 22. In attempting to
“recreate the conditions and relationships that would
have been” in the absence of the Mint's retaliation
against Mr. Craig, Berger, 170 F.3d at 1119 (quoting
Teamsters, 431 U.S. at 372), the Court may look
beyond the jury's verdict to place Mr. Craig on the
career path he would have followed had he remained in an
Associate Director role. That said, while the Court may
“engage in some speculation” in granting
equitable relief, Mr. Craig's assertion that he would
have received a dual hat assignment but for the Mint's
retaliation is overly speculative. Barbour v.
Merrill, 48 F.3d 1270, 1280 (D.C. Cir. 1995).
Craig argues that because certain SES members-specifically
David Croft, Marc Landry, and Jon Cameron-received dual hat
Mint assignments while Mr. Craig was assigned to the
Executive Lead position, Mr. Craig would have received a dual
hat assignment if he remained in an Associate Director
position. Partial Inj. Mot. at 10-13. However, Mr. Craig
fails to provide evidence that those individuals were
similarly situated to him, other than through their common
SES membership. The record indicates that those
individuals occupied different Mint roles than Mr. Craig, had
different levels of experience, and had different skill sets.
For instance, both Mr. Croft and Mr. Landry spent several
years managing the Mint's Denver and Philadelphia
manufacturing facilities, respectively, before their stints
as A/D Manufacturing; experience that Mr. Craig lacked.
See Organizational Announcement at 1, ECF No.
110-16; 2012-2016 Mint Organizational Charts at 1, ECF No.
110-22. Similarly, Mr. Cameron had decades of managerial and
financial experience in the United States Federal Reserve
before moving to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, and
then the Mint, where he occupied different roles than Mr.
Craig.See Dep. of Jon Cameron at
22:20-33:12, ECF No. 112-5. These individuals' paths are
therefore “not helpful in projecting what [Mr.
Craig's] career path would have been absent unlawful
retaliation.” Lloyd, 2010 WL 1999657, at *3;
see also Barbour, 48 F.3d at 1278 (declining to
award a Title VII plaintiff back pay based on the salary of
the individual hired in the plaintiff's stead, because
that individual's background justified a higher salary
than the plaintiff's).
Craig also more generally asserts that dual hat assignments
were “afforded to other Associate Directors who did not
engage in protected EEO activity, ” and he suggests
that these assignments were given as a matter of course
because the Mint had more SES positions to fill than SES
members to fill them. Partial Inj. Mot. at 14-15. However,
while the record shows that certain SES members received dual
hat assignments, see Organizational Announcement at
1 (announcing dual hat roles for Mr. Landry and Mr. Croft),
and while dual hat assignments may improve an SES
member's career prospects, Mr. Craig has not provided
evidence indicating that such assignments were issued as a
matter of course within the Mint. The record suggests that
some SES members received dual hat assignments, and some did
not. See 2012-2016 Mint Organizational Charts
(listing Associate Directors, including Goutam Kundu, Marty
Greiner, and Annie Brown, who do not appear to have occupied
dual hat assignments). Therefore, at most, Mr. Craig has
demonstrated that “if he had had the opportunities
which were denied him, [he] might have”
received a dual hat assignment. Lloyd, 2010 WL
1999657, at *3. But Mr. Craig might instead have followed the
same path as the SES members who did not receive dual hat
Court finds the latter scenario more likely because, as Mr.
Craig concedes, the only open Associate Director Mint
position in 2012, when Mr. Craig was detailed from A/D SAM to
the Executive Lead, was the A/D Manufacturing position.
See Partial Inj. Reply Att. N at 2 n.1, ECF No.
114-2. Mr. Craig was denied assignment to that position in
2008 and denied reassignment to that position in 2014;
denials that were found to be non-discriminatory and
non-retaliatory. See Craig I, 109 F.Supp.3d at 284;
Craig II, 278 F.Supp.3d at 76; Jury Verdict. Mr.
Craig provides no evidence to suggest that the Mint would
have detailed him into the A/D Manufacturing role in 2012 in
a dual hat capacity, given that the Mint denied his
application for assignment to that role four years earlier
and would deny his application for reassignment to the role
two years later. Accordingly, the Court concludes that
Mr. Craig's assertion that he would have received a dual
hat assignment but for the Mint's retaliation is unduly
speculative. While Mr. Craig may well have received
such an assignment had he remained an Associate Director, and
while he may well receive one in the future on his own merit,
the Court declines to “interfere with the policymaking
and personnel decisions that rightly belong to public
servants” without stronger record
support. Caudle v. District of Columbia,
825 F.Supp.2d 73, 80 (D.D.C. 2011) (quoting Jones v.
Rivers, 732 F.Supp. 176, 178 (D.D.C. 1990)).
Craig also requests that the Mint be enjoined from detailing
him to a position with unclassified duties for more than 240
days. Inj. Mot. at 1. Mr. Craig contends that this
anti-retaliation injunction is necessary to ensure
“that he will not be placed at a competitive
disadvantage because of the Mint's illegal
actions.” Id. at 9. The government, on the
other hand, argues that “[n]o basis in fact exists to
suggest that such relief is necessary where [the government]
has demonstrated a commitment to a fair assessment of
Plaintiff's contributions and has awarded Plaintiff for
his performance.” Def.'s Opp'n Inj. Mot.
(“Inj. Opp'n”) at 8, ECF No. 125. The
government again has the better of this argument.
more specific evidence that Mr. Craig is likely to again face
retaliation, restricting the Mint's employment decisions
going forward is not necessary to address Mr. Craig's
harm. The Mint officials primarily responsible for the
retaliatory decision to detail Mr. Craig to the Executive
Lead position-Ms. Babers and Mr. Peterson-are no longer
employed by the Mint. See 2018 Mint Organizational
Charts, Inj. Mot. Att. A, ECF No. 110-2; 2012-2016 Mint
Organizational Charts. The Mint has a new permanent
Director, who Mr. Craig acknowledges is likely to institute
more transparent, competitive procedures for filling open SES
positions. Inj. Mot. at 9. And Mr. Craig has received
sterling performance reviews and SES performance bonuses
since being reassigned to the A/D ESH position, a
reassignment that occurred before Mr. Craig filed his lawsuit
in this Court. See Inj. Opp'n at 8; Partial Inj.
Opp'n Ex. A; Summ. J. Mot. Ex. 41, ECF No. 34-35
(announcing Mr. Craig's reassignment to the A/D ESH
position on July 31, 2014); Compl. (filed Aug. 6, 2014), ECF
No. 1. Mr. Craig has presented no record evidence to suggest
that he will be retaliated against in the future.
than supplying record evidence, Mr. Craig relies extensively
on the D.C. Circuit's opinion in Bundy v.
Jackson and the District Court's opinion in
Jean-Baptiste, but those cases are factually
inapposite. The female plaintiff in Bundy was
subjected to a pattern of sexual harassment by her
supervisors as part of a “discriminatory
environment”; a pattern of which the agency's
director was aware. Bundy v. Jackson, 641 F.2d 934,
943-46 (D.C. Cir. 1981). In remanding the case for the
District Court to impose injunctive relief, the Circuit noted
that despite the fact that the plaintiff had not complained
of harassment in six years, there was little certainty that
the harassment would not resume “because [the
plaintiff's] agency ha[d] taken no affirmative steps to
prevent recurrence of the harassment, and because all the
harassing employees still work[ed] for the agency.”
Id. at 946 n.13. Similarly, the plaintiff in
Jean-Baptiste was subjected to a pattern of
harassment, and the District of Columbia took no proactive
steps to address the plaintiff's injury until
after the jury rendered a verdict, giving the court
“significant concerns” that the plaintiff could
face retaliation after being reinstated to her previous
position. Jean-Baptiste, 958 F.Supp.2d at 51.
on the other hand, Mr. Craig did not demonstrate that he was
subjected to a systemic discriminatory or retaliatory
environment, and he was assigned to a more favorable position
before he filed the action in this Court. As another
court in this District stated while denying a similar request
for an anti-retaliation injunction, “[t]he Court will
not presume that the [Mint] will not follow the law and
plaintiff has not demonstrated that future violations are
likely.” Hayes, 933 F.Supp. at 27 (citing
E.E.O.C. v. General Lines, Inc., 865 F.2d 1555, 1565
(10th Cir. 1989)). Because the Court cannot conclude that
there is a “reasonable expectation” that
retaliation will reoccur, the Court declines to enjoin the
Mint from detailing Mr. Craig to a position with unclassified
duties for more than 240 days. Bundy, 641 F.2d at
946 n.13; see also Spencer v. General Elec. Co., 894
F.2d 651, 660 (4th Cir. 1990) (declining to award injunctive
relief to Title VII plaintiff where the action involved
“an isolated incident of one supervisor run amok,
” and the supervisor was no longer employed by the
defendant) abrogated on other grounds by Farrar v.
Hobby, 506 U.S. 13 (1992).
Craig also requests a declaration that the Mint retaliated
against him, in violation of Title VII, by placing him in the
Executive Lead position. Inj. Mot. at 1-2, 10. He claims that
such relief is necessary to “ensure that defendant and
its officials, management, and agents are given specific
notice of the Mint's violation of Title VII.” Inj.
Reply at 11. However, the jury's publicly available
verdict already gives clear, specific notice of the
Mint's violation. Jury Verdict (“[T]he Plaintiff
has proved by a preponderance of the evidence that the
Defendant's placement and treatment of Mr. Craig in the
role of Executive Lead was
retaliatory.”). “The jury verdict is sufficient
in and of itself to protect plaintiff against future acts of
discrimination and retaliation, ” particularly where
Mr. Craig has provided no evidence to suggest that
declaratory relief is necessary to clarify the Court's
ruling. Hayes, 933 F.Supp. at 27; see also
Pitrolo v. Cty. of Buncombe, 589 Fed.Appx. 619, 629-30
(4th Cir. 2014) (per curiam) (unreported) (holding that
declaratory relief was inappropriate for a successful Title
VII plaintiff where the declaration would not clarify an
issue of law raised by the decision, would not clarify the
parties' post-trial rights, and “would simply
reiterate the jury's verdict”). Accordingly, the
Court denies Mr. Craig's motion for declaratory relief.
Record-Related Injunctive Relief
Mr. Craig argues for personnel record-related relief.
“The federal courts are empowered to order the
expungement of Government records where necessary to
vindicate rights secured by the Constitution or by
statute.” Chastain v. Kelley, 510 F.2d 1232,
1235 (D.C. Cir. 1975). Such “[e]xpungement of personnel
records constitutes equitable relief under Title VII.”
Fogg, 407 F.Supp.2d at 87 (citing Smith v.
Sec'y of the Navy, 659 F.2d 1113, 1114 (D.C. Cir.
1981)). Mr. Craig requests that (1) the Mint be required to
expunge any reference to Mr. Craig's Executive Lead
tenure from its official agency records, such that the
records indicate that Mr. Craig was an Associate Director
throughout the retaliation period; (2) for purposes of Mint
personnel decisions, including future reassignments,
training, and promotions, the Mint be required to treat Mr.
Craig's Executive Lead position as an Associate
Director-level position with Associate Director-level
responsibilities and authority; and (3) for purposes of
external, employment-related inquiries, the Mint be required
to characterize Mr. Craig's Executive Lead position as an
Associate Director-level position with Associate
Director-level responsibilities and authority. Inj. Mot. at
government asserts that much of Mr. Craig's requested
relief has already been implemented, but the government's
assertions do not fully address Mr. Craig's harm and the
government fails to provide record support for those
assertions. For instance, the government claims that it
“has never considered [Mr. Craig] as having left the
SES, or as having performed non-SES duties at all relevant
times; nor has [it] ever suggested that the Executive Lead
role was not at the SES level.” Inj. Opp'n at 10.
However, while the government may not consider the Executive
Lead role to have been a non-SES role, when contemplating
future personnel decisions the government could still
consider the Executive Lead role to have been inferior to an
Associate Director role, such as A/D SAM. Similarly,
while under Treasury policy Mr. Craig may have been
“considered for pay and strength count purposes to
[have been] permanently occupying” the A/D SAM position
while detailed to the Executive Lead position, Inj. Opp'n
Ex. E at 4, ECF No. 125-5, the government does not identify a
policy requiring the Mint to consider Mr. Craig to have been
the A/D SAM when contemplating future personnel
despite the government's characterization of Mr.
Craig's request as “overbroad” and
“unduly burdensome, ” the parties seem to agree
that Mr. Craig's official personnel file should be
altered to reflect that he occupied an Associate
Director-level role during the retaliation period.
See Inj. Mot. at 11; Inj. Opp'n at 11. The
government proposes to expunge the document in Mr.
Craig's electronic Official Personnel File that
memorializes Mr. Craig's detail to the Executive Lead
position-the “Standard Form 52 Initiation of / Request
for Personnel Actions” (“SF-52”)-leaving
only documentation suggesting that Mr. Craig occupied the A/D
SAM position through 2014, when he was reassigned to the A/D
ESH position. Id. Mr. Craig argues that his
SF-52's, performance appraisals, and Performance Review
Board materials in his Official Personnel File identifying
him as Executive Lead should be expunged and replaced with
documents identifying him as an Associate Director. Inj.
Reply at 13. Mr. Craig's proposal is better crafted to
address his harm because it includes the documents that Mint
officials may consider when making promotion decisions in the
to “recreate the conditions and relationships that
would have been” in the absence of the Mint's
retaliation against Mr. Craig, Berger, 170 F.3d at
1119 (quoting Teamsters, 431 U.S. at 372), the Court
exercises its equitable powers under Title VII to order the
following personnel record-related relief. First, the Mint
must treat Mr. Craig's Executive Lead position as an
Associate Director-level position, with Associate
Director-level responsibilities and authority, for purposes
of both internal personnel decisions and external,
employment-related inquiries. Second, the Mint must alter
the SF-52's, performance appraisals, and Performance
Review Board materials in Mr. Craig's Official Personnel
File so that they identify Mr. Craig as an Associate Director
rather than as an Executive Lead. Such relief is necessary,
because allowing Mr. Craig's retaliatory detail to
influence his future employment prospects “would be to
diverge from the aim of Title VII equitable relief.”
Fogg, 407 F.Supp.2d at 88 (ordering the Title VII
defendant to expunge the plaintiff's discriminatory
dismissal from its employment records); see also
Hayes, 933 F.Supp. at 27 (ordering “that [the
plaintiff's] personnel folder and other relevant
Department records be corrected to reflect the jury's
verdict and the equitable relief provided by the
Court”). To ensure that the relief has been properly
implemented, the Mint shall submit to Mr. Craig an updated
version of Mr. Craig's Official Personnel File within
thirty days from this Memorandum Opinion's issuance.
Court next addresses Mr. Craig's motion for
attorneys' fees and costs under 42 U.S.C. §
2000e-5(k). As noted, to receive attorneys' fees, Mr.
Craig must establish that he is the prevailing party, and if
he succeeds in establishing this element he must further
establish (1) a reasonable hourly rate for his attorneys'
services; (2) the number of hours reasonably expended by
those attorneys on the litigation; and (3) whether a fee
adjustment is warranted. Salazar, 809 F.3d at 61. The
parties agree that Mr. Craig is a prevailing party.
See Fee Mot. at 39; Def.'s Opp'n Fee Mot.
(“Fee Opp'n”) at 21, ECF No. 130. The parties
do not agree, however, on the hourly rates that should govern
the Court's fee determination or the overall
reasonableness of the fees that Mr. Craig seeks.
Craig has divided his attorneys' work into multiple
stages, and he has applied different methodologies to those
stages to reach the attorneys' fees he claims. First, for
the litigation's administrative stage (the “EEO
complaint stage”)-before the complaint was filed in
this Court-Mr. Craig seeks fees for approximately 100 hours
of work by his current counsel, Fee Mot. at 24, billed at the
rates dictated by the fee matrix maintained and updated by
the United States Attorney's Office (“USAO”)
for the District of Columbia (the “USAO Matrix”),
Fee Mot. at 1 n.2, reduced by 26.25 percent to account for
Mr. Craig's lack of success, Fee Mot. at 27.
for the litigation's stage covering the filing of Mr.
Craig's complaint in this Court through trial, Mr. Craig
seeks fees for approximately 1, 607 hours of attorney work,
Fee Mot. at 8, billed at the rates dictated by the Legal
Services Index (“LSI”) Fee Matrix (the
“Salazar/LSI Matrix”),  Fee Mot. at
1, then (1) reduced by fifteen percent to account for the
difference between the billing rates reported by law firms
and those firms' actual billing realization, Fee Mot. at
38 (citing Citizens for Responsibility & Ethics in
Wash. (“CREW”) v. DOJ, 80 F.Supp.3d 1, 5
(D.D.C. 2015)); (2) reduced to $750, 000 to bring the award
in line with other awards recently received by Mr.
Craig's counsel in successful Title VII actions, Fee Mot.
at 9; and (3) reduced by 26.25 percent to account for Mr.
Craig's lack of success, Fee Mot. at 10.
for the litigation's post-trial stage, Mr. Craig seeks
fees as follows. Mr. Craig first seeks fees for approximately
130 hours spent on equitable relief briefing, Fee Mot. at 24;
See Second Decl. of Robert C. Seldon (“Seldon
Decl. II”) ¶ 57, ECF No. 134-1, billed at the USAO
Matrix's rates, Fee Mot. at 1 n.2, with no additional
reduction, Fee Mot. at 2. Mr. Craig next seeks fees for
approximately 150 hours spent on attorneys' fees
briefing, Fee Mot. at 24; Seldon Decl. II ¶ 57, billed
at the USAO Matrix's rates, Fee Mot. at 1 n.2, with no
additional reduction, Fee Mot. at 2.
these methodologies, Mr. Craig seeks $43, 871.74 in
attorneys' fees for work done at the EEO complaint stage
by his current counsel, $13, 141.39 in fees for work done at
the EEO complaint stage by his former counsel, $553, 125.00
in fees for work done from the filing of Mr. Craig's
complaint through trial, $74, 660.30 in fees for work done at
the equitable relief stage, and $87, 393.30 in fees for work
done at the attorneys' fees stage. Fee Mot. at 2; Reply
Mem. Supp. Fee Mot. (“Fee Reply”) at 27, ECF No.
134; Seldon Decl. II ¶ 57; Proposed Order, ECF No.
134-5. In total, Mr. Craig seeks $759, 050.34 in
attorneys' fees for his current counsel,  $13, 141.39
in attorneys' fees for his former counsel, $11, 660.04 in
costs, and $8, 853.20 for expert services. Fee Mot. at 2; Fee
Reply at 27. The government contends that the fee award
sought by Mr. Craig “is manifestly unreasonable”
because (1) the award is based on “enhanced hourly
rates not recognized by this Court as being superior to the
[USAO] Matrix rates currently in effect”; (2) the award
incorporates “an excessive number of hours
billed”; and (3) the award does not account for Mr.
Craig's “limited success and the minimal damages
award obtained.” Fee Opp'n at 1. Applying the
analytical framework laid out above, the Court agrees that
Mr. Craig's proposed fees are unreasonably high, and it
reduces those fees accordingly.
Reasonable Hourly Rate
the Court must determine the “reasonable hourly
rate” applicable to Mr. Craig's attorneys'
services. As noted, in determining whether Mr. Craig's
proposed hourly rate is reasonable, the Court must consider:
(1) his attorneys' billing practices; (2) his
attorneys' skills, experience, and reputation; and (3)
the prevailing market rate in Washington, D.C. See
Salazar, 809 F.3d at 62. Mr. Craig has submitted a
declaration from Mr. Seldon describing in great detail (1)
Mr. Seldon's extensive experience litigating complex
federal cases at his current firm, at the United States
Attorney's Office, and at other organizations; (2) the
skills and experience of the other Seldon Bofinger attorneys
who participated in this action; and (3) Mr. Seldon's
billing practices. See generally Decl. of Robert C.
Seldon (“Seldon Decl. I”), ECF No. 121-2. Based
on these representations, which the government does not
dispute, see generally Fee Opp'n, the Court