Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Payne v. Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services

United States District Court, District of Columbia

February 21, 2019

TANGA PAYNE, Plaintiff,
v.
DEPARTMENT OF YOUTH REHABILITATION SERIVCES, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          COLLEEN KOLLAR-KOTELLY UNITE STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Presently before the Court is Defendant's [12] Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Amended Complaint for age discrimination pursuant to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (“ADEA”), 29 U.S.C. §§ 621 et seq. [Count I]; gender discrimination pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e et seq. [Count II]; and sexual orientation discrimination in violation of the District of Columbia Human Rights Act of 1977 (“DCHRA”), D.C. Code § 2-1401.01 et seq. Plaintiff Tanga Payne's action is predicated on her being twice denied - allegedly because of her gender, age and sexual orientation - a position as a Supervisor Youth Development Representative (“SYDR”) at the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services. See Am. Compl. at 4-6. According to the Plaintiff, these positions were filled by “male heterosexual candidates at least 10 years younger than [Plaintiff] despite [Plaintiff's] vastly superior experience and qualifications.” Am. Compl. at 3.

         As a preliminary matter, the Court notes that Defendant Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (“Defendant” or “DYRS”) asserts that it is non sui juris, a claim that Plaintiff does not contest, and this necessitates a dismissal without prejudice of Plaintiff's Amended Complaint so that the District of Columbia may be substituted as the defendant. For purposes of judicial efficiency, this Court shall hold in abeyance Defendant's non sui juris claims until March 8, 2019, while Plaintiff shall be permitted to amend her Amended Complaint to substitute the Defendant. Furthermore, the Court will consider the merits of Defendant's other claims in support of dismissal, namely, whether Plaintiff has exhausted her ADEA claim, whether Plaintiff's DCHRA sexual orientation discrimination claim was timely, and whether Plaintiff has alleged a causal nexus between gender and her non-selection regarding her Title VII gender discrimination claim. Upon consideration of the pleadings, [1] the relevant legal authorities, and the record for purposes of this motion, the Court GRANTS IN PART AND DENIES IN PART Defendant's [12] Motion to Dismiss. Plaintiff's sexual orientation discrimination claims are DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE. Plaintiff's claims for gender and age discrimination remain standing. Defendant's non sui juris claims are held in abeyance until March 8, 2019, while Plaintiff shall be permitted to amend her Amended Complaint in order to substitute the District of Columbia as the Defendant. If Plaintiff does not substitute the District of Columbia as a Defendant, the Court will dismiss her Amended Complaint.

         I. LEGAL STANDARD

         Defendant moves to dismiss for “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted” pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). A motion to dismiss is designed to “test[ ] the legal sufficiency of a complaint.” Browning v. Clinton, 292 F.3d 235, 242 (D.C. Cir. 2002). “[A] complaint [does not] suffice if it tenders ‘naked assertion[s]' devoid of ‘further factual enhancement.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 557 (2007)). Rather, a complaint must allege facts that, if accepted as true, sufficiently “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.

         In deciding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a court may consider “the facts alleged in the complaint, documents attached as exhibits or incorporated by reference in the complaint, ” or “documents upon which the plaintiff's complaint necessarily relies even if the document is produced not by the plaintiff in the complaint but by the defendant in a motion to dismiss.” Ward v. District of Columbia Dep't of Youth Rehab. Servs., 768 F.Supp.2d 117, 119 (D.D.C. 2011) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). The court may also consider documents in the public record of which the court may take judicial notice. Abhe & Svoboda, Inc. v. Chao, 508 F.3d 1052, 1059 (D.C. Cir. 2007). For example, a court may consider an EECO complaint and Notice of Charge without converting a motion to dismiss into a motion for summary judgment because such records are “public document[s] of which a court may take judicial notice.” Ahuja v. Detica Inc., 742 F.Supp.2d 96, 101-02 (D.D.C. 2010) (citing Wiley v. NEBF Invs., No. 09-CV-223, 2010 WL 114953, at *1 n. 1 (D.D.C. January 12, 2010)).

         Accordingly, for purposes of the pending motion, the Court takes judicial notice of the Charge of Discrimination filed by the Plaintiff with the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights, ECF No. 12-2, and the Dismissal and Notice of Rights by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, (Baltimore Field Office), ECF No. 15-1. See Grant v. Dep't of Treasury, 194 F.Supp.3d 25, 28 n.2 (D.D.C. 2016) (A “Final Agency Decision . . . [is] [an] official, public document[] subject to judicial notice”). Judicial notice is taken solely for the purposes of ascertaining when the Charge of Discrimination was filed with the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights (May 4, 2015), the claims addressed therein, and the date that the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Baltimore Field Office, issued a Dismissal and Notice of Rights (December 2, 2017).

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. DYRS is Non Sui Juris and Cannot be Sued

          District of Columbia government agencies may not sue or be sued unless specifically permitted by statute. Ray v. District of Columbia, 535 A.2d 868, 870 n.2 (D.C. 1987); see also Wilson-Greene v. Dept of Youth Rehab. Services, Civ. Action No. 06cv2262 (RJL), 2007 WL 2007557, *2 (D.D.C. July 9, 2007) (dismissing Title VII claims against DYRS because it is non sui juris); see also ReedJospeph-Minkins v. D.C. Dept. of Youth Rehab. Services, Civil Action No. ELH-17-45, 2018 WL 3049509 (D. Md. June 20, 2018) (where defendant argued that DYRS may not be sued and asserted that the District of Columbia was the proper party, the court sua sponte ordered the substitution of the District of Columbia for DYRS).

         Because DYRS is not subject to suit and the District of Columbia will not be prejudiced by a substitution nor will the substitution affect the substance of Plaintiff's claims, the Court concludes that substitution is appropriate in this case. Accordingly, Defendant's non sui juris claims are held in abeyance for ten business days while Plaintiff shall be permitted to amend her Amended Complaint in order to substitute the District of Columbia as the Defendant.

         B. Exhaustion of ADEA Claim

         The ADEA requires employees to exhaust administrative remedies by filing a charge of discrimination with the EEOC or a local equivalent. Washington v Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Auth., 160 F.3d 750, 752 (D.C. Cir. 1998); see 29 U.S.C. § 626 (d)(1)(B) (discussing the timing for filing a charge). A plaintiff who files a timely charge may proceed with a subsequent civil suit in federal court that is “limited in scope to claims that are like or reasonably related to the allegations of the charge and growing out of such allegations.” Park v. Howard Univ., 71 F.3d 904, 907 (DC. Cir. 1995), cert denied, 519 U.S. 811 (1996); see Thompson v. District of Columbia, 272 F.Supp.3d 17, 22 (D.D.C. 2017) (requiring “some specificity in a charge” because a “liberal interpretation of an administrative charge” would permit a litigant to avoid the requirements of an administrative proceeding). If discriminatory acts alleged by Plaintiff in the complaint were “not articulated in the administrative charge, are not reasonably related to the allegations in the charge, and do not fall within the scope of any administrative investigation that can reasonably be expected to follow, [plaintiff] may not proceed with these additional claims without first exhausting the administrative process.” Shipman v. Amtrak, 241 F.Supp.3d 114, 123 (D.D.C. 2017) (Kollar-Kotelly, J.), aff'd, 2017 WL 4217244 (D.C. Cir. Aug. 1, 2017).

         In the instant case, Plaintiff checked the box for “sex” as the basis for her discrimination claim in her Charge of Discrimination, ECF No. 12-2. “While the boxes aid a claimant in identifying the nature of her charge, a claimant is not necessarily limited to the boxes she selected if she provides a basis for her claims in her written explanation.” Robinson Reeder v. Am. Council on Educ., 532 F.Supp.2d 6, 13 (D.D.C. 2008), aff'd, 417 Fed. App'x 4 (D.C. Cir. 2011). In this case, even though the box for “age” was not checked, this Court may examine the Plaintiff's narrative explanation “to determine whether [it] fairly embrace[s] [another] claim.” Ellis v. Georgetown Univ. Hosp., 631 F.Supp.3d 71, 76 (D.D.C. 2009) (internal quotation marks omitted). A review of Plaintiff's accompanying narrative in her Charge of Discrimination reveals that she emphasizes age as a factor involved in the promotion decision insofar as Plaintiff specifies that she is “over the age of 40, ” and a woman “age 40” was offered the position while a man “age 30” was awarded the position. Charge of Discrimination, ECF No. 12-2; contra McIver v. Mattis, 3 ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.