United States District Court, District of Columbia
COLLEEN KOLLAR-KOTELLY United States District Judge.
Joshua White is a former employee of Washington Intern
Student Housing (“WISH”). As an employee of WISH,
Plaintiff managed a dormitory referred to as Woodley Park.
Washington Media Institute (“WMI”), an
organization that provides internships with media
organizations in the District of Columbia, houses some of
their participants in Woodley Park. Plaintiff argues that he
was wrongfully terminated by WISH in retaliation for
complaints that he made about alleged harassment by Amos
Gelb, the Director of WMI. Plaintiff brings claims against
WISH, WMI, and Mr. Gelb (“all Defendants”) for
the intentional infliction of emotional distress and the
negligent infliction of emotional distress. He also brings
claims against WISH for sex discrimination and retaliation
under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the
District of Columbia Human Rights Act (“DCHRA”).
He brings further claims for civil battery and assault
against Mr. Gelb and WMI. Finally, he brings a claim of
negligent supervision and retention against WMI.
the Court are WISH's  Motion to Dismiss, or in the
alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment and Mr. Gelb and
WMI's [13-1] Motion to Dismiss. WISH moves for summary
judgment on Plaintiff's Title VII claim as well as
dismissal of Plaintiff's claims for the intentional and
negligent infliction of emotional distress. WMI and Mr. Gelb
move for dismissal of Plaintiff's claims for civil
battery, assault, and the intentional and negligent
infliction of emotional distress. Finally, WMI moves to
dismiss Plaintiff's claim for negligent supervision and
consideration of the pleadings, the relevant legal authorities,
and the record for purposes of this motion, the Court GRANTS
IN PART and DENIES IN PART Defendants' Motions. The Court
GRANTS Defendants' Motions and DISMISSES Plaintiff's
• Civil battery, because that claim is barred by the
statute of limitations;
• Assault, because that claim is barred by the statute
• Intentional infliction of emotional distress, because
that claim is barred by the statute of limitations; and
• Negligent infliction of emotional distress, because
Plaintiff has failed to state a claim for which relief may be
Court otherwise DENIES Defendants' Motions.
began working for WISH in late 2012. In August 2013, he moved
into Woodley Park, one of WISH's dormitories. As part of
his employment responsibilities, Plaintiff managed the
dormitory. Compl., ECF No. 2, ¶ 9. WMI participants were
some of the residents at Woodley Park. Id. at ¶
10. And, WMI occasionally held classes at Woodley Park.
Id. at ¶ 14.
alleges that Mr. Gelb, the Director of WMI, began sexually
harassing him soon after Plaintiff moved into Woodley Park.
Id. Plaintiff claims that Mr. Gelb would knock on
his door late at night, make sexually suggestive remarks, and
touch him in an aggressive, sexual manner. Id. at
¶ 15. Plaintiff further alleges that Mr. Gelb would
leave sexual notes on his door and at other locations
throughout Woodley Park. Id. Plaintiff also claims
that in October 2016, Mr. Gelb secretly recorded a video of
Plaintiff and his partner having sex and sent it to several
Woodley Park residents. Id. at ¶ 16.
alleges that he complained verbally and by email to
WISH's management as soon as Mr. Gelb began harassing
him. Id. at ¶ 17. Plaintiff claims that he sent
approximately 15 emails to WISH's management detailing
Mr. Gelb's behavior. Id. He further alleges that
he complained verbally at least 30 times to Jacqueline Lewis,
Managing Member of WISH, Marie Dennis, WISH's Vice
President of Management,  and Dan Lewis, WISH's Manager.
Id. at ¶ 18. Despite these complaints,
Plaintiff contends that WISH took no actions to stop Mr.
Gelb's alleged harassment of Plaintiff. Plaintiff posits
that WISH failed to take action due to their lucrative
financial relationship with WMI. Id. at ¶ 19.
2017, Plaintiff alleges that Mr. Gelb continued to make
sexually suggestive remarks and attempted to touch him.
Plaintiff claims that he told Mr. Gelb that he would call the
police if he did not leave the building. Id. at
¶ 21. Approximately three weeks later, on August 21,
2017, Plaintiff was fired from WISH. Id. Plaintiff
alleges that Ms. Lewis admitted that, in response to
Plaintiff's complaints to WISH about Mr. Gelb, Mr. Gelb
had threatened to terminate WMI's contract with WISH
unless Plaintiff was fired. Id. at ¶ 12. On
September 4, 2017, Plaintiff alleges that Ms. Dennis sent him
a letter offering four weeks of severance pay in exchange for
a general release of liability. Id. at ¶ 22.
But, Plaintiff refused to sign the letter. Id.
on these events, Plaintiff filed this lawsuit on August 29,
2018. Plaintiff brings claims for:
• Count 1- Sex discrimination and retaliation under
Title VII against WISH;
• Count 2- Sex discrimination and retaliation under the
DCHRA against WISH;
• Count 3- Intentional infliction of emotional distress
against all Defendants;
• Count 4- Negligent infliction of emotional distress
against all Defendants;
• Count 5- Negligent supervision and retention against
• Count 6- Civil battery against WMI and Mr. Gelb; and
• Count 7- Assault against WMI and Mr. Gelb.
Id. at ¶¶ 35-73. Defendants have moved for
the dismissal of all claims except for Counts 1 and 2.
Additionally, WISH requests summary judgment on Count 1.
These Motions are currently before the Court.
Motion to Dismiss Standard
move to dismiss many of the claims in Plaintiff's
Complaint under Rule 12(b)(6). According to Rule 12(b)(6), a
party may move to dismiss a complaint on the grounds that it
“fail[s] to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). “[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 contain
sufficient factual allegations that, if accepted as true,
“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.
Summary Judgment Standard
addition to the dismissal of many of Plaintiff's claims,
WISH moves for summary judgment on Plaintiff's Count 1
Title VII claim. Summary judgment is appropriate where
“the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as
to any material fact and [that he] ... is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law.” Fed. R. Civ.P. 56(a). The
mere existence of some factual dispute is insufficient on its
own to bar summary judgment; the dispute must pertain to a
material fact, that is, one that “might affect the
outcome of the suit under the governing law.”
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248
(1986). The dispute must also be “genuine, ”
meaning that there must be sufficient admissible evidence for
a reasonable trier of fact to find for the non-movant.
Id. In order to establish a genuine dispute, the
non-moving party must (a) cite to specific parts of the
record-including deposition testimony, documentary evidence,
affidavits or declarations, or other competent evidence-in
support of his position, or (b) demonstrate that the
materials relied upon by the opposing party do not actually
establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1). Conclusory assertions offered without
any factual basis in the record cannot create a genuine
dispute sufficient to survive summary judgment. Ass'n
of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO v. U.S. Dep't of
Transp., 564 F.3d 462, 465-66 (D.C. Cir. 2009). When
“a party fails to properly support an assertion of fact
or fails to properly address another party's assertion of
fact, ” the district court may “consider the fact
undisputed for purposes of the motion.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
faced with a motion for summary judgment, the district court
may not make credibility determinations or weigh the
evidence; instead, the evidence must be analyzed in the light
most favorable to the non-movant, with all justifiable
inferences drawn in its favor. Liberty Lobby, 477
U.S. at 255. If material facts are genuinely in dispute, or
undisputed facts are susceptible to divergent yet justifiable
inferences, summary judgment is inappropriate. Moore v.
Hartman, 571 F.3d 62, 66 (D.C. Cir. 2009). In the end,
the district court's task is to determine “whether
the evidence presents a sufficient ...