United States District Court, District of Columbia
MEMORANDUM OPINION GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO
TRANSFER; DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO AMEND
RUDOLPH CONTRERAS United States District Judge
William Moland brought this eighteen-claim suit against his
former employer, Explosive Countermeasures International,
Inc. (“Explosive Countermeasures”), and Megan
Kelley, Explosive Countermeasures' Managing Director
(collectively, “ECI”), for discrimination and
retaliation he allegedly suffered both while employed at ECI
and after his termination. Moland alleges that ECI
discriminated and retaliated against him on the basis of his
disability, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities
Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 1201-12213,
discriminated against him on the basis of his prior military
service, in violation of the Uniformed Services Employment
and Reemployment Rights Act (“USERRA”), 38 U.S.C.
§§ 4301-4335, and retaliated against him for filing
a complaint with the Department of Labor, in violation of the
Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C.
§§ 201-19. Moland also brings several
claims under the District of Columbia Human Rights Act
(“DCHRA”), D.C. Code §§ 2-1401-1404.
now filed a motion to transfer venue to the U.S. District
Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, while Moland
moves to amend his complaint in his opposition to the motion
for transfer. Although the Court finds that the District of
Columbia is a proper venue for most of Moland's ADA
claims, it also finds that this district is an improper venue
for Moland's USERRA claims, FLSA claims, and one of his
ADA claims. Because the Eastern District of Virginia provides
a proper venue for all of Moland's federal claims, the
Court grants ECI's motion to transfer the case to that
district. And because Moland's motion to amend fails to
comply with its Local Rules, the Court denies that motion.
is a Maryland resident with extensive prior military service.
Compl. ¶¶ 6, 12-15. Moland served as a canine
handler both in the United States Air Force between 1993 and
1997 and in the United States Navy between 2001 and 2008.
Id. ¶¶ 12-15. While deployed in
Afghanistan for the Navy, he was injured when an improvised
explosive device (“IED”) exploded in close
proximity to him. Id. ¶ 19. The explosion left
him with significant damage to his right knee and back,
“imped[ing] and impair[ing] his ability to move, stand,
and walk/run long distances” and causing him to
“walk with a limp and experience pain in his leg
and back after prolonged periods of walking, running, or
being on his feet.” Id. ¶ 20. After his
service, Moland worked as a government contractor in
Afghanistan, where he was injured a second time by another
IED explosion. Id. ¶ 23-25. The second
explosion worsened Moland's knee and back injuries.
Id. ¶ 25.
November 2015 and May 2016, Moland was employed as a
government contractor by American K-9 Detection Services,
LLC. (“AMK9”), and worked as a canine handler at
an Internal Revenue Service's (“IRS”)
building in New Carrolton, Maryland. Id.
¶¶ 28, 29. In May 2016, AMK9's contract to
provide bomb detection services at the IRS building was
acquired by Explosive Countermeasures, a Virginia-based
company that provides bomb detection and prevention services
in Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia.
Id. ¶¶ 7, 31. Kelley, Explosive
Countermeasures's Managing Director and also a Virginia
resident, id. ¶ 8, contacted Moland the same
month to inform him that the company would let him continue
in his role as a canine handler at the IRS building,
id. ¶¶ 33, 36.
alleges that Kelley had a “negative, discriminatory
attitude and animus towards disabled veterans and service
members who had been previously deployed.” Id.
¶ 42. In a phone conversation between Moland and Kelley
in the fall of 2016, after Moland had recommended that Kelley
hire a veteran who wore a prosthesis, Kelley allegedly stated
that “she would not hire [the veteran] or any other
former service member who had been previously deployed
because they ‘were all messed up in some
way.'” Id. ¶¶ 38-40. At the end
of 2016, Moland alleges that he did not receive a year-end
bonus because he was a veteran. Id. ¶ 51.
January 2017, Moland was reassigned from the New Carrolton
IRS building to another worksite in West Virginia.
Id. ¶ 52. Moland alleges that, following the
move, ECI failed to pay him wages for his training and
commuting time or to reimburse him for expenses he made to
care for his service canine and maintain his service vehicle.
Id. ¶ 53. As a result, he filed a complaint
with the Department of Labor (“DOL”) regarding
the wages and reimbursements he believed he was owed.
Id. ¶ 54. After Kelley was given notice of the
ensuing DOL investigation, she “became upset with Mr.
Moland for having filed a complaint, ” id.
¶ 56, and reassigned him to work at the Kennedy Center
in the District of Columbia in February 2017, id.
his training for the position at the Kennedy Center, Moland
learned that the position would require him to constantly be
on his feet and to walk over eight miles a day without a
break, an impossible task given his knee and back injuries.
Id. ¶ 58. Moland asked that Kelley accommodate
his disability by reassigning him to work at another worksite
where he would not have to walk or stand for extended periods
of time, such as his previous assignment at the IRS building,
id. ¶ 63, or by allowing him to take breaks
while at the Kennedy Center worksite, e.g.,
id. ¶¶ 65, 250.
two months without any follow-up, Kelley eventually gave
Moland a medical questionnaire for his physician to complete
so that she could make a decision regarding the requested
accommodation. Id. ¶ 67. In May 2017, upon
learning that DOL had asked Moland to appear for an interview
regarding ECI's failure to pay wages and reimbursements,
Kelley called him and “attempted to intimidate him in
advance of his interview.” Id. ¶¶
68-69. Shortly after receiving Moland's completed medical
questionnaire, which stated that Moland could fully perform
his duties if given an accommodation to rest for a limited
period of time, Kelley informed him that ECI could not
accommodate his disability. Id. ¶¶ 71, 73.
On May 16, 2017, Kelley terminated Moland's employment
with Explosive Countermeasures. Id. ¶ 76.
November 8, 2017, Moland filed a complaint with the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission, “alleging unlawful
disability-based discrimination, unlawful failure to
accommodate his known disability, and unlawful
retaliation.” Id. ¶ 79. Even after his
termination, Moland alleges that ECI continued to retaliate
against him by impeding his ability to gain employment with
the federal government. Id. ¶¶ 80-87.
Moland asserts that Kelley made statements to investigators
conducing a background check for a position he had applied
for at the Department of State in “bad faith, [and]
knowing falsity.” Id. ¶¶ 82-84.
Moland alleges that Kelley subsequently provided another
negative reference for a Department of Defense position to
which he applied. Id. ¶¶ 86-87.
September 28, 2018, Moland brought suit for discrimination on
the basis of disability and military status, and both
retaliatory termination and post-termination retaliation for
engaging in activity protected by the ADA and FLSA.
See Compl. On November 12, 2018, ECI moved to
transfer the case to the Eastern District of Virginia,
claiming that venue in this district is improper.
See Defs.' Mot. Transfer, ECF No. 3. Moland
filed his opposition on November 26, 2018, Pl.'s
Opp'n, ECF No. 5, and ECI filed a reply on December 3,
2018, Defs.' Reply, ECF No. 6.
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(3) instructs a district court
to dismiss or transfer a case when venue is improper.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(3). When considering such a motion, the
Court “accepts the plaintiff's well-pled factual
allegations regarding venue as true, . . . [and] draws all
reasonable inferences from those allegations in the
plaintiff's favor.” James v. Booz-Allen,
227 F.Supp.2d 16, 20 (citing 2215 Fifth Street Assocs v.
U-Haul Int'l Inc., 148 F.Supp.2d 50, 54 (D.D.C.
2001)). “To prevail on a motion to dismiss for improper
venue . . . ‘the defendant must present facts that will
defeat the plaintiff's assertion of venue.'”
Ananiev v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., 968 F.Supp.2d
123, 129 (D.D.C. 2013) (quoting Slaby v. Holder, 901
F.Supp.2d 129, 132 (D.D.C. 2012)). The burden, however,
remains on the ...