United States District Court, District of Columbia
BERMAN JACKSON United States District Judge
Gregory Ross is a member of the Georgetown University Police
Department (“GUPD”). Am. Compl. [Dkt. # 10]
¶ 2. He claims that his employer, Georgetown University,
and his supervisor, Captain Glenette M. Hilton, violated
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §
2000(e) et seq. (2012), and the D.C. Human Rights
Act (“DCHRA”) of 1977, D.C. Code §
2-1402.11, when they allegedly discriminated against him and
subjected him to a hostile work environment. Id.
moved to dismiss the amended complaint, arguing that (1)
plaintiff failed to state a timely claim under both Title VII
and the DCHRA; (2) he failed to exhaust his administrative
remedies under Title VII; (3) he failed to make the requisite
election of remedies under the DCHRA; and (4) he failed to
sufficiently plead a hostile work environment claim under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Defs.' Mot. to
Dismiss [Dkt. # 12] (“Defs.' Mot.”);
Defs.' Mem. of P. & A. in Supp. of Defs.' Mot.
[Dkt. # 12-1] (“Defs.' Mem.”) at 5-11.
Defendants also argue that the claims against Captain Hilton
should be dismissed entirely because they are barred or
otherwise without foundation. Defs.' Mem. at 11-14.
Court will grant the motion in part and remand the remainder
of the case to the D.C. Superior Court. Plaintiff's Title
VII claims for discrimination, retaliation, and hostile work
environment will be dismissed because they are untimely and
fail to state a claim. Since the federal claims will be
dismissed, the Court will not exercise supplemental
jurisdiction over plaintiff's state law claim, and it
will be remanded to the Superior Court for further
Gregory Ross began working at Georgetown University on
November 6, 1996 as a Patrol Officer with the
University's Police Department. Am. Compl. ¶ 7. In
2009, he was promoted to Patrol Sergeant. Id. ¶
2012, GUPD hired Captain Glenette Hilton, who became
plaintiff's supervisor. Am. Compl. ¶ 10. Plaintiff
asserts that the department then increased its emphasis on
racial profiling, “particularly of African
Americans.” Id. ¶ 11. Plaintiff refused
to participate in this practice, and he asserts that his
refusal “has resulted in continued negative performance
reviews and reprimands, creating a hostile work environment
for him.” Id. ¶ 12. The complaint
recounts a number of incidents that plaintiff alleges were
animated by racial discrimination and retaliation:
1. On March 2, 2012, plaintiff “was involved in an
accident involving a university vehicle while exiting a
University parking lot, ” and while it was only a
“minor scrape, ” and he immediately reported it,
“he was nevertheless reprimanded.” Am. Compl.
¶ 13. He notes that other officers involved in similar
accidents were not similarly reprimanded. Id. ¶
2. On October 24, 2012, plaintiff “was suspended for
one (1) day without pay for insubordination” because he
allegedly worked overtime without authorization on October 7,
2012. Am. Compl. ¶ 15. The suspension was overturned,
and on January 23, 2013, his related pay was restored.
3. On August 18, 2014, plaintiff was involved in apprehending
a bicycle thief. The other officers involved received
recognition for the arrest, but he did not. Am. Compl.
4. In September 2014, plaintiff refused to arrest three young
African American men who were sitting outside one of the
University's libraries. Am. Compl. ¶ 18. Someone had
made a report concerning the men, and plaintiff responded to
the scene, but when he arrived, “he observed no
indication of wrongdoing, ” and he took no action
because, according to plaintiff, he lacked probable cause.
Id. On November 24, 2014, plaintiff was suspended
for three days as a result of his inaction. Id.
¶ 19. He claims that Captain Hilton reprimanded him,
stating: “You knew what they were. You grew up in D.C.
They should have been arrested.” Id. ¶
5. On January 8, 2015, plaintiff supervised a team of
officers making an arrest, but he did not receive recognition
for it. Am. Compl. ¶ 21.
6. On March 15, 2015, during that year's NCAA Men's
Basketball Annual Tournament Selection Sunday, an
African-American man was “apparently attempting,
uninvited, to speak with Coach John Thompson III.” Am.
Compl. ¶ 22. GUPD was called, and according to
plaintiff, the event coordinator instructed the officers not
to arrest the man. Id. ¶¶ 23-24. Plaintiff
“assessed the situation, and assigned one of his
Officers to monitor the individual.” Id. He
then left the scene to resume his campus patrol. Id.
At some point, the same individual renewed his unwelcome
attempts to contact Coach Thompson, and the assigned officer
escorted him to the police station where he was issued a
“Banning Order.” Id. ¶ 25. On May
27, 2015, plaintiff was demoted to Special Police Officer by
Chief of Police Jay Gruber, on the recommendation of Captain
Hilton, for “poor work performance and failure to
adhere to operational guidelines” because he failed to
stay at the event and arrest the man. Id.
¶¶ 28-31. Plaintiff asserts he was following
“a written policy of de-escalation.” Id.
7. On January 20, 2016, Captain Hilton allowed the
University's SafeRide program to continue operating
despite a snow storm, and when plaintiff's vehicle slid
down the road into another car, he was blamed for the
accident. Am. Compl. ¶¶ 32-34.
December 1, 2015,  plaintiff submitted an “Intake
Questionnaire” to the D.C. Office of Human Rights
(“DCOHR”) alleging that the University had
subjected him to discrimination and retaliation on the basis
of his race. Am. Compl. ¶ 37; Intake Questionnaire, Ex.
2 to Pl.'s Mem. of P. & A. in Opp. to Defs.' Mot.
[Dkt. # 15-1]. On May 19, 2016, a Charge of Discrimination
was filed with the DCOHR. See Charge of
Discrimination, Ex. A to Defs.' Mot. [Dkt. # 12-2]
(“Disc. Charge”). The face of the charge
indicates that it was cross-filed with the EEOC. Id.
January 29, 2018, plaintiff initiated a civil action in the
Superior Court of D.C. against Georgetown University, Captain
Hilton, University President John J. DeGioia, and Chief of
Police Jay Gruber for violations of Title VII and the D.C.
Human Rights Act. See Notice of Removal [Dkt. # 1]
(“Removal Notice”) at 1. Defendants removed the
action to this Court on March 23, 2018 on the basis of
federal question jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a).
Id. at 2-3. On April 26, 2018, plaintiff filed an
amended complaint asserting the same claims against
Georgetown University and Captain Hilton (collectively,
“defendants”); the parties stipulated to the
dismissal of the other two defendants on May 4, 2018. See
generally Am. Compl.; Stipulation of Dismissal [Dkt. #
10, 2018, defendants moved to dismiss the complaint.
See Defs.' Mot.; Defs.' Mem. Plaintiff
opposed the motion on June 11, 2018, see Pl.'s
Mem. of P. & A. in Opp. to Defs.' Mot. [Dkt. # 15]
(“Pl.'s Mem.”), and defendants replied on
June 22, 2018. See Defs.' Reply to Pl.'s
Mem. [Dkt. # 17] (“Defs.' Reply”).
survive a [Rule 12(b)(6)] motion to dismiss, a complaint must
contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state
a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009), quoting
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007). In Iqbal, the Supreme Court reiterated the
two principles underlying its decision in Twombly:
“First, the tenet that a court must accept as true all
of the allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable
to legal conclusions.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
And “[s]econd, only a complaint that states a plausible
claim for relief survives a motion to dismiss.”
Id. at 679, citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at
is facially plausible when the pleaded factual content
“allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that
the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. “The plausibility
standard is not akin to a ‘probability
requirement,' but it asks for more than a sheer
possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.”
Id. A pleading must offer more than “labels
and conclusions” or a “formulaic recitation of
the elements of a cause of action, ” id.,
quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, and
“[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not
evaluating a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a court
must “treat the complaint's factual allegations as
true and must grant plaintiff ‘the benefit of all
inferences that can be derived from the facts
alleged.'” Sparrow v. United Air Lines,
Inc., 216 F.3d 1111, 1113 (D.C. Cir. 2000) (internal
citation omitted), quoting Schuler v. United States,
617 F.2d 605, 608 (D.C. Cir. 1979); see also Am.
Nat'l Ins. Co. v. FDIC, 642 F.3d 1137, 1139 (D.C.
Cir. 2011), quoting Thomas v. Principi, 394 F.3d
970, 972 (D.C. Cir. 2005). Therefore, when considering a
motion to dismiss, a court must construe a complaint
liberally in the plaintiff's favor. Kowal v. MCI
Commc'ns Corp., 16 F.3d 1271, 1276 (D.C. Cir. 1994).
Nevertheless, the court need not accept inferences drawn by
the plaintiff if those inferences are unsupported by facts
alleged in the complaint, nor must the court accept
plaintiff's legal conclusions. Id.; see also
Browning v. Clinton, 292 F.3d 235, 242 (D.C. Cir. 2002).
In ruling upon a motion to dismiss for failure to state a
claim, a court may ordinarily consider only “the facts
alleged in the complaint, documents attached as exhibits or
incorporated by reference in the complaint and matters about
which the Court may take judicial notice.”
Gustave-Schmidt v. Chao, 226 F.Supp.2d 191, 196
(D.D.C. 2002), citing EEOC v. St. Francis Xavier
Parochial Sch., 117 F.3d 621, 624-25 (D.C. Cir. 1997).
Title VII Discrimination ...