United States District Court, District of Columbia
STEPHEN E. McMILLAN Plaintiff,
WASHINGTON METROPOLITAN AREA TRANSIT AUTHORITY, Defendant.
G. SULLIVAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
2010, Plaintiff Stephen E. McMillan (“Mr.
McMillan”), proceeding pro se, brought an
employment discrimination lawsuit against Defendant
Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
(“WMATA”) under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
(“Title VII”), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et
seq., as well as the First and Fourteenth Amendments to
the United States Constitution, arising out of the
termination of his employment. In 2012, this Court granted
WMATA's motion for summary judgment, finding, inter
alia, that: (1) Mr. McMillan failed to exhaust his
administrative remedies with respect to several of his Title
VII claims; (2) WMATA asserted a legitimate,
nondiscriminatory explanation for its discipline and
termination of Mr. McMillan; (3) Mr. McMillan failed to
demonstrate that WMATA's explanation was a pretext for
discrimination, and no reasonable jury could find that
WMATA's stated reasons for his termination were
pretextual; and (4) WMATA was immune from Mr. McMillan's
constitutional claims, which were construed as claims under
42 U.S.C § 1983. McMillan v. Wash. Metro. Area
Transit Auth., 898 F.Supp.2d 64, 66, 68-72 (D.D.C. 2012)
(“McMillan I”). Mr. McMillan appealed
the Court's decision, and the United States Court of
Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (“D.C.
Circuit”) dismissed the appeal for lack of prosecution.
Mr. McMillan brings a new Title VII action against WMATA,
alleging employment discrimination and malfeasance. WMATA
moves to dismiss the action with prejudice, arguing that Mr.
McMillan cannot relitigate his termination. Upon careful
consideration of the motion, opposition and reply thereto,
the applicable law, and the entire record herein, the Court
concludes that Mr. McMillan's complaint fails to state a
claim upon which relief can be granted, and that the doctrine
of res judicata bars this action because it is
another challenge to Mr. McMillan's termination.
Accordingly, the Court GRANTS WMATA's
motion to dismiss and DISMISSES WITH
PREJUDICE the Complaint.
factual background in this case, which is set forth in
greater detail in the prior Opinion, will not be repeated in
full here. See McMillan I, 898 F.Supp.2d at
66-68. In November 1999, WMATA hired Mr. McMillan as an
elevator and escalator technician. Id. at 66. After
his inquiry into the status and distribution of a bonus owed
to another WMATA employee who recruited him to work at WMATA,
Mr. McMillan allegedly experienced “negative
consequences” for the rest of his career there.
Id.; see also Def.'s Statement of
Material Facts Not in Dispute, McMillan I, Civil
Action No. 10-1867, ECF No. 15-2 at 2 ¶ 3. According to him,
WMATA denied him career advancement opportunities.
McMillan I, 898 F.Supp.2d at 66. And he observed
WMATA exclusively hiring female employees for administrative
job openings without regard to time-in-service or
McMillan lodged a complaint with WMATA's Office of Civil
Rights, alleging “mismanagement” and
“discrimination, ” id., and he attempted
to file one with WMATA's Inspector General's Office
to allege fraud, waste, and abuse. Id. at 66-67.
WMATA's Office of Civil Rights concluded that his
complaint did not fall within the purview of Title VII
because it failed to involve discrimination allegations, and
recommended that Mr. McMillan contact his union
representative or superintendent. Id. at 66.
February 2007 and June 2008, Mr. McMillan was involved in at
least four separate incidents at WMATA that resulted in
disciplinary actions, including a written warning and three
suspensions. Id. at 67, 72; see also Letter
from David A. Lacosse, Director, Office of Elevator &
Escalator Servs., to Mr. McMillan (Dec. 3, 2008),
McMillan I, Civil Action No. 10-1867, ECF No. 15-3
at 3. Pending the outcome of an investigation into
“annual and monthly preventive maintenance” work
that he was tasked with performing at a Metrorail station
escalator unit, WMATA placed Mr. McMillan on administrative
leave in November 2008. Id. at 2. One month later,
WMATA terminated Mr. McMillan, citing his work-related
incidents and negligence in performing the maintenance work.
Id. at 2-3.
McMillan filed his first Title VII lawsuit against WMATA on
November 2, 2010 after filing a charge of discrimination with
the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
(“EEOC”) and receiving the EEOC's Dismissal
and Notice of Rights. McMillan I, 898 F.Supp.2d at
72 at 67. Mr. McMillan alleged, inter alia, that
WMATA retaliated against him from April 11, 2002 through June
10, 2008. Id. On October 12, 2012, this Court
granted WMATA's motion for summary judgment, id.
at 72, and entered final judgment in favor of WMATA, Order,
McMillan I, Civil Action 10-1867, ECF No. 22 at 1.
The Court found that: (1) WMATA was immune from Mr.
McMillan's constitutional claims, which the Court
construed as claims brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
McMillan I, 898 F.Supp.2d at 68-70; (2) Mr. McMillan
failed to exhaust his administrative remedies with respect to
several of the Title VII claims, except his retaliation claim
as to the termination, id. at 70-71; (3) WMATA
asserted a legitimate, nondiscriminatory explanation for its
discipline and termination of Mr. McMillan, id. at
72, and (4) Mr. McMillan failed to demonstrate that
WMATA's explanation was pretextual, and a reasonable jury
could not find that WMATA's stated reasons were
pretextual, id. On October 31, 2012, Mr. McMillan
filed a Notice of Appeal, Pl.'s Notice of Appeal,
McMillan I, Civil Action 10-1867, ECF No. 24 at 1.
The D.C. Circuit dismissed the appeal for lack of prosecution
because Mr. McMillan failed to respond to an Order to Show
Cause. Order, McMillan v. Wash. Metro. Area Transit
Auth., No. 12-7117 (D.C. Cir. Feb. 14, 2013).
than five years later, Mr. McMillan, proceeding pro
se, filed a new complaint against WMATA, alleging
discrimination and “malfeasance” in WMATA's
General Counsel's Office, the EEOC, and the United States
District Court. Compl., ECF No. 1 at 1. WMATA filed a motion
to dismiss on November 9, 2018. See Def.'s Mot.
to Dismiss, ECF No. 6 at 1. WMATA moves to dismiss Mr.
McMillan's complaint on two grounds: (1) the Court lacks
subject matter jurisdiction over this case because Mr.
McMillan's complaint is barred by res judicata,
id.; and (2) the complaint fails to state a claim
upon which relief can be granted, Def.'s Mem. of Law in
Support of Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss (“Def.'s
Mem.”), ECF No. 6-1 at 4. Mr. McMillan filed his
opposition brief on December 13, 2018, Pl.'s Opp'n,
ECF No. 10 at 1, and WMATA filed its reply brief on December
18, 2018, see Def.'s Reply, ECF No. 11. The
motion is ripe and ready for the Court's adjudication.
pleadings of pro se parties, such as the plaintiff
in the instant action, are “to be liberally construed,
. . . and a pro se complaint, however inartfully
pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal
pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (citations and internal
quotation marks omitted). Nevertheless, “[a]lthough a
court will read a pro se plaintiff's complaint
liberally, a pro se complaint must present a claim
on which the court can grant relief.” Chandler v.
Roche, 215 F.Supp.2d 166, 168 (D.D.C. 2002).
Failure to State a Claim
Rule 12(b)(6) motion tests the legal sufficiency of a
complaint[.]” Browning v. Clinton, 292 F.3d
235, 242 (D.C. Cir. 2002). A complaint must contain “a
short and plain statement of the claim showing that the
pleader is entitled to relief, ” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2),
“in order to give the defendant fair notice of what the
. . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests, ”
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)
(citation and internal quotation marks omitted). “[T]he
complaint is construed liberally in the plaintiff['s]
favor, and [the Court] grant[s] [the] plaintiff[ ] the
benefit of all inferences that can be derived from the facts
alleged.” Kowal v. MCI Comm'cns Corp., ...