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.

White v. Washington Intern Student Housing

United States District Court, District of Columbia

July 29, 2019

JOSHUA WHITE, Plaintiff
v.
WASHINGTON INTERN STUDENT HOUSING, et al., Defendants

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          COLLEEN KOLLAR-KOTELLY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff 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.

         On April 25, 2019, the Court issued an Order dismissing several of Plaintiff's claims against Defendants WISH and WMI. See April 25, 2019 Order, ECF No. 22. Following the Court's Order, the only claim remaining against Defendant WMI is Plaintiff's Count V negligent supervision and retention claim. The Court denied without prejudice Defendant WMI's prior motion to dismiss this claim as the parties had failed to brief a central issue. See April 25, 2019 Memorandum Opinion, ECF No. 23, 21-23. Defendant WMI now, again, moves to dismiss Plaintiff's Count V claim for negligent supervision and retention.

         Upon consideration of the pleadings[1], the relevant legal authorities, and the record for purposes of this motion, the Court GRANTS Defendant WMI's Motion. The Court finds that Plaintiff has failed to allege facts sufficient to state a plausible claim that WMI knew or should have known that Mr. Gelb engaged in dangerous or otherwise incompetent behavior prior to the alleged acts giving rise to Plaintiff's claims. As such, Plaintiff's Count V claim for negligent supervision and retention is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On April 25, 2019, the Court issued a Memorandum Opinion resolving Defendant WMI and Defendant WISH's initial motions to dismiss. For purposes of this Memorandum Opinion, the Court shall assume familiarity with, and incorporate herein, its April 25, 2019 Memorandum Opinion which describes in detail the factual background of this case. As such, the Court only briefly addresses those facts which are necessary to resolve Defendant WMI's instant motion.

         Plaintiff 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.

         Plaintiff 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. Finally, Plaintiff claims that he was fired by WISH after Mr. Gelb threatened to terminate WMI's contract with WISH unless Plaintiff was fired. Id. at ¶ 21.

         In Count V of his Complaint, Plaintiff brings a claim for negligent supervision and retention against Defendant WMI. Plaintiff states that Defendant “WMI knew or should have known that [Mr.] Gelb was unfit to work directly with Mr. White and posed a particular risk of sexually harassing Mr. White.” Id. at ¶ 57. Plaintiff further alleges that Defendant WMI's negligent supervision and retention of Mr. Gelb “was a substantial factor in causing harm to Mr. White.” Id. at ¶ 59. In the instant motion, Defendant WMI moves to dismiss Plaintiff's Count V claim for negligent supervision and retention.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         Defendant WMI moves to dismiss Count V 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.

         III. DISCUSSION

         The only issue currently before the Court is Defendant WMI's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Count V claim for negligent supervision and retention. In order to state a claim for negligent supervision and retention, the plaintiff must allege facts sufficient to support the inference that the employer knew or should have known that the employee behaved in a dangerous or otherwise incompetent manner prior to the conduct giving rise to the claim and that, despite this actual or constructive knowledge, the employer failed to adequately supervise the employee. See Giles v. Shell Oil Corp., 487 A.2d 610, 613 (D.C. 1985).

         In his Complaint, Plaintiff makes the conclusory allegation that Defendant “WMI knew or should have known that [Mr.] Gelb was unfit to work directly with Mr. White and posed a particular risk of sexually harassing Mr. White.” Compl., ECF No. 2, ¶ 57. This conclusory allegation alone is insufficient to create a plausible claim for relief as Plaintiff has alleged no facts explaining how Defendant WMI “knew or should have known” that Mr. Gelb posed a risk to Plaintiff. Instead, Plaintiff contends that, “[b]y virtue of [Mr.] Gelb's position as the Director of WMI, WMI was aware of and ratified Gelb's conduct and found it an acceptable part of his employment.” Id. ...


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.