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.
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.
consideration of the pleadings, 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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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).
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. ...