United States District Court, District of Columbia
ERNEST A. THOMAS, Plaintiff,
WASHINGTON METROPOLITAN AREA TRANSIT AUTHORITY, et al., Defendants.
Y L. FRIEDRICH, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
plaintiff Ernest Thomas brings this action against his
employer, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
(WMATA), under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and
the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA).
Thomas alleges that WMATA rejected his application to serve
as Deputy Chief Vehicle Engineer because of his national
origin and age, and in retaliation for his previous
discrimination complaints. Before the Court are Thomas's
and WMATA's cross-motions for summary judgment.
WMATA's Mot., Dkt. 23; Thomas's Cross-Mot. (Apr. 12,
2019), Dkt. 27; Thomas's Cross-Mot. (May 13, 2019), Dkt.
28. For the reasons that follow, the Court will grant
WMATA's motion and deny Thomas's cross-motions.
a 64-year-old of Liberian nationality, works for WMATA as a
Senior Vehicle Engineer. WMATA's Statement of Material
Facts ¶¶ 2-3, Dkt. 23-1; Thomas's Resp.
¶¶ 1-2, Dkt. 26. In January 2017, Thomas applied
for the position of Deputy Chief Vehicle Engineer.
WMATA's Statement of Material Facts ¶ 6;
Thomas's Resp. ¶ 2. The job description previously
required a bachelor's degree in engineering and at least
ten years of “progressively responsible and diversified
engineering management, analysis, and contract oversight
experience . . . for a large transit organization.”
Nov. 26, 2013 Position Description at 3, Dkt. 23-5. When
Thomas applied for the position in January 2017, however, the
description had been revised to require a bachelor's
degree in engineering and at least ten years of experience
“for a large transit organization or other engineering
firm business experience within the private sector (e.g.,
consultant, car builder, sub-supplier[, ] or major
contractor).” Jan. 10, 2017 Position Description at 4,
Thomas's resume was forwarded to Chief Vehicle Engineer
Sachit Kakkar for review, Thomas was not selected for an
interview. WMATA's Statement of Material Facts
¶¶ 5, 7; Thomas's Resp. ¶ 2. Instead,
Kakkar and two other WMATA employees interviewed Anthony
Johnson and Curtis Moses, and on March 7, 2017, Johnson was
named as Deputy Chief Vehicle Engineer. Selection Memo at
1-2, Dkt. 23-7. According to WMATA, Johnson was selected for
an interview (and ultimately for the position) because he had
over 17 years of transit experience and ten years of
engineering management experience in a rail-oriented firm.
WMATA's Mot. at 2, 6. Thomas, by contrast, had
substantial experience in the telecommunications industry but
did not have ten years of transit or rail-oriented
engineering management experience. Id.; see
also Thomas's Dep. at 13, Dkt. 23-3.
here, Thomas filed two other complaints alleging
discrimination by WMATA in 2014 and 2015. Thomas's Aff.
¶¶ 12, 17, Dkt. 26-1. He also filed a third
complaint in June 2017 following Johnson's selection for
the position of Deputy Chief Vehicle Engineer. Id.
2017, Thomas sued WMATA, Kakkar, WMATA General Manager and
Chief Executive Officer Paul Weidefeld, and WMATA Chief of
Internal Business Operations John Kuo, alleging national
origin and age discrimination as well as retaliation under
Title VII and the ADEA. Compl., Dkt. 1. The Court later
granted in part and denied in part a motion to dismiss. Apr.
9, 2018 Order, Dkt. 8. It dismissed several of Thomas's
claims, but it permitted his Title VII claims against WMATA
and his ADEA claims for prospective injunctive relief against
the individual defendants in their official capacities to
proceed. Id. at 1. The parties have now cross-moved
for summary judgment. WMATA's Mot.; Thomas's
judgment is appropriate if the moving party “shows that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the
movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see also Anderson v. Liberty Lobby
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986). A
“material” fact is one that could affect the
outcome of the lawsuit. See Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S.
at 248; Holcomb v. Powell, 433 F.3d 889, 895 (D.C.
Cir. 2006). A dispute is “genuine” if a
reasonable jury could determine that the evidence warrants a
verdict for the nonmoving party. See Liberty Lobby,
477 U.S. at 248; Holcomb, 433 F.3d at 895. In
reviewing the record, the court “must draw all
reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party, and it
may not make credibility determinations or weigh the
evidence.” Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing
Prods., 530 U.S. 133, 150 (2000).
well established, however, that “a plaintiff opposing
summary judgment” must “substantiate [his
allegations] with evidence” that “a reasonable
jury could credit in support of each essential element of
h[is] claims.” Grimes v. District of Columbia,
794 F.3d 83, 94 (D.C. Cir. 2015). The moving party is
entitled to summary judgment if the nonmoving party
“fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the
existence of an element essential to that party's case,
and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at
trial.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317, 322 (1986).
Thomas is proceeding pro se, the Court will construe his
various filings together, see, e.g., Richardson
v. United States, 193 F.3d 545, 548 (D.C. Cir. 1999),
and it will hold him “to less stringent standards than
formal pleadings drafted by lawyers, ” Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972) (per curiam).
Thomas's National Origin and Age Discrimination
VII bars employers from “discriminat[ing] against any
individual with respect to his compensation, terms,
conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such
individual's . . . national origin.” 42 U.S.C.
§ 2000e-2(a)(1). Similarly, the ADEA bars employers from
“discriminat[ing] against any individual with respect
to his compensation, terms, ...