United States District Court, District of Columbia
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Randolph D. Moss, United States District Judge.
Christopher Chin-Young, proceeding pro se, commenced
this suit on August 21, 2018, alleging that, while deployed
to Kabul, Afghanistan as a civilian employee in the
Afghanistan Ministry of Defense Advisors (“MoDA”)
program, he was subject to discrimination on the basis of his
race, color, sex, national origin, and age. See Dkt.
1 at 3-4, 6; Dkt. 15 at 4, Dkt. 15-1 at 2. Defendants move,
with respect to the Secretary of the Air Force, to dismiss
for failure to state a claim, Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), and,
with respect to the Secretary of Defense, to dismiss for
improper venue, Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(3), or, in the
alternative, to transfer the case to the Eastern District of
Virginia. Dkt. 11 at 1. Because the alleged discrimination
did not take place in the Air Force and because Plaintiff was
not in an employment relationship with the Air Force, the
Court will dismiss all claims against the Secretary of the
Air Force; and because the District of Columbia is the
improper venue for Plaintiff's Title VII claims, the
Court will transfer all remaining claims to the Eastern
District of Virginia.
purpose of Defendants' Motion to Dismiss or to Transfer
Venue, Dkt. 11, the Court must accept as true all factual
allegations set forth in the complaint. See Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (per curiam); James
v. Booz-Allen, 227 F.Supp.2d 16, 20 (D.D.C. 2002).
Moreover, district courts may “generally . . .
‘consider supplemental material filed by a pro se
litigant in order to clarify the precise claims being
urged' in [his] complaint.” Crawford v.
Duke, 867 F.3d 103, 108 (D.C. Cir. 2017) (quoting
Greenhill v. Spellings, 482 F.3d 569, 572 (D.C. Cir.
2007)). In an effort to understand Plaintiff's claims,
the Court has therefore considered all of the materials he
submitted along with his complaint and his explication of the
complaint in his opposition brief. See Fillmore v. AT
& T Mobility Servs. LLC, 140 F.Supp.3d 1, 2 (D.D.C.
2015) (citing Brown v. Whole Foods, 789 F.3d 146,
152 (D.C. Cir. 2015) (noting that courts should consider
“the facts alleged in all of [a pro
se plaintiff's] pleadings” when evaluating a
defendant's motion to dismiss) (emphasis in original)).
July 3, 2014 until August 29, 2014, Plaintiff was deployed to
Kabul, Afghanistan as part of the Department of Defense's
MoDA program. Dkt. 1-2 at 1, 2, 21, 34; Dkt. 15 at 4; Dkt.
15-1 at 1. He served as a Senior Information Communications
Technology advisor. Dkt. 15 at 4. The deployment was intended
to continue for one year but could have been extended for up
to two years. Dkt. 15 at 4-5; see also Dkt. 1-2 at
2, 34; Dkt. 1 at 4. Plaintiff alleges that two individuals
with whom he served in Afghanistan-Dr. Warner, a civilian
employee of the Department of Defense Information Systems
Agency, and Colonel Gale, a United States Air Force
officer-discriminated against him on the basis of his race,
color, sex, national origin, and age, which led to the
premature curtailment of his deployment after only two
months. Dkt. 1 at 5; Dkt. 1-2 at 14, 35; Dkt. 15 at 5.
filed two separate Equal Employment Opportunity
(“EEO”) complaints about the alleged
discrimination and his early return from Afghanistan-one with
the Department of Defense Information Systems Agency, and one
with the Air Force, presumably as the employers,
respectively, of Dr. Warner and Colonel Gale. Dkt. 1-2 at
2-3; Dkt. 15 at 6. The Air Force referred the matter to the
Army, and the Department of Defense Information Systems
Agency docketed the matter. Dkt. 1-2 at 7. Plaintiff brought
his EEO complaint against the Army to the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), id. at
2, 7, 32, and the EEOC administrative judge
(“AJ”) joined the Departments of Defense and the
Air Force as respondent agencies on March 24, 2017,
id. at 2, 32. Plaintiff subsequently requested a
hearing before the EEOC on the EEO complaint that he had
filed against the Department of Defense Information Systems
Agency. Id. at 2. The AJ dismissed that case on
January 5, 2018, on the ground that it was the subject of the
other EEOC proceeding, and Plaintiff appealed the dismissal.
Id. at 3. In the meantime, the AJ issued her order
and decision in the initial EEOC proceeding on April 6, 2018.
Id. at 31-37. She specifically addressed the actions
of Dr. Warner and Colonel Gale and granted summary judgment
to the agencies, finding “no evidence to suggest a
connection between Complainant's race, color, national
origin, sex, and/or age and the events underlying his
complaint.” Id. at 35-36.
16, 2018, the Army issued its Final Agency Action, in which
it informed Plaintiff that it had “decided to implement
[the EEOC AJ's decision].” Id. at 7-12.
The Final Agency Action advised Plaintiff of his right to
appeal to the EEOC Office of Federal Operations or to file an
action in federal court. Id. A few weeks later, the
EEOC Office of Federal Operations affirmed the dismissal of
Plaintiff's EEO complaint against the Department of
Defense Information Systems Agency, on the ground that the
claims had already been addressed. Id. at 3.
filed a pro se complaint for employment
discrimination against the Secretary of Defense and the
Secretary of the Air Force in this Court on August 21, 2018.
Dkt. 1. In response, Defendants moved to dismiss for failure
to state a claim and improper venue, or, in the alternative,
to transfer venue. Dkt. 11.
Failure to State a Claim
survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint
must contain “‘a short and plain statement of the
claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief,' 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)
(quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957));
accord Erickson, 551 U.S. at 93. Although
“detailed factual allegations” are not necessary
to withstand a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, a plaintiff
must furnish “more than labels and conclusions”
or “a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause
of action.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Instead,
the complaint's “[f]actual allegations must be
enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative
level, on the assumption that all the allegations in the
complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact).”
Id. (citations omitted).
similar standard governs a defendant's motion to dismiss
for improper venue. The Court must “accept[ ] the
plaintiff's well-pled factual allegations regarding venue
as true;” must “draw[ ] all reasonable inferences
from those allegations in the plaintiff's favor;”
and must “resolve[ ] any factual conflicts in the
plaintiff's favor.” Darby v. U.S. Dep't of
Energy, 231 F.Supp.2d 274, 276 (D.D.C. 2002) (citation
omitted). The plaintiff, however, “‘bears the
burden of establishing that venue is proper, '”
Varma v. Gutierrez, 421 F.Supp.2d 110, 113 (D.D.C.
2006) (quoting Freeman v. Fallin, 254 F.Supp.2d 52,
56 (D.D.C. 2003)), and must offer more than mere legal