United States District Court, District of Columbia
Colleen Kollar-Kotelly United States District Judge.
Richard Wayne Dye brings a claim of retaliation under Title
VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 against Michael Richard
Pompeo, in his official capacity as the Secretary of the
United States Department of State (“State
Department”), and Miracle Systems, LLC. Plaintiff
contends that Defendants retaliated against him by
terminating his employment after he complained about a
hostile work environment created by his supervisor, Jeff
Mayberry. Defendant State Department has moved for dismissal,
arguing that Plaintiff cannot bring a Title VII claim against
the State Department because Plaintiff was never an employee
of the State Department.
consideration of the pleadings, the relevant legal authorities,
and the record for purposes of this motion, the Court GRANTS
Defendant State Department's Motion. The Court finds
that, in his Amended Complaint, Plaintiff has failed to
allege facts sufficient to state a plausible claim that he
was an employee of the State Department. As such,
Plaintiff's claim against Defendant State Department is
DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.
purposes of a Motion to Dismiss, the Court accepts as true
the well-pled allegations in Plaintiff's Amended
Complaint. The Court does “not accept as true, however,
the plaintiff's legal conclusions or inferences that are
unsupported by the facts alleged.” Ralls Corp. v.
Comm. on Foreign Inv. in the United States, 758 F.3d
296, 315 (D.C. Cir. 2014).
Amended Complaint, Plaintiff states that he “is and at
all times relevant hereto was a contractor with the U.S.
Department of State since 2005.” Am. Compl., ECF No. 9,
¶ 7. Plaintiff's contracting company is Miracle
Systems, LLC, which is under contract with the State
Department to provide services in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Id. at ¶¶ 8-9.
Miracle Systems, Plaintiff worked as a K-9 Mentor on the
Antiterrorism Assistance Program. Id. at ¶ 10.
Plaintiff was supervised by Jeffery Mayberry, the Miracle
Systems Resident Program Manager. Id. at ¶ 11.
Plaintiff alleges that Manager Mayberry created a hostile
work environment for Plaintiff and others. Id. at
¶ 17. Plaintiff states that on or before December 13,
2017, he lodged a complaint against Manager Mayberry with his
first line supervisors, Sam Brooks, Miracle Systems Deputy
Resident Program Manager, and Mike Kuzmjak, Miracle Systems
team leader. Id. at ¶ 24. Plaintiff claims that
he was directed to file his complaint with the Human
Resources Department of Miracle Systems. Id. at
¶ 25. On December 15, 2017, Plaintiff filed a complaint
with Miracle Systems' Human Resources Department
concerning Manager Mayberry. Id. at ¶ 28.
to Plaintiff, from December 2017 to late January 2018, Willy
Straubhaar, a Program Manager at Miracle Systems,
investigated the complaint. Id. at ¶ 29. As a
result of the investigation, Manager Mayberry was terminated
on January 30, 2018. Id. at ¶ 31. Plaintiff
alleges that in February 2018 Manager Mayberry learned about
Plaintiff's complaint. Id. at ¶ 32. And, on
February 13, 2018, in a letter from the President and CEO of
Miracle Systems, Sandesh Sharda, Plaintiff was terminated
from his contract position. Id. at ¶ 33.
Plaintiff requested, but did not receive, a written reason
for his termination. Id. at ¶ 34. Plaintiff
alleges that he was told by Mr. Straubhaar that he was
terminated at the direction of State Department personnel
Mike Otis and Anne Brunn who were going “in a new
direction.” Id. at ¶¶ 35,
February 26, 2018, Plaintiff contacted his Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) counselor and
filed a charge of discrimination related to his termination
from employment. Id. at ¶ 58. More than 180
days have passed, and his claim is still pending before the
EEOC. Id. at ¶ 59. Plaintiff filed this lawsuit
on June 5, 2019.
State Department moves to dismiss the claim in
Plaintiff's Amended 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.
is only one issue before the Court in resolving Defendant
State Department's Motion to Dismiss. Both parties agree
that Title VII “cover[s] only those individuals in a
direct employment relationship with a government employer.
Individuals who are independent contractors or those not
directly employed by such an employer are unprotected.”
Spirides v. Reinhardt, 613 F.2d 826, 829 (D.C. Cir.
1979). As such, the only dispute between the parties is as to
whether or not Plaintiff qualifies as an employee of the
State Department. Because the Court concludes that Plaintiff
has not alleged facts sufficient to establish that he
qualifies as an employee of the State Department,
Plaintiff's Title VII claim against Defendant State
Department must be dismissed for failure to state a claim for
which relief may be granted.
to considering the merits of Defendant State Department's
Motion to Dismiss, the Court must address a threshold issue.
In his Opposition, Plaintiff relies on facts alleged in an
attached affidavit. Ex. 1, ECF No. 12-1. The facts alleged in
Plaintiff's affidavit are not alleged in his Amended
Complaint. “In determining whether a complaint fails to
state a claim, [the court] may consider only the facts
alleged in the complaint, any documents either attached to or
incorporated in the complaint and matters of which [the
court] may take judicial notice.” EEOC v. St.
Francis Xavier Parochial Sch., 117 F.3d 621, 624 (D.C.
Cir. 1997); see also English v. D.C., 717 F.3d 968,
971 (D.C. Cir. 2013) (same). As such, the Court is restricted
to the allegations in Plaintiff's Amended Complaint, and
any documents either attached to or incorporated in that
Amended Complaint. Plaintiff's affidavit makes
allegations which are not made in his Amended Complaint or in
any document either attached to or incorporated in that
Amended Complaint. As such, Plaintiff cannot rely on facts
alleged in his later-filed affidavit to supplement a
factually-deficient Amended Complaint. See Lane v.
D.C., 211 F.Supp.3d 150, 159 ...