United States District Court, District of Columbia
P. MEHTA UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE.
action removed from the District of Columbia Superior Court,
pro se Plaintiff Paula Victoria Whiting seeks $15
million in damages from her former employer, Defendant PAE
Labat-Anderson LLC. See Notice of Removal, ECF No.
1, Compl., ECF. No. 1-6 [hereinafter Compl.], at 1. She
alleges that one of her former supervisors, Shirley Phelps,
walked up behind her while she was typing at her desk, kissed
her on top of her head, and groped her chest and stomach.
Id. Defendant moves to dismiss on res
judicata and statute of limitations grounds. For the
reasons that follow, the court grants Defendant's motion.
claim fails first and foremost because she already brought
essentially the same challenge years ago and lost on the
merits. In Whiting v. Labat-Anderson, Inc.
(Whiting I), Plaintiff filed a Title VII sexual
harassment claim against Labat-Anderson, Inc., the
predecessor to Defendant,  based on the same incident at issue in
this case. See 926 F.Supp.2d 106 (D.D.C. 2013). The
court granted Labat-Anderson's motion for summary
judgment, finding that “the defendant took timely,
appropriate, and reasonable action in response to the
plaintiff's allegations of harassment, ” and that
there was no basis to impute liability for Ms. Phelps's
actions to the company. Id. at 117-19.
doctrine of res judicata, or claim preclusion, bars
a subsequent lawsuit “if there has been prior
litigation (1) involving the same claims or cause of action,
(2) between the same parties or their privies, and (3) there
has been a final, valid judgment on the merits, (4) by a
court of competent jurisdiction.” Smalls v. United
States, 471 F.3d 186, 192 (D.C. Cir. 2006). Each of
these four elements is met here. First, Whiting I
involved the same claim or cause of action as the instant
action because both cases stem from the same “nucleus
of facts.” Apotex, Inc. v. Food & Drug
Admin., 393 F.3d 210, 217 (D.C. Cir. 2004) (internal
quotation marks omitted); compare Compl. (alleging
that Shirley Phelps “walked up behind me while I was
typing at my desk . . . kissed me on [t]op of my head . . .
put her hands on my chest squeezed and playing with my chest
. . . slid her hands to the bottom of my stomach” and
“walked away” when Plaintiff “balled up my
fist . . . ready to hit her”), with Whiting I,
926 F.Supp.2d at 110 (describing Plaintiff's allegations
that Ms. Phelps approached Plaintiff “while she was
typing at her desk . . . grabbed the bottom of my stomach . .
. started kissing on my cheek and on the top of my head . . .
grabbing my chest . . . jiggling my chest, ” and that
Ms. Phelps “took off running” when Plaintiff
“turned to her with my fist”).
Whiting I involved the same parties or their
privies. Defendant is the successor to the defendant in
Whiting I, and Plaintiff does not dispute that
Defendant's interests were “adequately
represented” by its predecessor in the original action.
See Polsby v. Thompson, 201 F.Supp.2d 45, 48 (D.D.C.
2002) (discussing the requirements of privity); Pl.'s
Opp'n to Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss, ECF No. 5, at 1
(contending that “the new owners [bought] the company
and all its problems that come along with it”). Third,
Whiting I concluded with a final, merits judgment
that the defendant was not liable for sexual harassment.
See 926 F.Supp.2d at 117-19; see also Order
Granting Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss, Case No. 10-cv-898, ECF
No. 39. Fourth, the Whiting I court properly
possessed jurisdiction over the action. Therefore,
Whiting I precludes Plaintiffs present lawsuit.
addition, to the extent Plaintiffs sexual harassment claim is
premised on D.C. law, her Complaint is untimely. The District
of Columbia's anti-discrimination law requires a victim
of discrimination to file an action “within one year of
the unlawful discriminatory act, ” D.C. Code §
2-1403.16, and the alleged discriminatory act here took place
more than eleven years ago, on August 11, 2008, see
Compl. Ex. 1, at 5. Plaintiff identifies nothing that would
have tolled the statute of limitations for the past ten
years; thus, her Complaint is time-barred.
the court grants Defendant's Motion to Dismiss, ECF No.
2. A final, appealable order accompanies this Memorandum
 See Def.'s Mot. to
Dismiss Pl.'s Compl., ECF No. 2, Decl. of Bryant Snee,
ECF No. 2-2, ¶ 4.
 To the extent Plaintiff's
Complaint describes a different incident than the one at
issue in Whiting I, it is also precluded. The
incident would have occurred prior to the end of her 90-day
employment with Labat-Anderson and therefore could have been
brought in Whiting I. See Compl. Ex. 1, at 10-11
(noting that Plaintiff's employment ended on September
30, 2008, and that Plaintiff filed an Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) complaint on
November 10, 2008); see also Allen v. McCurry, 449
U.S. 90, 94, 101 (1980) ...