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Gaines v. Martin

United States District Court, D. Maryland

April 23, 2014

JUANITA GAINES, Plaintiff,
v.
HENRY MARTIN, et al. Defendants.

MEMORANDUM

JAMES K. BREDAR, District Judge.

Juanita Gaines ("Plaintiff") brought this suit against John Anderson, Henry Martin, and Jason Gruz (collectively, "Individual Defendants"), as well as the State of Maryland ("Maryland" and, together with Individual Defendants, "Defendants") alleging discrimination on the basis of sex and retaliation in violation of (1) Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e, et seq., (2) 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and (3) the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Now pending before the Court is Defendants' motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction and failure to state a claim for which relief can be granted (ECF No. 31). The issues have been briefed and no hearing is required. Local Rule 105.6. For the reasons set forth below, the motion will be granted.

I. BACKGROUND[1]

Plaintiff is a deputy sheriff with the Baltimore City Sheriff's Office ("BCSO"), who was assigned to the Special Operations Unit ("SOU"). The SOU is charged with "high profile duties including executing warrants, [] making arrests on those warrants, and working with state prosecutors [to] provid[e] protection to witnesses." (Am. Compl. at ¶ 26.) The SOU is considered a prestigious unit, which affords deputy sheriffs an opportunity for rapid career advancement. ( Id. ) Plaintiff was the only female in the SOU and received awards and citations for her work. ( Id. )

On September 15, 2008, Plaintiff was executing a warrant with other deputy sheriffs in the SOU when Deputy James Lane was shot in the face. ( Id. at ¶ 27.) An investigation of this incident concluded that Deputy Lane was shot by the subject of the warrant. ( Id. )

Following the incident, Plaintiff was on medical leave.[2] ( Id. at ¶ 28.) During her leave, she discussed the shootout with other deputy sheriffs who were at the scene and came to the conclusion that Deputy Lane had, in fact, probably been shot by a certain fellow deputy. ( Id. )

Plaintiff returned to work around November 24, 2008. ( Id. at ¶ 29.) Upon returning, the deputy whom she suspected of having shot Deputy Lane asked her to accompany him on an assignment. ( Id. ) Plaintiff declined, and the deputy reported Plaintiff to a Major. ( Id. ) On orders from Defendant Anderson (the Baltimore City Sheriff) and Defendant Martin (the Chief Deputy Sheriff) the Major reassigned Plaintiff to the Domestic Violence Unit of the BCSO. ( Id. ) Despite repeated requests to individuals throughout the BCSO chain of command, Plaintiff was unable to learn why she had been transferred. ( Id. )

Following the transfer, Plaintiff lodged a complaint with the Inspector General for Baltimore City. ( Id. ) Defendant Anderson then reversed the transfer and around May 15, 2009, Plaintiff returned to the SOU. ( Id. )

On or about March 1, 2010, Defendant Gruz, a white male became Plaintiff's immediate supervisor. ( Id. at ¶ 31.) Gruz immediately showed a disdain for Plaintiff and gave Plaintiff's colleagues-all of them male-the choice assignments-namely those that provided an opportunity for overtime pay. ( Id. at ¶ 31.) As a result of this policy, Plaintiff lost nearly 25% of her compensation. ( Id. ) This policy also adversely affected Plaintiff's ability to advance her career. ( Id. )

About two weeks later, at the direction of Anderson and Martin, Gruz announced that all of the deputy sheriffs in the SOU would be required to "reapply for their positions in the unit, or request transfers to other units." ( Id. at ¶ 32.) Again, despite repeated requests to individuals throughout the BCSO chain of command, Plaintiff was unable to learn why this policy was put in place. ( Id. ) However, "[u]pon information and belief Anderson and Martin implemented the reapplication process initiative as a subterfuge which would lead to Plaintiff's removal from the SOU and her eventual resignation from the BCSO." ( Id. at ¶ 33.)

Plaintiff reapplied for the SOU but was not scheduled for an interview. ( Id. at ¶ 34.) On March 29, 2010, she asked Martin why she had not been offered an interview. ( Id. ) "Martin pretended not to know why [this was]." ( Id. ) Plaintiff suggested to Martin that "Anderson through Martin and the other managers and supervisors of Plaintiff's chain of command intended to remove her from the SOU because of her contention that Deputy Lane was shot by a fellow Deputy during the September 2008 incident. Martin did not dispute or disagree with her assertion." ( Id. )

Also on March 29, 2010 Plaintiff filed an intake questionnaire with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") alleging discrimination on the basis of race and sex. (ECF No. 18-2 at 3.) This was followed by a charge of discrimination, filed with the Maryland Commission on Human Relations ("MCHR") and the EEOC on July 9, 2010, that alleged discrimination on the basis of sex and retaliation. ( Id. at 6.)[3]

On or about April 16, 2010, Anderson and Martin directed their subordinates to transfer Plaintiff into the Juvenile Justice Center. (Am. Compl. at ¶ 35.) Plaintiff was the only deputy sheriff transferred out of the SOU. ( Id. ) At the Juvenile Justice Center, she was assigned to duties generally assigned to more junior deputies and civilians. ( Id. ) This transfer was "a significant setback to Plaintiff's career track." ( Id. ) It was "punitive [] and was intended to force her to resign." ( Id. )

Plaintiff also alleges that she was retaliated against "for among other things complaining about adverse personnel and disciplinary action, complaining to the Inspector General and filing a charge of discrimination with the EEOC. " ( Id. at ¶ 47.) Plaintiff alleges that on a number of occasions, her superiors disciplined her as a ...


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