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Cohens v. State Department of Human Resources

United States District Court, D. Maryland, Northern Division

August 26, 2014

CHERYL F. COHENS, Plaintiff,
v.
STATE OF MARYLAND DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN RESOURCES, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

WILLIAM D. QUARLES, Jr., District Judge.

Cheryl F. Cohens[1] sued the Maryland Department of Human Resources (the "DHR")[2] for employment discrimination, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), [3] the Equal Pay Act of 1963 (the "EPA"), [4] the Maryland Equal Pay Act (the "MEPA"), [5] and Title 20 of the State Government Article of the Maryland Code ("Title 20")[6]. On March 19, 2013, this Court granted DHR's motion for summary judgment on Cohens's EPA and MEPA claims. On July 30, 2013, the Court granted summary judgment for DHR on Cohens's remaining claims. Pending are Cohens's motions for reconsideration of both orders and her motion for extension of time to appeal. No hearing is necessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2011). For the following reasons, Cohens's motions for reconsideration and motion for extension of time to appeal will be denied.

I. Background

A. Factual History[7]

Cohens, an African-American woman, was hired as an Administrative Officer II at the DHR on November 4, 1993. ECF No. 2 ¶ 6. On November 30, 1994, she was promoted to Administrative Officer III, Grade 15, Step 11. Id .; see ECF No. 6-2 at 24 ¶ 10.[8] On July 27, 2005, Frank Valenti, a white man, hired Cohens to work in the DHR's training unit ("HRDT"). ECF No. 6-2 at 24 ¶ 9.[9]

Three male trainers and another female trainer worked in HRDT. See ECF No. 6-2 at 22-24 ¶¶ 5-8; ECF No. 28 at 2. The other members of HRDT were Doctor Marian Davis-Foster, an African-American woman; Osceola Edmondson, an African-American man; Ron Forbes, a white man; and Barry Simon, a white man. ECF No. 6-2 at 22-24 ¶¶ 5-8. Edmondson has a bachelor of science in business and a master's in public administration; Forbes has a bachelor of science and a master's in education; and Simon has a bachelor of science in business administration. Id. ¶¶ 6-8. Cohens does not have a college degree. See Cohens Dep. at 61 (31:14-17, 32:6-9).

For the next four years, Cohens was denied pay increases and remained an Administrative Officer III. ECF No. 2 ¶ 7. After learning that she was earning less than her white, male colleagues, Cohens complained to Valenti. ECF No. 2 ¶¶ 8-9. Thereafter, Cohens believed that Valenti and her coworkers purposefully made the work environment difficult for her. ECF No. 2 ¶¶ 10-11; see ECF No. 10-1 at 4.

On July 11, 2009, Cohens submitted a letter of resignation, effective September 29, 2009 and "was not paid beyond that date." See ECF No. 2 ¶ 12; ECF No. 27 at 21; ECF No. 28 at 4. On December 15, 2009, Cohens submitted an intake questionnaire to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (the "EEOC"), alleging race and sex discrimination and retaliation. ECF No. 15-2 at 3. On March 2, 2010, Cohens filed a charge with the Maryland Commission on Human Relations (the "MCHR") and the EEOC, alleging race and sex discrimination and unequal pay. ECF No. 27 at 26 [hereinafter, "Discrimination Charge"]. On August 12, 2011, Cohens received a right-to-sue letter. ECF No. 2 ¶ 2.

B. Procedural History

On September 30, 2011, Cohens sued in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, Maryland, alleging race and gender discrimination and retaliation, in violation of the EPA (Count One), the MEPA (Count Two), Title VII (Count Three), and Title 20 (Count Four). ECF No. 2. On November 28, 2011, the DHR removed the lawsuit to this Court. ECF No. 1.[10] On December 5, 2011, the DHR moved to dismiss Cohens's retaliation claim, and for summary judgment on her remaining claims. ECF No. 6; ECF No. 6-1. On December 20, 2011, Cohens opposed the motion. ECF No. 10. On May 11, 2012, this Court granted in part and denied in part DHR's motion to dismiss and for summary judgment. ECF No. 12.[11]

On May 24, 2012, Cohens moved for reconsideration of the dismissal of her retaliation claims. ECF No. 15. On June 14, 2012, the DHR opposed the motion for reconsideration. ECF No. 18. On August 8, 2012, Cohens's counsel moved to withdraw. ECF No. 19. On August 9, 2012, this Court granted counsel's motion. ECF No. 20. That day, Cohens indicated she would proceed pro se. ECF No. 21.

On August 16, 2012, Cohens moved for summary judgment on her equal pay claims. ECF No. 23; see ECF No. 23-1 at 3; see also infra note 26. On September 6, 2012, the DHR opposed Cohens's motion and cross moved for summary judgment. ECF No. 27. On March 19, 2013, the Court denied Cohens's motion for reconsideration and granted DHR's cross motion for summary judgment on the equal pay claims. ECF. No. 55.

On November 1, 2012, DHR filed a motion for summary judgment on the remaining claims. ECF No. 45. On April 17, 2013, Cohens moved for reconsideration of the Court's March 19, 2013 order. See ECF No. 57. On July 30, 2013, the Court denied Cohens's motion for reconsideration and granted summary judgment for DHR on the remaining claims. ECF No. 61.

Cohens says that she did not receive notice of the Court's July 30, 2013 order until she called the court clerk on October 8, 2013 to inquire about the status of her case, the clerk then mailed Cohens notice on October 11, 2013. See ECF No. 71 at 1. On October 24, 2013, Cohens moved for reconsideration of the March 19, 2013 order and the July 30, 2013 order. ECF No. 65. On November 6, ...


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