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Addison v. Dept. of The Navy

United States District Court, D. Maryland

March 20, 2015

ERNON ADDISON
v.
DEPT. OF THE NAVY

MEMORANDUM OPINION

DEBORAH K. CHASANOW, District Judge.

Presently pending and ready for resolution in this employment discrimination case is the motion to dismiss or, alternatively, for summary judgment filed by Defendant Department of the Navy, Bureau of Medicine ("Defendant" or "the Navy"). (ECF No. 16). The issues have been briefed, and the court now rules, no hearing being deemed necessary. Local Rule 105.6. For the following reasons, the motion will be granted.

I. Background

The thorny procedural history in this case has been set forth in prior orders, but will be discussed here for clarity purposes. From 1995 until his termination in December 2010, Plaintiff worked as a computer operator in the Operations Division, Operations and Network Support Department with the National Naval Medical Center. Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, filed the instant lawsuit on March 20, 2013, against the Department of the Navy, Bureau of Medicine. The complaint alleges that Plaintiff was discriminated against based on national origin under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and includes as the only "supporting facts" that "[t]he cause and/or source of past situations at work 1995-2010." (ECF No. 1, at 2). Plaintiff asserted that he filed administrative charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") from 1998 to 2010. ( Id. at 3). He sought full retirement benefits, back pay, reinstatement to his former position, and $20, 000, 000 in monetary damages. ( Id. at 3-4).

Plaintiff filed another action on March 20, 2013 against the same Defendant, seeking to appeal a decision of an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") with regard to lost wages, termination of job, and assault. See Addison v. Dep't of Navy, Civil Action No. DKC 13-856 (D.Md.). He stated in this complaint that he suffered continued assaults and retaliation by co-workers and managers and alleged that the staff was instructed to do so by human resource personnel. ( Id. at ECF No. 1, at 2). Plaintiff alleged that he was assigned harder, new procedures to complete, his schedule was changed, he was given false write-ups, he was assaulted by several co-workers, and he was stripped of his work station. ( Id. ). He again sought lost wages, $20, 000, 000 in monetary damages, and other miscellaneous relief. ( Id. at 3).

On April 1, 2013, the court consolidated the cases, granted Plaintiff leave to proceed in forma pauperis, closed Case No. 13-856, and afforded him an additional twenty-eight (28) days to supplement his consolidated complaint to demonstrate that he had exhausted administrative remedies as to his Title VII claims. (ECF No. 3). On April 25, 2013, Plaintiff filed a timely motion for extension of time to file his supplemental complaint. The motion was granted, extending the deadline to June 25, 2013. (ECF No. 5). On July 5, 2013, the court dismissed the complaint without prejudice because Plaintiff did not file any supplement as directed by the court. (ECF No. 6).

On July 22, 2013, however, Plaintiff filed a motion to stay the case while he filed an administrative appeal. (ECF No. 7). He stated that he never received a "final order, " allegedly served on him by the EEOC in June of 2013, and indicated that he wished to finalize his appeal before moving on with his federal complaint. ( Id. ). Attached to the motion to stay were documents purportedly served by and on the EEOC. (ECF No. 7-1). The motion to stay made no reference to the prior dismissal of the case or to the current status of his administrative review before any EEOC Office.

Affording the self-represented Plaintiff the benefit of the doubt, on November 6, 2013, the court reopened the case and gave Plaintiff an additional thirty days to "inform the court whether he wishes to proceed with his appeal at the EEOC or with his employment discrimination case." (ECF No. 8). He was cautioned that "if he wished to proceed with his administrative appeal process at the EEOC, he [could] not resort to the federal court process at the same time." ( Id. ).

That same day, the court received a document construed as Plaintiff's supplemental complaint. (ECF No. 9). The document provides the alleged history of Plaintiff's employment with the United States Navy and the difficulties he experienced with coworkers and supervisors starting in 1995 through 2010. Attached to the document are seventy-eight pages of materials which appear to relate to a series of interviews conducted by the Navy in 1997, Plaintiff's discrimination complaints from 1997 to 2000, a newspaper article, a series of emails from 2000, 2005, 2009 & 2010, performance appraisals, and Plaintiff's pay statements. ( See ECF No. 9-2).

Finally, on December 5, 2013, Plaintiff filed a document labeled as a "request regarding continuance with Case No. DKC-13-846, [p]roceed." (ECF No. 10). He states that there has been no response to his notice of appeal and that several investigations have been conducted regarding his administrative complaints. He proceeds to discuss his worsening employment experiences and the difficulties he has undergone with coworkers. Plaintiff asks that his case "go on with all due respect." (ECF No. 10).

On January 30, 2014, the court issued an order stating: "[t]his court has generously construed Plaintiff's filings and afforded him every opportunity to directly respond to court directives. At this late juncture, the undersigned finds that it makes sense to obtain a response from Defendant." (ECF No. 11). The court directed that a summons and complaint be served on Defendant, and summonses were issued and served. (ECF Nos. 12-15, 25). Defendant moved to dismiss or for summary judgment on April 3, 2014. (ECF No. 16). Plaintiff was provided with a Roseboro notice (ECF No. 17), which advised him of the pendency of the motion to dismiss and his entitlement to respond within seventeen (17) days from the date of the letter. Roseboro v. Garrison, 528 F.2d 309, 310 (4th Cir.1975) (holding pro se plaintiffs should be advised of their right to file responsive material to a motion for summary judgment). After obtaining an extension of time, Plaintiff opposed the motion on May 21, 2014. (ECF No. 20). Defendant did not file a reply.

II. Analysis

A. Events Preceding March 2009 EEO Complaint

As indicated above, the complaint in Case No. 13-846 alleges that Plaintiff was discriminated against based on national origin, and includes as the only "supporting facts" that "[t]he cause and/or source of past situations at work 1995-2010." (ECF No. 1, at 2). Noting that there may be exhaustion and timeliness issues with the complaint, the court - in an order issued on April 1, 2013 - directed Plaintiff to supplement his complaint to set out in a straightforward manner: (1) how he has administratively exhausted each and every claim before the appropriate federal agency; and (2) whether has filed his district court claims in a timely manner. ( See ECF No. 3). He filed a supplement on November 6, 2013, which is a far cry from a model of clarity, does not comply with the court's clear directive, and does not include any factual allegations pertaining to his discrimination claim based on national origin. ( See ECF No. 9).

A review of the exhibits attached to Defendants' motion reveals the following chain of events. Plaintiff filed an EEO complaint on March 11, 2009 alleging discrimination based on race, sex, and retaliation. In his complaint supplement and opposition to Defendants' motion, however, Plaintiff references events dating back to 1995, when he first began employment with the Department of the Navy. Plaintiff may not litigate his entire employment history and may not rely on any claims pertaining to prior EEO Complaint (filed before the March 2009 complaint which forms the basis of his instant suit), because those claims are time-barred. Defendant attaches the Report of Investigation[1] in connection with the March 2009 EEO Complaint, which indicates that sometime in 1997, Plaintiff purportedly filed ...


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