United States District Court, D. Maryland
KATHERINE B. ROBINSON and DANA B. WILLIAMS, Plaintiffs,
DEPT. of JUSTICE DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION VIRGINIA EMPLOYMENT COMMISSION, Defendants
J. HAZEL United States District Judge
Katherine B. Robinson, a resident of Virginia, filed the
above-captioned action on August 19, 2016, together with a
motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis. ECF 1 and 3.
Because she appears to be indigent, Plaintiff Robinson's
Motion to Proceed in Forma Pauperis shall be granted.
Co-Plaintiff Dana B. Williams, who also resides in Virginia,
did not file a civil filing fee, nor did he complete a Motion
to Proceed in Forma Pauperis. For reasons apparent herein,
Plaintiff Williams will not be required to correct this
deficiency, and instead shall be dismissed without prejudice
from this case.
states that she was an employee of the DEA for 25 years
before she was terminated on June 3, 1998. ECF No. 1 at p.
10. She asserts that during her employment at the DEA, she
"was sexually harassed by [her] immediate supervisor,
Don Ellis ["Ellis"], " and that she reported
this harassment to her "next level supervisor, Otto
Lewis ["Lewis"], " and "to EEO."
Id. at p. 6. According to Robinson, Lewis called a
meeting for the three of them, where Ellis admitted that he
had sexually harassed Robinson. Id. After filing a
sexual harassment complaint, a copy of the complaint was sent
to her home, and "things started happen[ing] around
[her] desk at work and [at her] home." Id. at
p. 7. In particular, Robinson states that the lock on her
locker at work was changed so that she could not access her
purse and keys. Id. In addition, her car had a flat
tire, and "[t]hings from [her] home started showing up
in [her] desk draw[er], " which had been locked.
Robinson's view, "[t]he only way [she] could show
proof that things were happening to [her] at home and work
was to take pictures, " so she took pictures of her
office space, even though she "worked in a secure
department, " because, Robinson stated, "having
parties and taking pictures [at her office] [was] never a
problem." ECF No. 1 at pp. 7-8. Robinson was reported to
Lewis for taking photographs at work, and "Lewis asked
[her] to stop taking pictures." ECF No. 1 at p. 9. On
June 3, 1998, Robinson was terminated from her job
"pending investigation." ECF No. 1 at p. 10. Her
claim for unemployment benefits was rejected. Id.
Robinson claims that her job termination and disqualification
for unemployment benefits led to her inability to maintain
her Baltimore rental property, which was placed in
receivership and sold at public auction on February 18, 2014.
Id. Robinson claims the sale of the property is
improper, because she had paid the mortgage in full on May 6,
2011. ECF No. 1 at p. 11. She seeks $100 million from each
defendant for damages incurred due to the sale of the
28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1), an indigent litigant may
commence an action in federal court without prepaying the
filing fee. To guard against possible abuses of this
privilege, the statute requires a district court to dismiss
any claim that is frivolous or malicious, or fails to state a
claim on which relief may be granted. 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B)(i) and (ii). In this context, this court is
mindful of its obligation to liberally construe the pleadings
of pro se litigants. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551
U.S. 89, 94 (2007). In evaluating a pro se complaint, a
plaintiffs allegations are assumed to be true. Id.
at 93 (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S.544, 555-56 (2007)). Nonetheless, liberal construction
does not mean that a court can ignore a clear failure in the
pleading to allege facts which set forth a cognizable claim.
See Welter v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387
(4th Cir. 1990); see also Beaudett v. City of
Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278 (4th Cir. 1985) (stating a
district court may not "conjure up questions never
instant lawsuit closely parallels an action already
adjudicated in this court. On June 6, 2013, Robinson filed a
Complaint in the Circuit Court for Prince George's
County, Maryland against the Department of Justice
("DOJ") and the Drug Enforcement Administration
("DEA"), alleging many of the same facts alleged in
the instant case and similarly challenging her termination.
See Robinson v. Dept. of Justice, et ah, Civil
Action No. RWT-13-1945 (D. Md.), ECF Nos. 1, 2. On July 3,
2013, the Defendants removed the case to this Court. ECF No.
1. Their Motion to Dismiss Robinson's Complaint pursuant
to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1), 12(b)(5), and
12(b)(6) was granted on March 25, 2014. ECF Nos. 16 and 17.
No appeal was taken.
there has been a final judgment on the merits in a prior
suit; an identity of the cause of action in both the earlier
and the later suit; and an identity of parties or their
privies in the two suits, res judicata is
established. See Pension Ben. Guar. Corp. v.
Beverley, 404 F.3d 243, 248 (4th Cir. 2005). The
doctrine of res judicata precludes the assertion of
a claim after a judgment on the merits in a prior suit by the
same parties on the same cause of action. See Meekins v.
United Tramp. Union, 946 F.2d 1054, 1057 (4th Cir.
1991). In addition, "'[n]ot only does res judicata
bar claims that were raised and fully litigated, it prevents
litigation of all grounds for, or defenses to, recovery that
were previously available to the parties, regardless of
whether they were asserted or determined in the prior
proceeding.'" Id., quoting Peugeot
Motors of America, Inc. v. Eastern Auto Distributors,
Inc., 892 F.2d 355, 359 (4th Cir. 1989).
claims against the Department of Justice Drug Enforcement
Administration and Virginia Employment Commission were fully
and finally adjudicated. Robinson may not attempt to again
contest her job termination here.
extent that Robinson and Williams wish to pursue a claim
regarding the 2014 sale of the Baltimore City property
located at 3716 Springdale Avenue, they may do so by filing a
Complaint in the appropriate court, describing why the sale
was improper and naming the responsible parties. The
information provided in the instant Complaint is ...