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Mansfield v. Kerry

United States District Court, D. Maryland

December 21, 2016

JOHN KERRY, Secretary, U.S. Department of State


          DEBORAH K. CHASANOW United States District Judge.

         Presently pending and ready for resolution in this employment discrimination case are the following motions: (1) a motion to dismiss or, in the alternative, for summary judgment filed by Defendant John Kerry (“Defendant”), Secretary of the United States Department of State (the “Agency”) (ECF No. 8); and (2) a cross-motion for partial summary judgment filed by Plaintiff Charles G. Mansfield (“Plaintiff”) (ECF No. 14). The issues have been briefed, and the court now rules, no hearing being deemed necessary. Local Rule 105.6. For the following reasons, Defendant's motion for summary judgment will be granted, and Plaintiff's motion for partial summary judgment will be denied.

         I. Background[1]

         Plaintiff, an African American man, is a retired Agency employee who applied for an Agency Personal Services Contractor, Program Analyst position (GS-0080-13/13) on the Field Support Branch (“FSB”), Vacancy Announcement DS-2011-0230, in 2011. (ECF No. 8-2, at 43-46, 53-67). The job announcement included the four factors upon which the candidates would be evaluated:

A. Experience applying Federal rules, regulations, and policies related to procurement and acquisition activities.
B. Experience researching and analyzing data and information to produce forecast plans and reports.
C. Experience providing quotes, justifications, requisitions and funding information to vendors pertaining to procurement activities.
D. Knowledge of the Federal budgetary rules, regulations and process to provide expert advice and guidance.

         (ECF Nos. 12-4, at DOS-0046; 8-2, at 95, 114). The Agency's human resources department created a Certificate of Eligibles from the applications, which included Plaintiff and four other candidates. (ECF No. 8-2, at 130-31). The Certificate of Eligibles included the five candidates' scores on “job-specific self-assessment questions, ” answered online as part of the application process. (See ECF Nos. 12-4, at DOS-0047; 8-2, at 130-31, 101-02). Plaintiff had the second-highest self- assessment score, and Charles Segrist, Jr., a Caucasian man, had the lowest score. The Certificate of Eligibles was sent to the selecting official, FSB Branch Chief Tamika Abbott. (ECF No. 8-2, at 91-93). FSB Section Chief Rickey Fergerson assisted Ms. Abbott in reviewing the candidates' applications, but did not play a role in making the selection decision for the Program Analyst position. (Id. at 92, 104). Both Ms. Abbott and Mr. Fergerson are African American. (Id. at 91, 104).

         Ms. Abbott reviewed the application materials and ranked the eligible candidates based on her determination of the extent to which each candidate satisfied the four evaluation factors. (Id. at 93, 95). Ms. Abbott did not interview any of the candidates. (See Id. at 93; ECF No. 12-9, at 3). Ms. Abbott ranked Mr. Segrist first and Plaintiff fourth, and Mr. Segrist was selected for the Program Analyst position. (ECF No. 8-2, at 93, 95). Plaintiff was informed that he was not selected for the position on May 3, 2011. (Id. at 44).

         On May 9, Plaintiff contacted an Agency Equal Employment Opportunity (“EEO”) counselor. (Id. at 16). A Notice of Right to File a Discrimination Complaint was issued to Plaintiff on August 10. (Id. at 28-29). On August 23, Plaintiff filed a formal EEO complaint with the Agency Office of Civil Rights. (Id. at 13-15). The Agency Office of Civil Rights issued a Final Agency Decision determining that Plaintiff did not establish his claims of discrimination on July 7, 2013. (See ECF No. 12-8, at 1). Plaintiff appealed to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the Office of Federal Operations affirmed on March 11, 2015. Plaintiff requested reconsideration, which was denied on September 3, 2015.

         On December 2, 2015, Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, filed a complaint asserting racial discrimination for failing to hire him in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq. (ECF No. 1). On April 1, 2016, Defendant moved to dismiss or for summary judgment. (ECF No. 8). Plaintiff was provided with a Roseboro notice (ECF No. 9), which advised him of the pendency of the motion to dismiss and his entitlement to respond within seventeen 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). Plaintiff opposed the motion (ECF No. 12), filed a separate “proposed findings of fact” and a “response to Defendant's proposed finding of fact” (ECF Nos. 13; 15), and moved for partial summary judgment (ECF No. 14). Defendant replied and opposed Plaintiff's motion in his reply brief. (ECF No. 16).

         II. Standard of Review

         Defendant's motion is styled as a motion to dismiss, or in the alternative, for summary judgment. A court considers only the pleadings when deciding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion. Where the parties present matters outside of the pleadings and the court considers those matters as it does here, the court will treat the motion ...

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