United States District Court, D. Maryland
Theodore D. Chuang, United States District Judge.
Christopher Eastridge, who is self-represented, has filed
this civil action against Carolina Brost alleging
discrimination and tort claims arising out of his federal
employment on Joint Base Andrews, Maryland. The Court
construes his Complaint as raising claims pursuant to Title
VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§
2000e-2000e-17 (2012), the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29
U.S.C. §§ 701-796 (2012), and the Federal Tort
Claims Act ("FTCA"), 28 U.S.C. §§
1346(b), 2671-80 (2012). Pending before the Court is a Motion
to Substitute the United States as Defendant and Dismiss the
Complaint filed by the United States of America ("the
Government"). Having reviewed the submitted materials,
the Court finds that no hearing is necessary. See D.
Md. Local R. 105.6. For the reasons set forth below, the
Motion shall be granted.
is a federal employee at Joint Base Andrews. On September 17,
2018, Eastridge made an inquiry to the Equal Employment
Opportunity ("EEO") Office at Joint Base Andrews
about filing a complaint of employment discrimination. He
then filed the instant action in the District Court of
Maryland for Prince George's County on October 23, 2018.
Eastridge labeled his Complaint a tort action and alleges
that Brost, his supervisor, engaged in:
Sexual harassment, bullying, hostile work environment,
violating ADA rights. Not allowing me to go to work to a safe
environment to do my job and earn money to provide for my
family. Threats have been made on my safety and also when
asked for accommodations I was denied which are my right by
Federal & State Law. Loss of wages due to discrimination.
week later, on October 30, 2018, Eastridge filed a formal EEO
complaint with the United States Department of Defense
("DOD") which lists substantively the same
allegations as those in the lawsuit he had filed in state
court. In his EEO complaint, Eastridge checked the boxes for
discrimination the basis of race (Hispanic), color (olive),
sex (male), age (born in 1985), disability (mental), sexual
harassment, and reprisal for previous EEO activity. DOD
accepted the EEO complaint for investigation on November 7,
2018 and stated that it would complete its investigation
within 180 days, or by April 29, 2018.
December 7, 2018, while the DOD investigation was still
pending, the Government removed Eastridge's state court
case to this Court. After Eastridge failed to appear at a
case management conference, the Court granted the Government
leave to file the pending Motion. Eastridge never filed a
memorandum in opposition to the Motion.
Motion, the Government argues that: (1) the Government should
be substituted for Brost as the proper Defendant; (2)
Eastridge's FTCA claims are barred by the Civil Service
Reform Act ("CSRA"), 5 U.S.C. §§ 1201
et seq. (2012); and (3) Eastridge's Title VII
and Rehabilitation Act claims should be dismissed because
Eastridge has not exhausted available administrative
Substitution of Parties
Government argues that the United States should be
substituted in place of Brost, who should be dismissed from
the case. For FTCA claims, a substitution is warranted when
the Attorney General has certified that a defendant employee
was acting within the scope of employment at the time of the
incident in question. See 28 U.S.C. §
2679(d)(.). The Attorney General has delegated the authority
to make such a certification to the United States Attorneys.
See 28 C.F.R. § 15.4(a) (2018). The Government
has attached such a certification by the United States
Attorney for the District of Maryland to its Motion. For
Title VII claims based on employment discrimination,
supervisors are not liable in their individual capacities.
See Lissau v. S. Food Serv., Inc., 159 F.3d 177, 180
(4th Cir. 1998). Thus, both Title VII and the Rehabilitation
Act permit a federal employee to file a civil action
asserting employment discrimination claims against only
"the head of the department, agency, or unit." 42
U.S.C. § 2000e-16(c); 29 U.S.C. § 794a(a)(1)
(applying Title VII's procedures set forth in 42 U.S.C.
§ 2000e-16(c) to Rehabilitation Act claims).
Accordingly, the Court will grant the Government's
request to substitute the United States as the proper
Defendant for the tort claims and the Secretary of Defense as
the proper Defendant for the employment discrimination
Government moves to dismiss Eastridge's FTCA claims
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(I) for lack
of subject matter jurisdiction. It is the plaintiffs burden
to show that subject matter jurisdiction exists. Evans v.
B.F. Perkins Co., Div. of Standex Int'l Corp., 166
F.3d 642, 647 (4th Cir. 1999). Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(I) allows a defendant to move for dismissal
when it believes that the plaintiff has failed to make that
showing. When a defendant asserts that the plaintiff has
failed to allege facts sufficient to establish subject matter
jurisdiction, the allegations in the complaint are assumed to
be true under the same standard as in a Rule 12(b)(6) motion,
and "the motion must be denied if the complaint alleges
sufficient facts to invoke subject matter
jurisdiction"" Kerns v. United States, 585
F.3d 187, 192 (4th Cir. 2009). When a defendant asserts that
facts outside of the complaint deprive the court of
jurisdiction, the Court "may consider evidence outside
the pleadings without converting the proceeding to one for
summary judgment." Velasco v. Gov't of
Indonesia,370 F.3d 392, 398 (4th Cir. 2004);
Kerns, 585 F.3d at 192. The court should grant a
Rule 12(b)(1) motion based on a factual challenge ...