United States District Court, D. Maryland
GENERAL ENGINEERING AND TECHNICAL SUPPORT SERVICES, et al., Plaintiffs,
BALTIMORE GAS AND ELECTRIC., et al., Defendants.
Paula Xinis, United States District Judge.
case presents allegations of race discrimination and a 100
million-dollar damages claim untethered to provable facts.
Plaintiff General Engineering and Technical Support Services
(GETSS), a registered and certified Maryland Department of
Transportation Minority Business Enterprise (MBE), along with
individual Plaintiffs Herbert Fuller and Walter Fuller
(Fuller Brothers) and GETSS (collectively Plaintiffs) bring
suit against ICF and BGE (collectively Defendants), arising
from a contractual arrangement never consummated. Plaintiffs
specifically allege that Defendants discriminated against
them in the offer and withdrawal of a services subcontract,
in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981. ECF No. 1. Plaintiffs
also bring companion claims for retaliation and promissory
before the Court is Defendant Baltimore Gas and
Electric's (BGE) and Defendant ICF Consulting Group's
(ICF) motion for summary judgment (ECF No. 61) and motion for
sanctions. ECF No. 52. The motions are fully briefed, and no
hearing is necessary. See Loc. R. 105.6. For the following
reasons, Defendants' motion for summary judgment is
GRANTED and Defendants' motion for sanctions is DENIED as
a subsidiary of Constellation Energy that serves gas
customers and business and residential electric customers in
parts of Maryland. ECF No. 1 ¶ 11; ECF No. 10 ¶ 11.
In April 2008, Maryland enacted legislation to reduce energy
consumption across the state. ECF No. 1 ¶ 9; ECF No. 8
¶ 9; ECF No. 10 ¶ 9. In response, BGE implemented a
suite of energy efficiency programs to provide residential
and commercial customers with energy and cost saving
opportunities. ECF No. 1 ¶ 14; ECF No. 10 ¶ 14. BGE
selected ICF to administer these programs, including the
Quick Home Energy Check-ups (QHEC) Program. ECF No. 1 ¶
15; ECF No. 10 ¶ 15. The QHEC Program educates
homeowners on how to manage their energy use and identify
energy efficiency opportunities in their homes. ECF No. 61-4.
During a QHEC, a contractor visually inspects homes and
recommends to homeowners ways to make their homes more energy
uses subcontractors to administer the QHEC Program selected
through an annual Request for Proposal process. ECF No. 1
¶¶ 15, 17, 21; ECF No. 8 ¶¶ 15, 17, 21;
ECF No. 61-4. During this process, ICF solicits three
categories of QHEC subcontractors: Traditional Single Family,
Multi-Family, and Lead Generation. ECF No. 61-6. Traditional
Single-Family subcontractors provide QHECs for single-family
units and receive program-generated leads based on assigned
zip codes. Id. Lead Generation subcontractors pursue
self-generated leads and promote QHECs through channels
missed by the Program's other marketing efforts.
Id. Multi-Family Only subcontractors provide QHECs
for multifamily communities also through self-generated
October 31, 2014, GETSS responded to ICF's Request for
Proposal to become a subcontractor for the 2015 QHEC Program.
ECF No. 1 ¶ 35; ECF No. 8 ¶ 35; ECF No. 10 ¶
35; ECF No. 61-7. GETSS is a registered and certified MBE,
managed by the Fuller Brothers. ECF No. 1 ¶ 7; ECF No.
61 ¶¶ 12, 13. ICF selected GETSS as one of three
Lead Generation subcontractors because of GETSS'
connection to “untapped markets such as low-income
housing organizations, superchurches and other religious
affiliates.” ECF No. 61-6. The other two selected Lead
Generation subcontractors, BED&R and greeNEWit, are not
informed GETSS via email of its selection as a Lead
Generation subcontractor on November 21, 2014 for calendar
year 2015. ICF also informed Plaintiffs that it would forward
a subcontract agreement upon GETSS accepting the email offer.
ECF No. 61-8. GETSS responded affirmatively to ICF's
email four days later. Id.
December 2014, before sending GETSS the subcontract, ICF
conducted a subcontractor training and orientation,
instructed GETSS to put together a provisional operating
budget of $20, 000 for interim work pending execution of the
formal subcontract, and provided to GETSS an online scheduler
and employee badges to use for the QHECs. ECF Nos. 62-43,
62-28, 62-46, 62-49. On March 13, 2015, ICF sent GETSS its
standard subcontract agreement with an initial budget of $19,
952 (the “Proposed Subcontract”). ECF No. 61-10
at 3. On March 19, 2015, Plaintiffs requested clarification
as to the time frame covered for the budgeted amount, which
ICF clarified as quarterly. Id. at 1-2. Ultimately,
GETSS never signed the Proposed Subcontract. Id.;
ECF Nos. 61-11, 61-12.
having no formal subcontracting agreement, Plaintiffs
informed ICF via email on April 3, 2015 that they intended to
bill ICF “for the loss in productivity our company
suffered during the first quarter as a result of delays and
negligence caused [by]…your organization.” ECF
No. 62-43. Plaintiffs attached to the email an invoice
totaling $105, 000 for February 1, 2015 through March 15,
2015. Id. at 6. This invoice reflects that
Plaintiffs did not conduct any QHECs, but nonetheless tallied
expenses related to “6 weeks of work lost.”
April 27, 2015, ICF notified Plaintiffs by email that it
withdrew the Proposed Subcontract. ECF No. 61-13. Plaintiffs
responded that they would “be sending invoices from
April 1st through April 30th 2015, and through the entire
program period which ends in December 2015.” ECF No.
61-14. On May 8, 2015, Plaintiffs emailed BGE, summarizing a
conversation from the previous day in which Walter Fuller
informed BGE that ICF engaged in
“discrimination.” ECF No. 62-63. On June 3, 2015,
Plaintiffs, by email, also accused ICF of engaging in
“unethical, biased, discriminatory, corrupt, and
unlawful practice[s].” ECF No. 61-15. Plaintiffs
ultimately submitted invoices to ICF for July through
December 2015, totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars. ECF
No. 61-16. ICF never paid on any such invoices.
January 12, 2018, Plaintiffs filed suit in this Court against
Defendants, alleging claims of promissory estoppel and race
discrimination and retaliation under 42 U.S.C. § 1981.
ECF No. 1. After a protracted discovery period due largely to
Plaintiffs' lack of diligence and difficulties with
counsel, the Fuller Brothers currently proceed pro se. ECF
Nos. 25, 31, 48.
March 15, 2019, after Plaintiffs failed to comply with this
Court's discovery Order, Defendants moved for sanctions,
arguing that Plaintiffs acted in bad faith and with callous
disregard for the authority of the Court. As relief,
Defendants request that the Court to dismiss the case with
prejudice or alternatively to preclude use of nondisclosed
evidence at trial or in dispositive motions. ECF No. 52. On
June 7, 2019, Defendants moved for summary judgment,
incorporating by reference the sanctions motion. ECF No. 61.