United States District Court, S.D. Alabama, Southern Division
TIFFANY M. WASHINGTON, Plaintiff,
PATRICK M. SHANAHAN, et al.,  Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
F. MOORER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
pending before the Court is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss
Plaintiff's Amended Complaint (Doc. 19, filed August 6,
2018). Following Plaintiff's response to the motion to
dismiss (Doc. 27, filed September 14, 2018), Defendants filed
a reply and, with it, a request to convert their motion to
dismiss to a motion for summary judgment (“motion to
convert”) (Doc. 30, filed September 28, 2018). No.
response was filed to the motion to convert. Thus, both
motions are ripe for review.
careful review of the pleadings, motions, responses, and
replies, the Court DENIES Defendants'
motion to dismiss and DENIES Defendants'
motion to convert for the reasons articulated below.
Parties and Jurisdiction
Tiffany M. Washington (“Plaintiff” or
“Washington”) brought suit in this Court pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 (federal question jurisdiction),
asserting claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of
1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., and section
501 of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 791 et
seq., against the Defense Contract Management Agency
(“DCMA”), Washington's former employer, and
the Secretary of Defense, as the named representative for the
DCMA (collectively, “Defendants”).
Factual and Procedural Background
Amended Complaint (Doc. 12), Washington, an African American
female, alleges that her former employer, the DCMA,
discriminated against her on the basis of race and sex; that
the DCMA retaliated against her for filing an Equal
Employment Opportunity (“EEO”) discrimination
complaint; and that the DCMA refused her request for
accommodation for a disability. A former procurement analyst
for the DCMA, Washington alleges that she worked for the DCMA
from sometime in June 2008 until May 18, 2015, when her
employment was terminated. Washington alleges that she filed
an informal EEO complaint of discrimination in September 2014
after she was demoted for poor performance despite receiving
high ratings on her performance evaluations up to and
including 2014. She also alleges that her former teleworking
privileges were revoked at this time.
asserts that she was targeted for harassment and retaliation
by a second-level supervisor after filing her EEO complaint.
Specifically, she asserts that the supervisor, a white
female, denied Washington's request for a
“maxi-flex” work schedule while approving its use
among white male employees; required Washington to use
personal time or available leave to meet with union
representatives when working on her EEO complaint, contrary
to agency rules; required Washington to seek permission for
any activity requiring oversight from her instead of
Washington's direct supervisor; required Washington to
seek approval from management before speaking to union or EEO
representatives and to retain responsibility for work
assignments while on approved leave to meet with EEO
personnel; and initiated an investigation into
Washington's claim for relocation expenses after she was
involuntarily transferred from Mobile, Alabama, to Atlanta,
Georgia. Washington alleges that Defendants terminated her on
the basis that she submitted inaccurate reimbursement
documents in relation to her transfer, but she was not
reimbursed for any expenses or provided an opportunity to
correct any errors. Washington also alleges that, during the
timeframe outlined, she was diagnosed with a severe
depressive disorder that adversely affected her ability to
perform her work duties, and that she informed her supervisor
of her diagnosis, but Defendants offered no work
accommodation. Washington filed a formal EEO complaint in
December 2014, which she amended in May 2015. She received a
final decision on March 20, 2018.
the instant suit Washington seeks declaratory judgment;
reinstatement to her former position or an equivalent
position; $300, 000 in compensatory damages; back pay, with
interest; reimbursement of her prior relocation expenses; and
reimbursement of various costs and expenses.
have moved to dismiss the Amended Complaint on the basis of
judicial estoppel, arguing that Washington filed successive
bankruptcy petitions-on February 20, 2015; June 12, 2015; and
July 26, 2017-in which she failed to disclose pending
employment actions related to the claims at issue in this
case, and that her failure to disclose them was a deliberate
attempt to abuse the judicial system. (Doc. 19).
Defendants allege that Washington's initial, informal EEO
complaint was pending at the time she filed her February 2015
bankruptcy petition, but the employment action was not
disclosed in the bankruptcy petition. They additionally
allege that at the time of Washington's June 2015
bankruptcy filing: (1) her informal EEO complaint remained
pending; (2) Washington also had initiated an appeal of her
termination to the Merit Systems Protection Board
(“MSPB”); and (3) she had begun an appeal of the
denial of her claim for moving reimbursement expenses to the
Civilian Board of Contract Appeals (“CBCA”).
Defendants assert that none of those actions were disclosed
on Washington's bankruptcy petition.
further contend that, at the time of Washington's July
2017 bankruptcy filing, her CBCA appeal and EEO complaint
remained pending, and neither was disclosed. Specifically, as
to the EEO claim, Defendants indicate that Washington's
informal complaint had resulted in a formal complaint in
December 2015, which was denied by the DCMA's EEO Board
in March 2016, and an appeal of that decision to the EEO
Commission's Office of Federal Operations remained
pending at the time of Washington's final bankruptcy
petition. Defendants also assert that Washington had filed a
federal lawsuit in the Northern District of Georgia in
September 2016 challenging the result of her appeal to the
MSPB and failed to disclose the lawsuit in her 2017
argue that Washington's nondisclosure of these pending
proceedings makes a mockery of the judicial system, and thus,
warrants dismissal of her instant complaint on the ground of
judicial estoppel. Defendants assert that Washington is a
sophisticated litigant, and that her nondisclosure was a
deliberate effort to hide potential assets from her
creditors. As evidence of Washington's sophistication,
Defendants offer that: (1) Washington has filed at least
three employment-related administrative claims and two
related federal lawsuits and was represented by counsel
and/or union representatives at various stages of those
proceedings; (2) she has filed six separate bankruptcy
proceedings and was represented by counsel in all of them;
and (3) Washington formerly owned and operated a downtown
Mobile event space, a business for which she obtained a Small
Business Administration (“SBA”) loan and filed a
British Petroleum (“BP”) claim after the
Deepwater Horizon oil spill. They aver that her employment
history as a procurement specialist for DCMA ...