United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Alexandria Division
STACIE K. JOYNER-PETTWAY, Plaintiff
CVENT, INC., Defendant.
M. Brinkema United States District Judge
Stacie K. Joyner-Pettway ("Joyner-Pettway" or
"plaintiff'), proceeding pro se, has filed a
complaint alleging that her former employer, Cvent, Inc.
("Cvent" or "defendant") engaged in
discrimination on the basis of race and sex in violation of
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §
2000e et seq,, when it fired her on June 1, 2015. On January
10, 2017, defendant filed a Motion for Summary Judgment
("Motion") complete with a notice pursuant to
Roseboro v. Garrison, 528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975),
that the "Court could dismiss this action on the basis
of Cvent's papers if [plaintiff did] not file a
response" by February 3, 2017. As of February 6, 2017,
plaintiff has not filed a response to defendant's Motion,
nor has plaintiff filed a witness or exhibit list as required
by this Court's scheduling order entered on August 25,
2016. Accordingly, the facts presented by defendant in its
Motion and the attached exhibits are deemed admitted. On the
basis of those facts, and for the reasons that follow,
defendant's Motion will be granted.
is a woman who is of black and Native American heritage. Def.
Ex. 2 at 22:15-16. Cvent, a firm that designs software for
event planners, hired plaintiff as a paralegal in its legal
department on January 22, 2013. Def. Statement of Undisputed
Material Facts ("SUMF"), [Dkt. 26] at ¶ 1-4.
She was Cvent's only paralegal. Id. at ¶ 5.
Her duties included maintaining corporate records and filing
forms with various state and federal agencies. Id.
at ¶ 6.
the period relevant to this lawsuit, plaintiffs direct
supervisor was Lawrence Samuelson ("Samuelson"),
Cvent's general counsel. Id. at ¶ 8. Every
year, Samuelson prepared a performance review of plaintiff s
work. Id. at ¶ 9. His first review was in the
latter part of 2013, and was generally positive but also
included some constructive feedback, encouraging plaintiff to
"(1) Own projects; (2) Initiate projects based on your
own analysis; [and] (3) Be dogmatic about deadlines."
Id. at ¶ 10 (internal quotation marks omitted).
His 2014 review was also positive, with the primary criticism
being that plaintiff should "[c]ontinue to focus on
detail and work towards a perfect work product[.]"
Id. at ¶ 13 (internal quotation marks omitted).
There is no evidence that plaintiff was ever disciplined
before her termination.
received the assignment that ultimately resulted in her
termination on Friday, May 22, 2015. Id. at ¶
16. Samuelson emailed plaintiff to let her know that Cvent
would need to file "various financial benchmark
surveys" with the United States Department of
Commerce's Bureau of Economic Analysis ("BEA").
Id. According to that email, plaintiff was to be the
'team lead" for the BEA filing. Id. At her
deposition, plaintiff agreed that it was her job "to
make sure the filing got done on time." Def. Ex. 2 at
told plaintiff that the filing was due to the BEA by Friday,
May 29, 2015, and that "[p]enalties for not making the
filing can be up to $25, 000 per violation." Def. SUMF
at ¶¶ 16-18; Def. Ex. 5. Plaintiff received all the
information required for the filing from the finance
department by the close of business on Wednesday, May 27,
2015. Def. SUMF at ¶ 19. That same day, plaintiff
assured Samuelson that she would review the forms and begin
filing them electronically by the next morning. Id.
afternoon of Thursday, May 28, 2015, plaintiff learned that
Cvent was not permitted to file electronically as a
first-time filer with the BEA. Id. at ¶ 21. The
same day, one of Cvent's attorneys asked plaintiff if
anyone needed to sign the BEA forms. Id. at ¶
20. Plaintiff looked at the forms, but did not notice the
required signature block on the first page. Id. It
was not until later that evening that plaintiff realized a
signature would be required by Peter Childs
("Childs"), Cvent's Chief Financial Officer.
Id. at ¶ 22, 27.
evening, at 9:04 p.m., Samuelson emailed plaintiff to ask if
she was going to file the forms with the BEA the next
morning. Id. at 24. She replied that she was
planning to file the paper copy the next day by hand
delivery. Id. at ¶ 25. At 9:42 a.m. the next
morning, Friday, May 29, Samuelson asked again if the filing
was going to get done that day. Id. at ¶ 26.
Plaintiff replied a few minutes later that she would complete
the filing as soon as Childs could sign it, but that Childs
was in a meeting. Id. at ¶ 27. Plaintiff was
not able to give the forms to Childs until 11:00 a.m., which
was the first time that Childs learned about them.
Id. at ¶ 28. Childs asked to review the forms
before he signed them. Id¶29. He did not return them to
plaintiff until that afternoon. Id. at ¶ 30.
Plaintiff never asked Samuelson or anyone else at Cvent for
help in getting Childs to sign the forms more expeditiously.
Id. at ¶ 38.
plaintiff received the signed forms from Childs, she made
arrangements for the forms to be picked up by a courier and
hand-delivered to the BEA. Id. at ¶ 31. At 3:00
p.m., before the courier arrived, plaintiff left the office
because she was leaving town that evening and did not wish to
miss her flight. Id. at ¶ 32. At 3:42 p.m.,
Samuelson emailed plaintiff asking for confirmation that the
BEA filing had been submitted. Id. at ¶ 33.
Plaintiff replied at 3:50 p.m., telling Samuelson that the
courier had retrieved the forms but had not yet confirmed
time the courier arrived at the BEA, it had stopped accepting
deliveries for the day. Id. at ¶ 34.
Accordingly, the forms were not filed on Friday, May 29,
2016. Id. at ¶ 35. Plaintiff emailed Samuelson
at 5:10 p.m. to report the failed delivery. Def. Ex. 9. She
wrote that she
[g]ot a call from the courier that no one answered the door
where he was directed by the guard to drop offhand
deliveries. After going back and forth I was told the drop
off closed at 4. I suspected this could be the case and
communicated this to the courier when I arranged for the
pick-up. The courier stated that he arrived shortly before 4.
So I have directed the courier to return the package to Cvent
and I have spoken with Brittany who will prepare a FedEx
package so that it is at least sent with a May 29 shipment
date. I sent an e-mail to the BEA yesterday and called
inquiring if postmark dates are acceptable. The number I have
for BEA does not provide option [sic] to speak with a live
person. Both means of communication fell on deaf ears. I have
asked the courier to provide me with documentation evidencing
his arrival before 4 in case we need to appeal any late
penalty [assessed] by the BEA. He said he can get me
something. I will also reach out again to the BEA on this
At 8:49 p.m., Samuelson ...