United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Alexandria Division
KIRK E. WEBSTER, Plaintiff,
JAMES MATTIS. Secretary of Defense, Defendant.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
D. Davis United States Magistrate Judge.
matter is before the Court on Defendant's Motion to
Dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1).
(Dkt. No. 33.) After hearing oral argument on February 2,
2018, the undersigned Magistrate Judge took this matter under
advisement. Upon consideration of the Complaint,
Defendant's Motion, Plaintiffs Opposition to
Defendant's Motion, and the exhibits attached thereto,
the undersigned Magistrate Judge makes the following findings
and recommends that Defendant's Motion be
GRANTED and the Complaint be dismissed.
October 24, 2016, Plaintiff filed his Complaint in the
District of Columbia under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
of 1964 ("Title VII"), 42 U.S.C. § 2OOOe
el seq., against the Secretary of
Defense. (Dkt. Nos. 1, 29.) Plaintiff worked for
the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency
("NGA"), which is a component of the Department
of Defense. (See Compl. at 2; Dkt. No. 29
at 1.) Plaintiff alleges that NGA has retaliated against
Plaintiff since 2003. (Compl. ¶ 21.) During oral
argument, Plaintiff explained that he engaged in a protected
activity by sending a letter in 2001 to the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission (the "Commission").
Plaintiffs 2001 letter described "illegal EEO [Equal
Employment Opportunity] activity" between NGA officials
and an administrative judge for the Commission. (Compl.
February 2012, NGA permanently revoked Plaintiffs security
clearance, which Plaintiff alleges was a result of NGA's
retaliatory actions. (See Compl. ¶¶ 45-46,
59-79.) Plaintiff also alleges that Defendant retaliated
against Plaintiffs wife "for filing a joint EEO
complaint in March of 2002 that exposed collusion and
corruption between [NGA officials and the Commission]."
(Compl. at 2.) However, in June 2012, Plaintiff entered into
a settlement agreement with NGA (the "2012 Settlement
Agreement") resolving "any and all claims of any
nature" that Plaintiff may have had against NGA at the
time Plaintiff signed the 2012 Settlement Agreement,
including the aforementioned retaliation claims. (Dkt. No.
34-1 ¶ 2(B).)
claims that he involuntarily executed the 2012 Settlement
Agreement and that the 2012 Settlement Agreement is
"legally invalid[.]" (Compl. ¶¶ 25, 33.)
Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that he was "under
duress" at the time he agreed to the terms. (Compl.
¶¶ 90, 91.) Plaintiff explains his
"duress" stemmed from "his declining health
and immediate need for continued healthcare." (Compl.
¶ 90.) Plaintiff also "believes" that NGA
deliberately failed to inform Plaintiff of "his
statutory rights to a [discontinued service retirement,
]" (Compl. ¶¶ 64-73), and that NGA's
failure to inform Plaintiff of this alternative retirement
option "forced" Plaintiff to accept the terms of
the 2012 Settlement Agreement. (See Compl.
¶¶ 40-43.) Additionally, Plaintiff claims that NGA
breached the 2012 Settlement Agreement and requests that his
"underlying complaint" be reinstated pursuant to 29
C.F.R. § 1614.504(a). (Compl. ¶¶ 101-13.)
December 6, 2017, this action was transferred to this Court
pursuant to the District of Columbia's August 22, 2017
Order. (Dkt. Nos. 29, 30.) On December 20, 2017, Defendant
filed his Motion to Dismiss for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction. (Dkt. No. 33.) On January 11, 2018, Plaintiff
filed his Opposition to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss.
(Dkt. No. 41.) Also on January 11, 2018, the District Judge
referred the matter to the undersigned Magistrate Judge.
(Dkt. No. 42.) During oral argument held on February 2, 2018,
the undersigned Magistrate Judge granted Defendant's
Motion to Stay Discovery (Dkt. No. 48), staying discovery
until Defendant's Motion to Dismiss is adjudicated. (Dkt.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Rule 12(b)(1), a defendant may move to dismiss a complaint
based on the Court's lack of subject-matter jurisdiction
over the cause of action. Fed. R. Ci P. 12(b)(1). However, a
plaintiff, not the movant, bears the burden of establishing
jurisdiction. Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac R.R.
Co. United States, 945 F.2d 765, 768 (4th Cir. 1991).
When a defendant argues that the complaint simply fails to
allege sufficient facts to establish jurisdiction, "the
plaintiff, in effect, is afforded the same procedural
protection as he would receive under a Rule 12(b)(6)
consideration." Adams Bain, 697 F.2d 1213, 1219
(4th Cir. 1982). In contrast, when the jurisdictional basis
asserted in the complaint is challenged, the facts are not
construed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.
See Id. Moreover, the trial court may consider facts
outside of the complaint to determine if it has jurisdiction
"without converting the proceeding to one for summary
asserts that "[j]urisdiction is found on 42 U.S.C.
Section 2000, et seq., 20 U.S.C. Sections 1331 and 1343(3)
and (4) . . . 28 U.S.C. Sections 2201 and 2202." (Compl.
¶ 1.) Defendant challenges Plaintiffs asserted bases for
subject-matter jurisdiction rather than challenging the
sufficiency of the facts alleged to support the bases.
(See Dkt. No. 34 at 2). Thus, the Court may look
beyond the Complaint. See Adams, 697 F.2d at 1219.
2012 Settlement Agreement resolved "any and all
claims of any nature . . . whether currently known or
unknown" at the time Plaintiff signed it. (Dkt. No.
34-1 ¶ 2(B)) (emphasis added.) Therefore, Plaintiffs
retaliation claims regarding his security clearance have been
resolved. 29 C.F.R. § 1614.504(a) ("Any settlement
agreement knowingly and voluntarily agreed to by the parties
. . . shall be binding on both parties."); see e.g.,
Landino Carlson, l:10-cv-l385(LO/JFA), ECF No. 42 at
16-17 (E.D. Va. Feb. 7, 2012), aff'd sub nom. Landino
Sapp, 520 Fed.Appx. 195 (4th Cir. 2013) (dismissing
claims that were subject to "a binding agency
Plaintiff does not have standing to bring a retaliation claim
on behalf of his wife because Plaintiff alleges NGA
retaliated against Plaintiff's wife. Thus, the
retaliation claim is for Plaintiffs wife to pursue, not
Plaintiff. See Thompson N.Am. Stainless, LP, 562
U.S. 170, 177-78 (2011) (defining "persons
aggrieved" by retaliation to include an employee who
suffers an adverse action by reason of her spouse engaging in
a protected activity). Accordingly, Plaintiffs current claims
relate only to the validity and enforcement of the 2012
followed the proper procedure to enforce the 2012 Settlement
Agreement. Paragraph 5 of the 2012 ...