McKoy v. Mabus

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA MURIEL MCKOY, Plaintiff v. Civil Action No. 16-1313 (CKK) 1 HONORABLE RICHARD V. SPENCER, Defendant MEMORANDUM OPINION (September 21, 2017) This suit arises from Plaintiff Muriel McKoy’s discharge from her employment as a dentist with the Navy. Plaintiff claims that the Navy violated her constitutional rights to free speech and due process under the First and Fifth Amendments to the United States Constitution, as well as the Privacy Act. Before the Court is Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, for Summary Judgment. Defendant argues that Plaintiff’s complaint must be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction or for failure to state a claim. In the alternative, Defendant moves for summary judgment. Defendant also asks the Court to transfer this case to the United States Court of Federal Claims. Upon consideration of the pleadings, 2 the relevant legal authorities, and the applicable record, the Court GRANTS-IN-PART and DENIES-IN-PART Defendant’s Motion. As 1 Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 25(d), the Honorable Richard V. Spencer is substituted in his official capacity as Secretary of the Navy. 2 The Court’s consideration has focused on the following documents: • Def.’s Corrected Mot. to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, for Summary Judgment (“Def.’s Mot.”), ECF No. 9-1; • Pl.’s Mem. in Opp’n to Def.’s Mot. to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, for Summary Judgment (“Pl.’s Opp’n”), ECF No. 12; and • Def.’s Reply in Support of Mot. to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, for Summary Judgment (“Def.’s Reply”), ECF No. 14. In an exercise of its discretion, the Court finds that holding oral argument in this action would not be of assistance in rendering a decision. See LCvR 7(f). 1 explained in greater detail below, the Court rejects most of Defendant’s arguments for dismissal on the pleadings. The Court finds that sovereign immunity has been waived under the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”) for most of Plaintiff’s lawsuit, but will dismiss Plaintiff’s claim for money damages pursuant to the First and Fifth Amendments. The Court further finds that transfer is inappropriate, that the Court has jurisdiction over Plaintiff’s First Amendment claim, and that Plaintiff’s due process and Privacy Act claims are adequately pled. Moreover, the Court will not grant summary judgment for Defendant at this time because it is not convinced that the record before it is complete. I. BACKGROUND Plaintiff Muriel McKoy is an African American female who was previously employed by the Navy as a dentist. Compl. ¶¶ 4, 7. In 2013, Plaintiff’s superior, Captain Sangsoo J. Grzesik, initiated a review of Plaintiff’s work. Id. ¶ 12. Based on the results of a subsequent evaluation supervised by Captain Grzesik, Plaintiff’s clinical dentistry privileges were held in abeyance and then suspended. Id. ¶¶ 14-15. Further proceedings and appeals led to Plaintiff being prohibited from practicing dentistry in the Navy. Id. ¶ 17. She was eventually separated and discharged. Id. ¶ 25. Plaintiff argues that these actions were taken not because of her alleged incompetence, but instead ...

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