Summary Judgment Denied on Retaliation Claim

Tarick Ali, by his personal representative, Monica Ali v. District of Columbia, No. 08-01950 (HHK) (D.D.C. Aug. 31, 2011)

We recently received an Order from Judge Kennedy denying summary judgment as to a retaliation claim against the District. He relied upon and potentially expanded Thompson v. N. Am. Stainless, 131 S.Ct. 863 (2011). In our case, Plaintiff was "warned" by his supervisor that his best friend would be terminated if Plaintiff proceeded with his complaint. Judge Kennedy questioned where the "best friend" fact "falls on the continuum between "'firing a close family member,' which 'will almost always meet the Burlington standard,' and 'inflicting a milder reprisal on a mere acquaintance,' which 'will almost never do so'" but held that a reasonable juror could find that Plaintiff was dissuaded from complaining due to the threat against his best friend.

He also provided good case law and solid reasoning against the District's silly argument that essentially contended that all or most of the documents used in support of the Opposition could not be relied upon by the Court since they contained hearsay and other evidentiary objections. The District was confusing the evidentiary standard for trial with the evidentiary standard for dispositive motions. This is an argument that we have been required to respond to from the District on another occasion. Hopefully, the District will learn the proper evidentiary standards and forgo this argument in the future.

As usual, Donna Williams Rucker skillfully handled and dominated opposing counsel in arguing this before Judge Kennedy.

– submitted by Mackenzie Coy