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HAMILTON v. SUMMERS

May 18, 2000

CARL HAMILTON, PLAINTIFF,
V.
LAWRENCE SUMMERS, SECRETARY, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY, MSM SECRETARY SERVICES INC., A MARYLAND CORPORATION, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Alesia, District Judge.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Before the court is defendant Lawrence Summers' ("the Government") motion to dismiss plaintiff Carl Hamilton's complaint. For the reasons that follow, the court denies in part and grants in part the defendant's motion to dismiss.

I. BACKGROUND

The complaint alleges the following facts which, for the purpose of ruling on this motion, are taken as true. Hishon v. King & Spalding, 467 U.S. 69, 73, 104 S.Ct. 2229, 81 L.Ed.2d 59 (1984). Plaintiff Carl Hamilton ("Hamilton") is a black male who in June of 1997 applied for the position of Customs Inspector Student Trainee with the United States Customs Service ("the Customs Service"). On June 6, 1997, the Customs Service offered the position to Hamilton. At this time, however, the Customs Service informed Hamilton that the position was contingent upon Hamilton's satisfactory completion of all necessary pre-employment requirements, including a background investigation.

Harry Heckert ("Heckert"), a contract investigator with MSM Security Services, Incorporated ("MSM"),*fn1 conducted the background investigation for the Customs Service. On July 30, 1997, the Customs Service, based upon MSM's recommendation, issued a Notice of Proposed Action/Unsuitable for Employment Determination ("Notice"). This Notice alleged that Hamilton: (1) had falsely stated that Inland Residential Sales, a previous employer, had not terminated his employment; (2) made false statements regarding his police record; (3) made false statements regarding being taken into custody; and (4) falsified his financial statement. On August 7, 1997, Hamilton responded to this Notice.

On November 6, 1997, the Customs Service rescinded its tentative offer of employment because (1) Hamilton had falsified his application; (2) he made false statements during a personal interview; (3) he was financially irresponsible; and (4) questions existed as to his honesty and integrity. According to Hamilton, due to this recission of employment, he has suffered and continues to suffer severe emotional distress, mental anguish and humiliation.

Hamilton filed an "Individual Complaint of Employment Discrimination with the Department of Treasury" ("Department of Treasury Complaint") on December 3, 1997.*fn2 In his Department of Treasury Complaint, Hamilton alleges that, because of his race, the Customs Service treated him differently than other applicants. (Def.'s Ex. B.) The Department of Treasury responded to Hamilton's Department of Treasury Complaint on December 16, 1997.*fn3 This response informed Hamilton that the Department of Treasury accepted Hamilton's Department of Treasury Complaint for processing under the regulations of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") and summarized the issues Hamilton set forth. These issues were:

Whether Complainant was discriminated against because of his race (Black) when the following occurred:
1) On or around November 6, 1997[,] he learned that the Agency had rescinded its tentative offer of employment for the position of Student Trainee (Inspector), GS-1899-03, based on his background investigation results; and
2) During the background investigation, Complainant alleges the background investigator:
a) examined the contents of his medicine cabinet while in the bathroom;
b) asked a female reference if she and Complainant had ever had a sexual relationship; and
c) asked a male reference how much "street" Complainant has in him.

(Id.) The Department of Treasury also informed Hamilton that if he disagreed with the summary of the issues, he should notify ...


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