Farris v. Rice, Civil Action No. 05-1975 (RMU).

CourtUnited States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
Writing for the CourtUrbina
Citation453 F.Supp.2d 76
PartiesVirginia FARRIS, Plaintiff, v. Condoleezza RICE, Secretary of State, Department of State, Defendant.
Decision Date25 September 2006
Docket NumberCivil Action No. 05-1975 (RMU).

Page 76

453 F.Supp.2d 76
Virginia FARRIS, Plaintiff,
v.
Condoleezza RICE, Secretary of State, Department of State, Defendant.
Civil Action No. 05-1975 (RMU).
United States District Court, District of Columbia.
September 25, 2006.

George R.A. Doumar, Arlington, VA, for Plaintiff.

Diane M. Sullivan, United States Attorney's Office, Civil Division, Washington, DC, for Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION
DENYING THE PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR A PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION

URBINA, District Judge.


I. INTRODUCTION

Currently before the court is the plaintiffs motion for a preliminary injunction. The plaintiff, Virginia Farris, is a thirtythree year employee of the United States Foreign Service (the "defendant"), a branch of the United States Department of State. Farris, an Asian-American woman, brings this case alleging unlawful discrimination

Page 77

and retaliation. Specifically, she claims that the U.S. Foreign Service improperly failed to select her for certain positions within the agency and, when she complained, retaliated against her by investigating her and denying her training and various assignments.

Through operation of a statutory provision triggered by Farris's failure to attain a promotion within seven years, she must retire on September 29, 2006. The plaintiff asks the court to enjoin the defendant from terminating the plaintiff's employment pending a resolution on the merits of the plaintiffs discrimination and retaliation claims. Because the plaintiff fails to demonstrate irreparable injury, the court denies her motion for a preliminary injunction.

II. BACKGROUND
A. Factual Background

Farris is currently employed as a Public Affairs Counselor at the American Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand. Compl. ¶ 5; Pl.'s Mot. for a Prelim. Injunction ("Pl.'s Mot.") Ex. 4. In 1998, the United States Ambassador to Thailand revoked Farris's spouse's diplomatic status, forcing him to leave Thailand. Compl. ¶ 6; Def.'s Opp'n at 3. According to the defendant, the U.S. Ambassador took this action after learning that Farris's husband was abusing her. Def.'s Opp'n at 3.

In an effort to reunite with her husband, Farris sought alternative employment within the Foreign Service. Compl. ¶ 10. Among these, the plaintiff applied for various positions, including Deputy Principle Officer, Consular Affairs Officer, Officer Director, and Public Affairs Counselor. Id. The defendant did not hire the plaintiff for any of these positions. Id. ¶ 11; Def.'s Opp'n at 3-4.

To the plaintiff, the Foreign Service discriminated against her based on her gender and race. Id. ¶ 14. The plaintiff expressed these concerns to the Deputy Chief of Mission and the Department's Chief Equal Employment Opportunity Officer in 1999. Id. ¶ 17. In 2000, she filed a formal EEO complaint. Id. The plaintiff alleges that because she Med the EEO complaint, the defendant investigated certain of her activities. Id. ¶ 18. Also, she claims that the defendant denied her further assignments and postings. Id.

B. Procedural Background

An Administrative Law Judge rejected the merits of the plaintiffs EEO complaint. Compl. ¶ 21. The plaintiff, therefore, filed the instant case on October 5, 2005. Id. The plaintiff filed a motion for a preliminary injunction on September 5, 2006 seeking an injunction to prevent the defendant from discharging her from her job. Pl.'s Mot. at 14. The court turns now to the merits of that motion.

III. ANALYSIS
A. Legal Standard for Injunctive Relief

This court may issue interim injunctive relief only when the movant demonstrates:

(1) a substantial likelihood of success on the merits, (2) that it would suffer irreparable injury if the injunction is not granted, (3) that an injunction would not substantially injure other interested parties, and (4) that the public interest would be furthered by the injunction.

Mova Pharm. Corp. v. Shillala, 140 F.3d 1060, 1066 (D.C.Cir.1998) (quoting CityFed Fin. Corp. v. Office of Thrift Supervision, 58 F.3d 738, 746 (D.C.Cir.1995)); see also World Duty Free Americas, Inc. v. Summers, 94 F.Supp2d 61, 64 (D.D.C2000). It is particularly important for the movant

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to demonstrate a substantial likelihood of success on the merits. Cf. Benten v. Kessler, 505 U.S. 1084, 1085, 112 S.Ct. 2929, 120 L.Ed.2d 926 (1992) (per curiam). Indeed, absent a "substantial indication" of likely success on the merits, "there would be no justification for the court's intrusion into the ordinary processes of administration and judicial review." Am. Bankers Ass'n v. Nat'l Credit Union Admin., 38 F.Supp.2d 114, 140 (D.D.C.1999) (internal quotation omitted).

The four factors should be balanced on a sliding scale, and a party can compensate for a lesser showing on one factor by making a very strong showing on another factor. CSX Transp., Inc. v. Williams, 406 F.3% 667 (D.C.Cir.2005) (citing City-Fed Fin. Corp., 58 F.3d at 747). "An injunction may be justified, for example, where there is a particularly strong likelihood of success on the merits even if there is a relatively slight showing of irreparable injury." CityFed Fin. Corp., 58 F.3d at 747.

Moreover, the other salient factor in the injunctive relief analysis is irreparable injury. A movant must "demonstrate at least `some injury'" to warrant the granting of an injunction. CityFed Fin. Corp., 58 F.3d at 747 (quotation omitted). Indeed, if a party makes no showing of irreparable injury, the court may deny the motion for injunctive relief without considering the other factors. Id.

Because interim injunctive relief is an extraordinary form of judicial relief, courts should grant such relief sparingly. Mazurek v. Armstrong, 520 U.S. 968, 972, 117 S.Ct. 1865, 138 L.Ed.2d 162 (1997). As the Supreme Court has said, "[i]t frequently is observed that a preliminary injunction is an extraordinary and drastic remedy, one that should not be granted unless the movant, by a clear showing, carries the burden of persuasion." Id. (citation omitted). Therefore, although the trial court has the discretion to issue or deny a preliminary injunction, it is not a form of relief granted lightly. In addition, any injunction that the court issues must be carefully circumscribed and tailored to remedy the harm shown. Nat'l Treasury Employees Union v. Yeutter, 918 F.2d 968, 977 (D.C.Cir. 1990) (citation omitted).

If a party moving for injunctive relief fails to show irreparable injury, the court need not consider the remaining factors for issuance of a preliminary injunction. CityFed Fin. Corp. v. Office of Thrift Supervision, 58 F.3d 738, 747 (D.C.Cir.1995) (stating that because the movant "has made no showing of irreparable injury here, that alone is sufficient for us to conclude that the district court did not abuse its discretion by rejecting [the movant's] request. We thus need not reach the district court's consideration of the remaining factors relevant to the issuance of a preliminary injunction"). And in employment cases particularly, the court "is bound to give serious weight to the obviously disruptive effect which the grant of the temporary relief [is] likely to have on the administrative process," and not "routinely apply[ ] . . . the traditional standards governing more orthodox `stays.'" Sampson v. Murray, 415 U.S. 61, 83-84, 94 S.Ct. 937, 39 L.Ed.2d 166 (1974).

When a party seeks a mandatory injunction—to change the status quo through action rather than merely to preserve the status quo—typically the moving party must meet a higher standard than in the ordinary case: the movant...

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21 practice notes
  • Farris v. Clinton, Civil Action No. 05-1975 (RMU).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • March 12, 2009
    ...to prevent the defendant from discharging her from her job. Mot. for Prelim. Inj. The court denied that motion on September 25, 2006. 453 F.Supp.2d 76 (D.D.C.2006). Immediately thereafter, the defendant filed its motion for summary judgment, which the court denied on June 12, 2007 after det......
  • Open Tech. Fund v. Pack, Civil Action No. 20-1710 (BAH)
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Columbia
    • July 2, 2020
    ...is not irreparable harm except in a "genuinely extraordinary situation." 415 U.S. at 92 n.68, 94 S.Ct. 937 ; see Farris v. Rice , 453 F. Supp. 2d 76, 79 (D.D.C. 2006) ("[C]ases are legion holding that loss of employment does not constitute irreparable injury."). Nothing about the individual......
  • English v. Trump, Civil Action No. 17–2534 (TJK)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • January 10, 2018
    ...situation" will loss of a job constitute an irreparable injury. Sampson , 415 U.S. at 92 n.68, 94 S.Ct. 937 ; see also Farris v. Rice , 453 F.Supp.2d 76, 79 (D.D.C. 2006) ("[C]ases are legion holding that loss of employment does not constitute irreparable injury.") (collecting cases). That ......
  • Johnson v. Brown, Case No. 3:21-cv-1494-SI
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Oregon)
    • October 18, 2021
    ...by money damages." (quoting Minn. Ass'n of Nurse Anesthetists v. Unity Hosp. , 59 F.3d 80, 83 (8th Cir. 1995) )); Farris v. Rice , 453 F. Supp. 2d 76, 79 (D.D.C. 2006) ("[G]iven the court's equitable powers to remedy for loss in employment through, for example, back pay and time in service ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
21 cases
  • Farris v. Clinton, Civil Action No. 05-1975 (RMU).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • March 12, 2009
    ...to prevent the defendant from discharging her from her job. Mot. for Prelim. Inj. The court denied that motion on September 25, 2006. 453 F.Supp.2d 76 (D.D.C.2006). Immediately thereafter, the defendant filed its motion for summary judgment, which the court denied on June 12, 2007 after det......
  • Open Tech. Fund v. Pack, Civil Action No. 20-1710 (BAH)
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Columbia
    • July 2, 2020
    ...is not irreparable harm except in a "genuinely extraordinary situation." 415 U.S. at 92 n.68, 94 S.Ct. 937 ; see Farris v. Rice , 453 F. Supp. 2d 76, 79 (D.D.C. 2006) ("[C]ases are legion holding that loss of employment does not constitute irreparable injury."). Nothing about the individual......
  • English v. Trump, Civil Action No. 17–2534 (TJK)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • January 10, 2018
    ...situation" will loss of a job constitute an irreparable injury. Sampson , 415 U.S. at 92 n.68, 94 S.Ct. 937 ; see also Farris v. Rice , 453 F.Supp.2d 76, 79 (D.D.C. 2006) ("[C]ases are legion holding that loss of employment does not constitute irreparable injury.") (collecting cases). That ......
  • Johnson v. Brown, Case No. 3:21-cv-1494-SI
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Oregon)
    • October 18, 2021
    ...by money damages." (quoting Minn. Ass'n of Nurse Anesthetists v. Unity Hosp. , 59 F.3d 80, 83 (8th Cir. 1995) )); Farris v. Rice , 453 F. Supp. 2d 76, 79 (D.D.C. 2006) ("[G]iven the court's equitable powers to remedy for loss in employment through, for example, back pay and time in service ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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