Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Freedman v. DHR -- D.C. Court of Appeals No. 93-AA-1342 -- Memorandum Opinion and Judgment

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA COURT OF APPEALS

No. 93-AA-1342

GARY FREEDMAN, PETITIONER

v.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN RIGHTS,
RESPONDENT

Petition for Review of a Decision of the
District of Columbia Department of Human Rights

(Argued October 13, 1994  Decided January 10, 1995)

Before FERREN and TERRY, Associate Judges, and MACK, Senior Judge.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND JUDGMENT

Petitioner, Gary Freedman, seeks review of a decision by the Department of Human Rights (DHR).  Mr. Freedman, who had been employed as a legal  assistant by a local law firm, had filed a complaint with the DHR alleging that he had been the victim of unlawful discrimination in the course of his employment and that he had been fired as a result of such discrimination.  The DHR concluded "that there is no probable cause to believe that discrimination has occurred in this matter," and on reconsideration it affirmed that ruling.  Mr. Freedman then filed with this court a petition for review.

At oral argument the court sua sponte raised a question as to its jurisdiction to hear this case.  We directed petitioner to file a memorandum addressing this jurisdictional issue, and invited DHR and petitioner's former employer to file responsive memorandum.  Petitioner filed a memorandum, but neither DHR nor the employer submitted a response.

On consideration of petitioner's memorandum and of the record before us, we conclude that we lack jurisdiction to consider this case because it was filed in the wrong court.  In Lamont v. Rogers, 479 A.2d 1274, 1278 (D.C. 1984), this court held that a finding of no probable cause by the Office of Human Rights (DHR's predecessor) was not a decision in a "contested case," D.C. Code Section 1-1510(a) (1992), and that such a finding was therefore not directly reviewable in this court.  In Simpson v. District of Columbia Office of Human Rights, 597 A.2d 392, 397-399 (D.C. 1991), we held, citing Lamont and other cases, that a finding of no probable cause by the OHR was subject to judicial review, but only in a civil action filed in the Superior Court.  Petitioner asserts in his memorandum that this case is distinguishable from Lamont and Simpson because the finding of no probable cause here was actually an adjudication of his mental competence, but his arguments are not persuasive.  We therefore hold that we have no jurisdiction to consider the merits of petitioner's discrimination claim.  Accordingly, it is

ORDERED that the instant petition for review is dismissed for lack of jurisdiction, without prejudice to the timely filing of an appropriate civil action in the Superior Court.

FOR THE COURT:

William H. Ng
Clerk

Copies to:

Gary Freedman
3801 Connecticut Ave., NW #136
Washington, DC  20008

Dennis M. Race, Esquire
1333 New Hampshire Ave., NW, Suite 400
Washington, DC  20036
Charles L. Reischel, Esquire
Deputy Corporation Counsel

________________

1/ See Simpson, supra, 597 A.2d at 400-402.

2 comments:

Gary Freedman said...

Filed 1/10/95

Gary Freedman said...

The complete administrative and court docket in Freedman v. D.C. Department of Human Rights can be found at the following site:


http://dailstrug.blogspot.com/2011/03/freedman-v-dc-dept-human-rights-docket.html