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Lee v. United States Agency for International Development

United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit

June 16, 2017

Jim Lee, Appellant
v.
United States Agency for International Development and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Appellees

         On Motion for Summary Affirmance Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia (No. 1:15-cv-02102)

          Rhonda L. Campbell and R. Craig Lawrence, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, were on the motion for summary affirmance.

          Jim Lee, pro se, was on the response for appellant.

          Before: Rogers, Kavanaugh, and Millett, Circuit Judges.

          PER CURIAM

         Jim Lee, proceeding pro se, appeals the grant of the motion for judgment on the pleadings to the United States Agency for International Development ("USAID") and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ("NOAA") (together "the agencies"). Lee contends that the agencies violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e et seq., by terminating his employment because of his national origin. He also contends that NOAA violated 18 U.S.C. § 1001, which criminalizes false statements to the government, by lying about why he was terminated.

         The only aspect of his appeal that merits extended discussion is whether 18 U.S.C. § 1001 creates a private right of action. We hold it does not.

         I.

         According to the complaint, Lee was employed by a federal contracting firm and worked at USAID from 2008 until he was fired in 2013. Lee alleges that USAID terminated his employment after the Department of Defense denied his application for a security clearance in 2012, and that he was denied a clearance because he and his family are from China.

         In July 2013, Lee began working for NOAA. As with his previous position, he was employed directly by a federal contracting firm, SSAI. On April 30, 2014, Lee was fired.

         Lee contacted several people at the Department of Defense, NOAA, and SSAI to determine why his employment was terminated. Believing he was fired because of his national origin, Lee alleges he called the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") around the end of May or beginning of June to make a complaint against NOAA. An EEOC representative purportedly told Lee that he would have to sue SSAI, which in turn, would sue NOAA. Several months later, Lee contacted NOAA's Equal Employment Opportunity ("EEO") office and began communicating with an EEO counselor. Lee alleges that during the counselor's investigation of his claims, a NOAA official told her that SSAI, not NOAA, decided to fire Lee. The counselor emailed Lee to inform him of this information, specifying that SSAI contacted NOAA and told the agency to stop processing Lee's paperwork because SSAI decided to take him off the NOAA contract. Lee alleges that when he contacted an SSAI manager and told him what the EEO counselor had said, the manager told him that "was absolutely not true."

         Lee filed with the EEOC an employment discrimination complaint against SSAI. When the EEOC dismissed his complaint, he sued USAID and NOAA in the district court, seeking damages and an injunction against further discrimination and retaliation. He alleges that NOAA and USAID violated Title VII by terminating his employment because of his national origin and that NOAA violated 18 U.S.C. § 1001 by falsely stating during the EEO investigation that SSAI, rather than NOAA, fired him. The district court granted the agencies' motion for judgment on the pleadings and dismissed the complaint with prejudice, ruling that Lee does not have a Title VII claim against the federal government because he was a federal contractor, not a federal employee, and in any event, Lee failed to timely exhaust his administrative remedies. The district court also ruled that 18 U.S.C. § 1001 does not provide a private right of action. Lee appeals the dismissal of his complaint, and the agencies move for summary affirmance.

         II.

         On appeal, Lee offers no legal support to show that Section 1001 provides a private cause of action. Because this is a recurring issue and there are no published decisions by the Court, we address it ...


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