Share us on: By Michael Macagnone
Law360, Washington (December 15, 2015, 7:06 PM ET) — A Fourth Circuit panel on Monday affirmed the dismissal of a $6 million suit alleging DynCorp International discriminated against five employees, agreeing with a Virginia federal court that the workers had failed to establish the company discriminated against them because it had not directly employed them.
In the unpublished opinion, the panel affirmed U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema’s decision to toss the suit seeking more than $6 million on behalf of five former DynCorp affiliate employees, saying they had never established their alleged discrimination by DynCorp itself, which was the only company they sued.
“Plaintiffs alleged various acts of misconduct by two businesses that formerly employed them, but the complaint offered only vague and conclusory allegations imputing these acts to DynCorp,” the decision said. “Moreover, because DynCorp was the sole party defendant, the district court did not err in dismissing the complaint in its entirety.”
Those concerns of the district court were not corrected across multiple amendments to the complaint, which at one point sought to add False Claims Act allegations, according to Monday’s decision by the panel.
“We further conclude that the district court did not abuse its discretion by dismissing plaintiffs’ False Claims Act claim or denying leave to file a fifth complaint after the first four proved unsuccessful,” the decision said.
The five employees, variously employed by DynCorp LLC or Dyncorp International FZ-LLC from 2009 to 2013, alleged they were paid less than the published pay schedules for various roles at facilities in Fort Worth, Texas, and Kandahar, Afghanistan, pursuant to a logistics support contract with the Defense Department.
According to court documents, the five — all African-Americans — allegedly suffered racial discrimination, were promoted without being paid, and were treated differently than their white counterparts. In addition, they said they faced threats and retaliation for complaints about their treatment, including facing a “whites only, good-old boys” work environment, according to court documents.
In dismissing the case in February, Judge Brinkema said the case had been “vaguely pled” from its first amended complaint and further amendments had not addressed her concerns. Judge Brinkema said the employees had not established that the alleged actions of DynCorp LLC, a Delaware corporation, and DynCorp FZ LLC, a United Arab Emirates entity, connected to DynCorp International Inc.
DynCorp International was the only named defendant in the case and the only one served as part of the suit.
A representative for DynCorp declined to comment Tuesday, citing a policy against commenting on current litigation. Representatives for the plaintiffs could not be immediately reached for comment Tuesday.
The five plaintiffs were represented by Scott J. Bloch and John Carl Francesco Vinci of the Law Offices of Scott J. Bloch PA.
Dyncorp is represented by Jason Branciforte of Littler Mendelson PC.
The case is Cynthia Harmon et al. v. Dyncorp. International Inc., case number is 15-1248, in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
–Editing by Philip Shea.