Ntamere v. Amerihealth Adminstrators Inc et al
ORDER Adopting Report and Recommendation 8 Report and Recommendation. (Written Opinion) Signed by Judge Katherine M. Menendez on 11/14/2023. (KD)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF MINNESOTA
Anthony E. Ntamere,
Case No. 22-cv-02682 (KMM/JFD)
Amerihealth Administrators Inc., et. al,
The above matter comes before the Court on the Report and Recommendation
(R&R) of United States Magistrate Judge John F. Docherty, dated February 9, 2023. [ECF
No. 8.] Mr. Ntamere has filed objections. [ECF No. 10.] For the reasons set forth below,
the Court accepts the R&R, dismisses Mr. Ntamere’s claims against the United States
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) and Charlotte Czarnecki, EEOC
Investigator, and grants Mr. Ntamere’s request to amend his complaint to add the
appropriate individuals in place of the Minnesota Department of Human Rights
After an R&R is issued, a party may “serve and file specific written objections to
the proposed findings and recommendations.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b)(2). The objections
must outline the specific "portions of the magistrate judge’s report and recommendation to
which objections are made and provide a basis for those objections." United States
v. Miller, Crim. No. 20-232(19) (JRT/BRT), 2022 WL 3644894, at *2 (D. Minn. Aug. 24,
2022) (quoting Mayer v. Walvatne, No. 07-1958, 2008 WL 4527774, at *2 (D. Minn. Sept.
28, 2008)). The Court reviews de novo those portions of the R&R to which specific
objections are made, and it “may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings
or recommendations made by the magistrate judge.” See 28 U.S.C. §636(b)(1)(C); Fed. R.
Civ. P. 72(b)(3); D. Minn. LR 72.2(b)(3).
The events in this lawsuit took place while Mr. Ntamere was an employee at
AmeriHealth Administrators, Inc. (“AHA”), a subsidiary of Independence Blue Cross,
LLC (“IBC”). [Am. Compl., ECF No. 4.] According to Mr. Ntamere, when he was at a
three-day AHA-sponsored training in July 2019, one of the trainers used a racist slur, which
Mr. Ntamere recorded. [Id. ¶ 57.] After the training, Mr. Ntamere filed a complaint with
IBC’s human resources, but Michelle Schumacher, the head of human resources, ultimately
closed the complaint and placed a probation notice in Mr. Ntamere’s employee file for
recording the training in violation of company policies. [Id.] After this probation notice
was placed in Mr. Ntamere’s employee file, Mr. Ntamere sought to file a charge with the
EEOC. [Id. at 12.] During the process of filing the charge, Mr. Ntamere participated in a
plaintiff interview meeting with EEOC Investigator Charlotte Czarnecki. [Id.]
Mr. Ntamere disagrees with the R&R’s factual findings regarding what happened
next. According to Mr. Ntamere, Ms. Czarnecki filled out the charge and erroneously sent
it to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (“PHRC”). 1 [Objections, ECF
No. 10 at 2.] Regardless of who filed the charge, Mr. Ntamere alleges that the charge was
The R&R states that Mr. Ntamere alleges that Czarnecki erroneously directed him
to file a cross-complaint with the PHRC. [R&R, ECF No. 8 at 3.]
erroneously filed. The EEOC ultimately closed its file pertaining to Mr. Ntamere’s
allegations, determining that it could not conclude—based on the information it
obtained—that federal law had been violated. [ECF No. 4-2 at 9.] Mr. Ntamere then
attempted to file a complaint with the MDHR about the use of the racial slur; however,
because the initial complaint was filed with the PHRC, he was told he would need to
contact the PHRC for assistance. [Am. Compl. at ¶¶ 83–84.]
Mr. Ntamere explains that in June 2020, IBC’s CEO sent out an email
acknowledging racism within the company and the company’s commitment to addressing
it. [Id. at ¶ 91.] Given his experience at the earlier workshop, Mr. Ntamere found the email
insincere, and he expressed this opinion on the company’s intranet. [Id.] In response,
Ms. Schumacher placed a second probation notice in Mr. Ntamere’s employee file for
failing to comply with the directive in his 2019 probation notice and for violating company
policy. [Id. at ¶ 95.] Mr. Ntamere then made additional comments critical of IBC to other
IBC employees on IBC forums. [Id. at ¶ 96] Mr. Ntamere’s employment was terminated
on June 24, 2020. [Id. at ¶ 97.]
Nearly a year later, Mr. Ntamere filed a complaint with the MDHR, claiming his
termination from IBC was the result of race-based discrimination. [MDHR Charge, ECF
No. 4-1.] The MDHR investigated and determined that there was no probable cause to
believe that discrimination occurred. [Id.] Mr. Ntamere requested reconsideration, but the
MDHR affirmed its earlier ruling.
In doing so, the MDHR also explained that
Mr. Ntamere’s claims that he had been placed on probation in August 2019 for recording
the meeting in which he claims to have been subjected to a racial slur may have constituted
violations of the Minnesota Human Rights Act, but those claims were not properly before
the MDHR because Mr. Ntamere had failed to assert them in a timely manner. [MDHR
Reconsideration, ECF No. 4-4 at 5.]
Mr. Ntamere makes several claims in this case, but the R&R focuses on Mr.
Ntamere’s allegation that Defendants MDHR, AHA, and Ms. Czarnecki deprived him of
due process by cross-filing his 2019 EEOC complaint with the PHRC instead of the MDHR
in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. [R&R at 5–6.] The R&R recommends that Mr. Ntamere’s
claims against the MDHR, the EEOC, and Charlotte Czarnecki be dismissed because
42 U.S.C. § 1983 requires a plaintiff to allege a violation of a constitutional right committed
by a person acting under color of state law, and here, two of the agencies or persons acted
under federal law, and the remaining party MDHR is not a “person” within the meaning
of § 1983. [Id.]
Mr. Ntamere argues that Ms. Czarnecki and the EEOC should not be dismissed and
requests the Court to allow him to make several revisions to his Amended Complaint.
Based on the Court’s careful review, Mr. Ntamere’s objections regarding the dismissal of
Ms. Czarnecki and the EEOC are overruled. The Court will allow Mr. Ntamere to make
his proposed amendments.
A. Ms. Czarnecki and the EEOC
Mr. Ntamere argues that although the Supreme Court has stated that new Bivens
actions are disfavored, the Supreme Court has not reversed Bivens, and it should apply in
this case. 2 While true that Bivens has not been overruled, it does not permit lawsuits against
federal agencies such as the EEOC. See FDIC v. Meyer, 510 U.S. 471, 486 (1994)
(declining to extend Bivens to federal agencies). Moreover, there is no established Bivens
cause of action against an EEOC official who allegedly cross-filed an employment
discrimination claim in the wrong district. The Court finds that the R&R did not err in
concluding that Mr. Ntamere cannot pursue a Bivens cause of action for the EEOC and Ms.
Czarnecki’s alleged conduct in this case. 3
B. The MDHR
Mr. Ntamere does not object to the R&R’s finding that the MDHR should be
dismissed as a party because it is not a “person” within the meaning of § 1983. Instead,
Mr. Ntamere requests the Court allow him to amend his complaint to add the following
state and MDHR officials in their official capacity as defendants: Attorney General Keith
Ellison, MDHR commissioner Rebecca Lucero, and MDHR Lead Investigator Tom
Egbert v. Boule, 142 S. Ct. 1793, 1803 (2022) (“[R]ecognizing a cause of action
under Bivens is a disfavored judicial activity.”) (quotation omitted); Bivens v. Six Unknown
Named Agents of Fed. Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388, 395–97 (1971) (establishing that
a “Bivens” action may be brought against federal officials in their individual capacity for
their constitutional torts).
Mr. Ntamere did not initially bring a Bivens action against Ms. Czarnecki and the
EEOC. Instead, he brought his claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which the R&R found was
not supported by law. The R&R merely referenced Bivens in a footnote to explain why his
case would not be supported by the federal equivalent to § 1983. [R&R, P. 5 fn. 3.]
Mr. Ntamere does not challenge the R&R’s finding that 42 U.S.C. § 1983 does not support
a claim against the Ms. Czarnecki and the EEOC.
Bernette. He also requests the Court allow him to remove MDHR as a defendant and
correct typos in his Amended Complaint. The Court grants Mr. Ntamere’s request.
Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:
1. The Report and Recommendation [ECF No. 8] is ACCEPTED.
2. Defendant’s Objections [ECF No. 10] are OVERRULED in part and
GRANTED in part.
3. Mr. Ntamere’s claims against Ms. Czarnecki and the EEOC are DISMISSED
4. Mr. Ntamere may amend his Amended Complaint within 30 days of this Order.
Mr. Ntamere may add Attorney General Keith Ellison, MDHR commissioner
Rebecca Lucero, and MDHR Lead Investigator Tom Bernette to his Amended
Complaint, remove MDHR as a defendant, and correct typos in his Amended
Complaint. Mr. Ntamere may not make other revisions.
Date: November 14, 2023
United States District Judge
The defendants do not appear to oppose Mr. Ntamere’s request to amend his
Complaint. Therefore, the Court will allow it.
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?