United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
JOHN R. WILLIAMS, Plaintiff,
SAIC and LEIDOS GLOBAL, Defendants.
AMENDED ENTRY ON MOTION TO DISMISS
TANYA WALTON PRATT, District Judge.
Because a draft version of this Entry was inadvertently docketed, the Court now issues the following Amended Entry and the prior Entry (Filing No. 29) is stricken. This matter is before the Court on Defendants SAIC and Leidos Global's (collectively, "Defendants") second Motion to Dismiss for failure to state a claim (Filing No. 22). Plaintiff John R. Williams ("Mr. Williams"), proceeding pro se , has filed an Amended Complaint alleging that Defendants retaliated against him for using leave pursuant to the Family Medical Leave Act ("FMLA") and for filing a Federally Protected Right with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"), and that he was discriminated against. For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' Motion is GRANTED.
The following facts from Mr. Williams's Amended Complaint, although difficult to discern, are accepted as true, and all favorable inferences are drawn in favor of Mr. Williams for purposes of this motion to dismiss. See Killingsworth v. HSBC Bank , 507 F.3d 614, 618 (7th Cir. 2007). Mr. Williams was hired by SAIC on January 6, 2004. He excelled at his work. Mr. Williams had to take time off from work for FMLA/Medical leave for required surgery. He worked with management in scheduling surgery and did what was required. Mr. Williams alleges that he was retaliated against for using FMLA and discriminated against repeatedly as follows: his "house and personal property were illegally and repeatedly broken into and destroyed maliciously and willfully;" his "attorney-client privileged documents and evidence have been altered and compromised;" his "Former Employer and Customer stated that they were going to put him "in a Crane/SAIC/LEIDOS Prison as a POW to contain me, imprison and torture him." Mr. Williams also alleges that cameras and technologies discussed openly from his former employer were installed illegally in his house without his knowledge and that he can now identify that his employer illegally hacked into his personal electronics; he "received death threats from co-workers and Management" and was informed that his former employer "created a collaboration (sic) set me up and retaliate;" Mr. Williams's Amended Complaint also alleges that he and his ex-wife "were retaliated against for filing a Federally Protected Right with the EEOC."
On July 14, 2014, Mr. Williams filed a Charge of Discrimination against Defendants with the EEOC, Charge No. 470-2014-02334 (the "Charge"). (Filing No. 1-1.) In the Charge, Mr. Williams reports that he was discriminated against based on his genetic information and religion, and retaliated against for filing two earlier EEOC charges. In the narrative of his Charge, he claims that "[f]ollowing the settlement of charge numbers XXX-XXXX-XXXXX and XXX-XXXX-XXXXX I have been retaliated against in multiple aspects of subsequent employment." (Id. at p. 1) (emphasis added). The Charge further alleges that Mr. Williams discovered software on his computer that he did not place there, had his telephone calls redirected, had his hair samples gathered following a haircut, had his unemployment card hacked, had electricity interruptions, had his Joel Osteen messages changed, and was redirected from GoDaddy.com to fake employer websites.
The original Complaint in this action was filed on October 27, 2014, and on January 5, 2015 Defendants moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim (Filing No. 10). Mr. Williams filed both a Response in Opposition and an Amended Complaint on January 26, 2015. Mr. Williams attached the EEOC Charge to his original Complaint but the Charge was not attached to his Amended Complaint. On February 18, 2015, Defendants moved to dismiss the Amended Complaint. Mr. Williams filed a Response (Filing No. 25) on March 10, 2015, however, the Response contains no analysis or argument but merely states that he opposes the motion.
II. LEGAL STANDARD
Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), the Court must take the facts alleged in the complaint as true and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. Mosley v. Kinclair , 947 F.3d 1338, 1339 (7th Cir. 1991). The complaint must contain only "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, " Fed.R.Civ.P. 8 (a)(2), and there is no need for detailed factual allegations. Pisciotta v. Old Nat'l Bancorp , 499 F.3d 629, 633 (7th Cir. 2007) (citation omitted). Nevertheless, the statement must "give the defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests, " and the "factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Id. (citations and quotations omitted). "Although this does not require heightened fact pleading of specifics, ' it does require the complaint to contain enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Killingsworth v. HSBC Bank Nev. N.A. , 507 F.3d 614, 618 (7th Cir. 2007) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)).
Mr. Williams is proceeding without counsel. Pro se complaints such as that filed by Mr. Williams are construed liberally and held to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers. Obriecht v. Raemisch , 517 F.3d 489, 491 n.2 (7th Cir. 2008). Liberal construction means that if the court can reasonably read the pleadings to state a valid claim on which the party could prevail, it should do so. Despite this liberal construction, the court will not invent legal arguments for litigants, and is not obliged to accept as true legal conclusions or unsupported conclusions of fact. County of McHenry v. Insurance Company of the West, 438 F.3d 813, 818 (7th Cir. 2006) (internal quotations and citations omitted).
Threadbare accusations do not satisfy the standard articulated in Twombly and Iqbal . In Mosby v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co ., the court dismissed an insufficiently-pled discrimination and FMLA complaint, explaining:
A proper complaint would set forth Plaintiff's claims in short numbered paragraphs, stating, in a non-argumentative fashion, ... (a) the nature of the protected activity (for example, if her communication with [Defendant] included a complaint of discrimination, she should so state); (b) the person(s) who were aware of her protected activity; and (c) how and when those persons retaliated against her.
2012 WL 123774, *4 (N.D. Ill. January 17, 2012). Similarly, Mr. Williams's Complaint should set forth in short numbered paragraphs the nature of the protected activity he claims to have engaged in, who was aware of that activity, and how those people retaliated against him. Instead, Mr. Williams's Amended Complaint is in narrative form and contains a page and a half of ...