United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
TIMOTHY C. PLATT, Plaintiff,
STATE OF INDIANA, Defendant.
ORDER ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS
J. MCKINNEY, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
State of Indiana (“Indiana”) has filed a motion
to dismiss Plaintiff Timothy C. Platt's
(“Platt's”) Complaint pursuant to Rule
12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, for lack of
jurisdiction; or under Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a
claim. Dkt. No. 14. Platt, pro se, failed to
respond. For the reasons stated herein, the Motion is
was formerly employed by the Department of Correction for the
State of Indiana (“IDOC”), as a Class I Truck
Driver. Compl. at 2. He claims that his two supervisors,
Ralph Ison and Candace Soltermann, discovered in the spring
of 2016 that he is an Atheist/Socialist and then began a
campaign to discredit and then fire him. Id. at 2-3.
On March 24, 2017, Platt was suspended and, subsequently, his
employment was terminated on April 21, 2017. Id. On
April 24, 2017, Platt filed his Complaint in which he alleges
that IDOC terminated his employment in retaliation for his
religious and political beliefs. Id. at 1-3. He
cites claims under 28 U.S.C. § 1331, 42 U.S.C. §
1983, the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and
Indiana Code § 4-15-2.2-24. Id. at 1-2. Platt
requests reinstatement or placement in an open position for
which the State Personnel Department determines he is
qualified, and monetary relief. Id. at 5.
considering a motion brought pursuan to Rule 12(b), the Court
examines the sufficiency of the plaintiff's complaint as
opposed to the merits of the lawsuit, and directs dismissal
only if it appears to a certainty that the plaintiff can
establish no basis for asserting personal jurisdiction. Rule
12(b)(2) permits the dismissal of a claim for lack of
jurisdiction over a person or entity. In considering a Rule
12(b)(2) motion to dismiss, the Court reviews any affidavits
and other documentary evidence that have been filed, as long
as factual disputes are resolved in favor of the non-movant -
in this case Platt. See Gibson v. City of Chicago,
910 F.2d 1510, 1520-21 (7th Cir. 1990).
12(b)(6) permits the dismissal of a claim for failure to
state a claim upon which relief can be granted in the
pleadings. A pleading must contain a “short and plain
statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled
to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Detailed factual
allegations are not required, but a plaintiff's complaint
may not merely state “an unadorned, the
Ashcraoft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
Rather, “a complaint must contain sufficient factual
matter … to ‘state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.'” Id. (quoting
Bell Atlantic Corp v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007)). “A claim has facial plausibility when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged[, ]” not when the plaintiff
only raises a “sheer possibility that the defendant has
acted unlawfully.” Id. “[T]he height of
the pleading requirement is relative to the circumstances[,
]” Cooney v. Rossiter, 583 F.3d 967, 971 (7th
Cir. 2009), and “[d]etermining the plausibility of a
claim is a context-specific task that requires [the Court] to
draw on [its] judicial experience and common sense.”
Brown v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, 334 Fed.Appx. 758,
759 (7th Cir. 2009).
claim for damages against the State of Indiana must be
dismissed because states are immune from suit in federal
court pursuant to the Eleventh Amendment. See Alabama v.
Pugh, 438 U.S. 781, 782 (1978); Stanley v. Ind.
Civil Rights Comm'n, 557 F.Supp. 330, 333-34 (N.D.
Ind. 1983), aff'd 740 F.2d 972 (7th Cir. 1984).
“[T]he Eleventh Amendment guarantees that ‘an
unconsenting State is immune from suits brought in federal
courts by her own citizens as well as by citizens of another
State.'” Bd. of Regents of Univ. of Wis. Sys.
v. Phoenix Int'l Software, Inc., 653 F.3d 448, 457
(7th Cir. 2011) (quoting Edelman v. Jordan, 415 U.S.
651, 662-63 (1974)). Further, the Indiana Department of
Correction, or the State Personnel Department, are treated
like the State of Indiana for purposes of the Eleventh
Amendment. See Pennhurst State Sch. & Hosp. v.
Halderman, 465 U.S. 89, 100 (1984). Although a State may
waive its Eleventh Amendment immunity or consent to suit,
Indiana has not done so. See Moore v. State of
Indiana, 999 F.2d 1125, 1128-29 (1993); Lembach v.
State of Indiana, 987 F.Supp. 1095, 1098 (N.D. Ind.
1997). The bar is particularly applicable to suits brought
pursuant to § 1983. See Stanley, 557 F.Supp. at
333. Therefore, Platt's claim for damages pursuant to
§ 1983 against Indiana are barred by the Eleventh
addition, to state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a
plaintiff must allege the violation of a right secured by the
Constitution or the laws of the United States and must show
that the alleged deprivation was committed by a person acting
under color of state law. See West v. Atkins, 487
U.S. 42, 48 (1988). However, a State or its agencies are not
“persons” under § 1983. See Will v.
Mich. Dept. of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71 (1989);
see also Ross v. Ind. State Bd. of Nursing, 790
N.E.2d 110, 117 (Ind.Ct.App. 2003) (citing Severson v.
Bd. of Trustees of Purdue Univ., 777 N.E.2d 1181, 1190
(Ind.Ct.App. 2002), trans. denied). As written, the
Court cannot construe the Complaint as one against the
individuals named therein; only the agencies and the State of
Indiana. As stated above, neither the agencies nor the State
of Indiana are “persons” under § 1983.
Therefore, Platt's claim must be dismissed for failure to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted.
Court liberally construes the Complaint, as it must since
Platt is presenting his claims pro se, see Perez v.
Fenoglio, 792 F.3d 768, 776 (7th Cir. 2015), it could be
read as a religious discrimination claim pursuant to Title
VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. However, there is no
allegation that Platt exhausted any administrative remedies
that is a prerequisite to bringing suit under Title VII.
See Sauzek v. Exxon Coal USA, Inc., 202 F.3d 913,
920 (7th Cir. 2000). Platt's Complaint must be dismissed
for failure to state a claim on this ground as well.
reasons stated herein, Defendant State of Indiana's
Motion to Dismiss, Dkt. No. 14, is GRANTED.
Plaintiff Timothy C. Pratt shall have 21 days from the date
of this Order to amend his Complaint. The failure ...