United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ANDREW U. D. STRAW, Plaintiff,
INDIANA SUPREME COURT, Defendant.
ENTRY ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS
RICHARD L. YOUNG, JUDGE
February 14, 2017, the Indiana Supreme Court
(“ISC”) suspended the law license of the pro
se Plaintiff herein, Andrew U.D. Straw, for filing four
frivolous lawsuits. See In re Andrew U.D. Straw, 68
N.E.3d 1070 (Ind. 2017). Following the suspension, the ISC
listed his status as “suspended” in its Roll of
Attorneys. The ISC also reported the same to the American Bar
Association (“ABA”), which resulted in the loss
of his membership with that organization.
26, 2017, Plaintiff filed the instant Complaint entitled
“Complaint Against Retaliation Actions of the Indiana
Supreme Court Against Andrew Straw.” As its title
suggests, the Complaint alleges that the ISC retaliated
against Plaintiff in numerous ways because of his mental and
physical disabilities, in violation of the Americans with
Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12203 (“ADA”).
In Count I, he alleges the ISC's Order of suspension is
an act of retaliation because it prevents him from
participating in law reform at the ABA. (Filing No. 1,
Compl. ¶ 35). “The [ISC] retaliation also includes
every ADA case or lawsuit even remotely implicated” in
the four disability-based lawsuits that were the subject of
his disciplinary proceeding. (Id. ¶ 36). In
Count II, Plaintiff alleges the ISC's
“notation” on its Roll of Attorney's showing
his status as “suspended” is in retaliation for
having filed multiple ADA lawsuits, including those that were
the subject of his suspension. (Id. ¶¶ 18,
40). In Count III, he alleges the ISC's attorneys have
“refused to communicate with [him] for months [and]
refused every overture [he] has made for settlement of the
matter.” (Id. ¶ 41). This is so even
though “[he] [has] had evidence to demonstrate
discrimination in document format.” (Compl. ¶ 22).
And in Count IV, he alleges the Court refuses “to
release [its] grip on [him]” by failing to reconsider
its Order of suspension and allowing him to “resign his
license.” (Id. ¶¶ 23, 44).
moves to dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint for failure to
state a claim and for lack of jurisdiction pursuant to
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) and 12(b)(1).
disciplinary complaint which culminated in Plaintiff's
suspension was filed by Brenda Rodeheffer, employed by the
Indiana Supreme Court's Division of State Court
Administration, on September 3, 2014. The filing of the
disciplinary complaint has been the subject of two prior
lawsuits, filed by Plaintiff in 2015 and 2016, in the
Southern District of Indiana.
2015 lawsuit was against the ISC, Ms. Rodeheffer, ISC
employees Lilia Judson and Kevin Smith (“State
Defendants”), and the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission (“EEOC”). Straw v. Ind. Sup.
Ct., No. 1:15-cv-1015-RLY-DKL. Plaintiff's
allegations against the ISC begin in 2000, when he accepted a
position with the ISC's Division of State Court
Administration as a statistical analyst.
(Compl. ¶ 26 and Ex. J). He alleges that when
he returned to work after taking leave from a head-on car
accident in February 2001, his supervisor treated him poorly
and complained that he did not walk fast enough.
(Id. ¶¶ 27-29). He alleges that after he
disclosed his bipolar disorder on his bar application, his
supervisor began making disparaging remarks about people with
bipolar disorder which he found extremely upsetting.
(Id. ¶¶ 45-46).
2002, Plaintiff passed the Indiana bar. (Id. ¶
56). Due to his mental disability, however, the Indiana Board
of Law Examiners informed him he would receive
“Conditional Admission” if he signed a Consent
Agreement. (Id. ¶ 58 and Ex. W). The Consent
Agreement required Plaintiff to submit quarterly statements
from his psychiatrist and therapist establishing that his
bipolar disorder was being successfully managed for a minimum
of two years. (Id.). Plaintiff became so distraught
over this circumstance that his doctor ordered him to be off
work for four weeks. (Id. ¶ 60). Plaintiff
alleges that when he returned to work in July 2002, Ms.
Judson fired him. (Id. ¶ 61).
August 15, 2014,  Plaintiff filed a Petition for Redress of
Grievances because he felt his constitutional and human
rights had been violated by the ISC over a long period of
time. (Id. ¶ 74 and Ex. Z). In the Petition,
Plaintiff stated that the ISC engaged in disability-based
discrimination in the bar application process and during his
time as an employee of STAD. (Id., Ex. Z at 1).
Eventually, Mr. Smith referred the Petition to Ms.
Rodeheffer, who explained the State Defendants' position
that Plaintiff did not have any valid claims against them.
(Id. ¶ 77 and Ex. CC).
September 3, 2014, Ms. Rodeheffer filed a disciplinary
complaint against Plaintiff with the ISC Disciplinary
Commission stating that Plaintiff's “mental health
problems have become sufficiently severe that I believe he is
not competent to practice law.” (Id. ¶
80). She noted that Plaintiff had “filed multiple
lawsuits in the last month that are nonsensical, ”
including the lawsuit against the ABA referenced in footnote
1. (Id., Ex. E and ¶ 109).
court granted both the State Defendants' and the
EEOC's Motions to Dismiss. Importantly, the court
dismissed Plaintiff's discrimination and retaliation
claims against the State Defendants for insufficient service
of process, and for failure to state a plausible claim for
relief. Straw v. Ind. Sup. Ct., No.
1:15-cv-1015-RLY-DKL, 2016 WL 344720 (S.D. Ind. Jan. 28,
2016 lawsuit was filed against the Indiana Supreme Court, Ms.
Rodeheffer, G. Michael Witte, Executive Director of the
Disciplinary Commission, Loretta Rush, Chief Justice of the
Indiana Supreme Court, Lilia Judson, and Hearing Officer
James Robert Ahler (“State Defendants”).
Straw v. Ind. Sup. Ct., 1:16-cv-3483-JMS-TAB. The
Complaint alleged “identical claims” against the
State Defendants as those asserted in the 2015 lawsuit.
Straw v. Ind. Sup. Ct., 692 Fed.Appx. 291, 293
(2017). The district court therefore found Plaintiff's
ADA retaliation claims were barred by res judicata.
Straw v. Ind. Sup. Ct., 1:16-cv-3483-JMS-TAB, 2017
WL 634162, at *2 (S.D. Ind. Feb. 16, 2017). The court entered
final judgment, and the Seventh Circuit affirmed.
Straw, 692 Fed.Appx. at 294.