United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
JANE MAGNTTS-STINSON, CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT
COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA.
Earnest Earl Shellhouse's complaint against the Secretary
of Defense (“the Secretary”)
claims that he was improperly denied a promotion because the
interviewers “lowballed” his interview scores in
order to promote “their favorite” candidates, who
alleges were unqualified. [Shellhouse II, Filing No. 1.]
The Secretary now moves to dismiss Mr. Shellhouse's
complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6), arguing, among other things, that the doctrine of
res judicata bars this lawsuit because Mr. Shellhouse
previously litigated these claims in another lawsuit.
[Shellhouse II, Filing No. 14.] For the following
reasons, the Court GRANTS the
Secretary's Motion to Dismiss.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a party may move to
dismiss a claim that does not state a right to relief. The
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require that a complaint
provide the defendant with “fair notice of what the . .
. claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.”
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (quoting
Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)).
In reviewing the sufficiency of a complaint, the Court must
accept all well-pled facts as true and draw all permissible
inferences in favor of the plaintiff. See Active
Disposal Inc. v. City of Darien, 635 F.3d 883, 886 (7th
Cir. 2011). A Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss asks whether
the complaint “contain[s] sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). The Court may not accept
legal conclusions or conclusory allegations as sufficient to
state a claim for relief. See McCauley v. City
of Chicago, 671 F.3d 611, 617 (7th Cir. 2011). Factual
allegations must plausibly state an entitlement to relief
“to a degree that rises above the speculative
level.” Munson v. Gaetz, 673 F.3d 630, 633
(7th Cir. 2012). This plausibility determination is “a
context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to
draw on its judicial experience and common sense.”
following facts are drawn from Mr. Shellhouse's pleadings
in this case and in his earlier-filed case, which are
accepted as true for the purpose of deciding the
Secretary's Motion to Dismiss.
Shellhouse I Complaint
to filing the present case, Mr. Shellhouse, a civilian
employee of Crane Army Ammunition Activity, filed a complaint
in 2013 against Secretary of the Army John McHugh, alleging
that he was improperly denied a promotion as a result of
gender discrimination. [Shellhouse I, Filing No. 6.]
Mr. Shellhouse's 2013 amended complaint alleged that his
March 28, 2012 interview for a “WG-8 promotion”
involved interviewers who had a conflict of interest and
unfairly scored Mr. Shellhouse's interview, ultimately
denying Mr. Shellhouse the promotion in favor of two
unqualified applicants. [Shellhouse I, Filing No. 6 at
2.] On January 30, 2014, the Court
granted defendant's motion for summary judgment because
Mr. Shellhouse failed to exhaust his administrative remedies
when he did not contact an EEO counselor within 45 days of
the alleged discriminatory conduct, as required by 29 C.F.R.
§ 1614.105. [Shellhouse I, Filing No. 29 at
Shellhouse II Complaint in this Lawsuit
March 16, 2018, Mr. Shellhouse filed a Complaint alleging
“promotion fraud” against Secretary of Defense
James N. Mattis (alleged in his complaint as “Secretary
of the Army”). [Shellhouse II, Filing No. 1.]
Mr. Shellhouse's Complaint is again based upon his March
28, 2012 interview for a WG-8 promotion. [Shellhouse II,
Filing No. 1 at 2.] Mr. Shellhouse alleges that his
interviewers purposely gave him low scores so that the
interviewers' “favorite, ” less qualified
employees would instead receive the promotion.
[Shellhouse II, Filing No. 1 at 3.]
28, 2018, the Secretary filed his Motion to Dismiss.
[Shellhouse II, Filing No. 14.] In light of Mr.
Shellhouse's failure to respond, the ...