DAVIS v. POSTMASTER et al
ORDER - The Court GRANTS in part and DENIES in part Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, or in the Alternative, for Summary Judgment. [Dkt. 10 .] The Court grants the Motion to Dismiss with respect to the DOL and DISMISSES WITH PREJUDICE Mr. Davis& #039; claim against the DOL. The Court denies the Motion to Dismiss with respect to the USPS and ORDERS Mr. Davis to submit an Amended Complaint by July 31, 2013, complying with the requirements set forth above. No partial judgment shall issue. Signed by Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson on 6/26/2013. (copy to Plaintiff via US Mail) (JKS)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
LARRY DARNELL DAVIS,
UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE, and
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR,
Presently pending before the Court is Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss, or in the
Alternative, for Summary Judgment, [dkt. 10], which the Court GRANTS in part and DENIES
in part for the reasons that follow.
On December 10, 2012, Plaintiff Mr. Davis, pro se, filed a Complaint against Defendants
United States Department of Labor (“DOL”) and United States Postal Service (“USPS”) in
which he alleges that the “[USPS] placed the Partial Disabled Plaintiff in a job that was not
suitable for [his] restrictions which caused [him] to be injured,” [dkt. 1 at 6], and that the DOL
“denied [his] bilateral cubital tunnel as an on-the-job injury,” [id at 7].
On May 10, 2013,
Defendants filed the presently pending Motion to Dismiss, [dkt. 10], under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure impose only a notice-pleading requirement for
complaints. Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 8. Thus, “[s]pecific facts are not necessary; the [plaintiff] need
only ‘give the defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds on which it rests.’”
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (quoting Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544
(2007) (alteration omitted) (per curiam)). Nonetheless, “a complaint may be so sketchy that the
complaint does not provide the type of notice of the claim to which the defendant is entitled.”
Airborne Beepers & Video, Inc. v. AT&T Mobility LLC, 499 F.3d 663, 667 (7th Cir. 2007)
(synthesizing Erickson and Twombly). In that circumstance, a motion to dismiss under Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) is proper. A motion filed under that rule 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, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550
U.S. at 570). For the purposes of that rule, the Court will ignore legally conclusory allegations.
Id. at 1945-50 (“Although for the purposes of a motion to dismiss we must take all the factual
allegations in the complaint as true, we are not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion
couched as a factual allegation.” (internal citation and quotation marks omitted)). The Court
will, however, give the complaint the benefit of reasonable inferences from all non-conclusory
allegations. See id. Further, the United States Supreme Court has held that “[a] document filed
pro se is to be liberally construed, and a pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be
held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Erickson, 551 U.S. at
Defendants DOL and USPS seek dismissal of Mr. Davis’ claims on separate grounds.
The Court will consider in turn the grounds for dismissal argued by each Defendant entity.
A. Claim Against the DOL
The DOL argues that Mr. Davis’ claim against it should be dismissed for because a suit
seeking judicial review of its determinations is improper. [Dkt. 11 at 5.] The Court agrees. The
Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (“FECA”), 5 U.S.C. § 8101, et seq; expressly precludes
judicial review of federal workers’ compensation determinations. 5 U.S.C. § 8128(b). It is clear
from Mr. Davis’ Complaint that his only claim against the DOL pertains to the DOL’s
determination regarding his workers’ compensation claim. [See dkt. 1 at 7.] Therefore, this
Court lacks the subject-matter jurisdiction to hear Mr. Davis’ grievance. See Czerkies v. U.S.
Department of Labor, 73 F.3d 1435, 1437-1443 (7th Cir. 1996) (en banc) (“[W]hen all that a
claimant is seeking is benefits on the basis of an error of fact or law by the administering agency,
judicial review is barred altogether.”). Accordingly, the Court grants Defendants’ Motion to
Dismiss with respect to claims against the DOL.
B. Claim Against the USPS
Defendants also seek to dismiss Mr. Davis’ claim against the USPS, characterizing the
claim as one brought under the Federal Torts Claims Act (“FTCA”), 28 U.S.C. § 2671, et seq.
[Dkt. 11 at 3.] Defendants argue that because Mr. Davis has not exhausted his administrative
remedies, the Court must dismiss his claim against USPS. [Id. (citing Gibson v. West, 201 F.3d
990, 993 (7th Cir. 2000)).]
The Court does not accept Defendants’ characterization of Mr. Davis’ claims. Mr. Davis
has filed this claim pro se, and because Local Rule 8.1 requires pro se litigants to file certain
types of claims using the Court’s stock forms,1 the Court recognizes that Mr. Davis may have
been limited in his ability to clarify the type of claim he was alleging against the USPS. [See
dkt. 1.] Because it is unclear whether Mr. Davis’ claims are being brought under the FTCA, the
Court denies Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss with respect to the USPS, [dkt. 10], and will instead
treat the motion as one for a more definite statement. Mr. Davis is ordered to submit an
Mr. Davis filed his Complaint using the Court’s stock form for civil rights claims.
Amended Complaint by July 31, 2013, specifying the legal basis for his claim, whether FTCA or
otherwise. Mr. Davis does not need to use one of the Court’s stock forms to submit this filing.
Mr. Davis’s Amended Complaint shall conform to the following requirements:
The amended complaint shall comply with the requirement of Rule 8(a)(2) that
pleadings contain a short and plain statement of the claim showing that he is
entitled to relief;
The amended complaint shall comply with the requirement of Rule 10 that the
allegations in a complaint be made in numbered paragraphs, each of which should
recite, as far as practicable, only a single set of circumstances; and
The amended complaint must identify what legal injury Mr. Daivs claims to have
suffered and what persons are responsible for each such legal injury and identify
the date or dates those legal injuries were sustained.
For the above-stated reasons, the Court GRANTS in part and DENIES in part
Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss, or in the Alternative, for Summary Judgment. [Dkt. 10.] The
Court grants the Motion to Dismiss with respect to the DOL and DISMISSES WITH
PREJUDICE Mr. Davis’ claim against the DOL. The Court denies the Motion to Dismiss with
respect to the USPS and ORDERS Mr. Davis to submit an Amended Complaint by July 31,
2013, complying with the requirements set forth above. No partial judgment shall issue.
Hon. Jane Magnus-Stinson, Judge
United States District Court
Southern District of Indiana
Larry Darnell Davis
5094 Pin Oak Drive
Indianapolis, IN 46254
Distribution via ECF:
Jonathan A. Bont
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY’S OFFICE
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