Eiler v. Wells Fargo Bank et al
ORDER DISMISSING CASE IN PART AND DIRECTING SERVICE IN PART, granting 11 MOTION for Service by United States Marshal, and denying 9 MOTION for Rule 16 filed by Erin Jessica Eiler. Signed by U.S. District Judge Karen E. Schreier on 5/17/19. (SKK)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF SOUTH DAKOTA
ERIN JESSICA EILER,
ORDER DISMISSING CASE IN PART
AND DIRECTING SERVICE IN PART
WELLS FARGO BANK, US EEOC,
SOUTH DAKOTA DEPARTMENT OF
LABOR, HUMAN RIGHTS;
On February 28, 2019, Erin Jessica Eiler, appearing pro se, filed a 28
U.S.C. § 1983 action against defendants for employment discrimination.
Docket 1. Eiler moved for leave to proceed in forma pauperis, which the court
granted. Docket 5. Currently pending are Eiler’s motion to electronically file
documents (Docket 4), Eiler’s motion for a Rule 16 pretrial conference (Docket
9), and Eiler’s motion for service by the United States Marshal (Docket 11).
Proceeding in forma pauperis is governed by 28 U.S.C. § 1915. That
Notwithstanding any filing fee, . . . the court shall dismiss the case
at any time if the court determines that-...
(B) the action or appeal-(i)
is frivolous or malicious;
fails to state a claim on which relief may be
seeks monetary relief against a defendant
who is immune from such relief.
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). Section 1915(e)(2) allows the court to review a complaint
proceeding under in forma pauperis status to determine if the action is
frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim, or seeks monetary relief against a
defendant or defendants who are immune from such relief. Thus, the court is
required to screen a pro se complaint as soon as practicable and to dismiss
those which are frivolous or fail to state a claim for relief. The United States
Supreme Court has explained that the § 1915(e) screening procedure “accords
judges not only the authority to dismiss a claim based on an indisputably
meritless legal theory, but also the unusual power to pierce the veil of the
complaint’s factual allegations and dismiss those claims whose factual
contentions are clearly baseless.” Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 32 (1992).
But an in forma pauperis complaint cannot be dismissed “simply because the
court finds the plaintiff’s allegations unlikely.” Id. at 33. “[A] complaint,
containing as it does both factual allegations and legal conclusions, is frivolous
where it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact. . . . [The] term
‘frivolous,’ when applied to a complaint, embraces not only the inarguable legal
conclusion, but also the fanciful factual allegation.” Neitzke v. Williams, 490
U.S. 319, 325 (1989).
Because Eiler is proceeding pro se, her pleadings must be liberally
construed and her complaint, “however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less
stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (internal quotation and citation omitted). While
pro se complaints are construed liberally, “they must still allege facts sufficient
to support the claims advanced.” Stone v. Harry, 364 F.3d 912, 914 (8th Cir.
Eiler alleges that Wells Fargo improperly denied her employment as a
Private Mortgage Banker in Boulder, Colorado. Docket 1 at 3. She also alleges
that Wells Fargo denied her employment as a Teller in California and at the
Huron, South Dakota Wells Fargo branch. Id. She states that Wells Fargo
discriminated against her based on a disability, failed to reasonably
accommodate her disability, and refused to hire her based on her age and
color. Id. at 3, 5. She also references a “retaliation component” based on when
she was employed by Wells Fargo in 2011-2012. Id. at 6. At this point, Eiler
has provided sufficient facts to proceed against Wells Fargo.
As to the “South Dakota Human Rights Department of Labor,” Eiler does
not provide any factual allegations to support a claim against the South Dakota
Department of Labor (SD DOL). The only references to the SD DOL in her
complaint are: (1) she states that she “has filed charges” with the SD DOL, and
(2) she “requests review of the South Dakota Human Rights . . . .” Docket 1 at
1, 7. Thus, she fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
As to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Eiler fails
to allege sufficient facts to support a claim. In her complaint, Eiler states that
she “has filed charges against [Wells Fargo] asserting acts of discrimination”
with the EEOC. Id. at 1. While Eiler attaches the EEOC’s decisions, where the
EEOC determined that it was unable to conclude that there was a violation by
Wells Fargo (Docket 1 at 8-11), this is insufficient to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted.
Also, Eiler cannot sue the EEOC for how it handled her complaint
against Wells Fargo. “Congress has not authorized, either expressly or
impliedly, a cause of action against the EEOC for the EEOC’s alleged
negligence or other malfeasance in processing an employment discrimination
charge.” Smith v. Casellas, 119 F.3d 33, 34 (D.C. Cir. 1997) (per curiam); see
also Baba v. Japan Travel Bureau Int’l, Inc., 111 F.3d 2, 5-6 (2d Cir. 1997)
(holding that “Title VII provides no express or implied cause of action against
the EEOC for claims that the EEOC failed properly to investigate or process an
employment discrimination charge.”). Because “no cause of action against the
EEOC exists for challenges to its processing of a claim,” a complaint against
the EEOC is “properly dismissed . . . for failure to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted.” Smith, 119 F.3d at 34. The court dismisses Eiler’s
complaint against the EEOC.
Thus, it is
ORDERED that Eiler’s complaint (Docket 1) is dismissed without
prejudice as it pertains to the South Dakota Department of Labor and the
EEOC for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Eiler’s motion for a Rule 16 pretrial
conference (Docket 9) is denied.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Eiler’s motion for service by the United
States Marshal (Docket 11) is granted as to Wells Fargo.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Eiler shall complete and send to the
Clerk of Court a summons and USM-285 form for Wells Fargo. Upon receipt of
the completed summons and USM-285 form, the Clerk of Court will issue the
summons. If the completed summons and USM-285 form are not submitted as
directed, the complaint may be dismissed.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the United States Marshal Service shall
serve the completed summons, together with a copy of the complaint and this
order, upon defendant.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Eiler’s motion to electronically file
documents (Docket 4) is granted.
Dated May 17, 2019.
BY THE COURT:
/s/ Karen E. Schreier
KAREN E. SCHREIER
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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