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Reginald Hunter v. Department of Veterans Affairs

October 21, 2011

REGINALD HUNTER,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge James S. Gwin

MEMORANDUM OF OPINION

Pro se Plaintiff Reginald Hunter filed the above-captioned in forma pauperis Complaint against the Department of Veterans Affairs ("the VA"), Cynthia King, Charles Columbus, and David Sable.*fn1 Mr. Hunter alleges the VA discriminated against him based on color, race, disability and in reprisal for prior Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (E.E.O.C.) claims he filed. He seeks to enjoin any further discrimination and "to be made whole."

Background

The one page Complaint is devoid of facts chronicling events leading to this lawsuit.

Instead, Mr. Hunter recites a series of statements regarding his dissatisfaction with the E.E.O.C. and the VA's alleged practice of exclusively hiring Caucasian employees. He describes himself as a disabled veteran.

Mr. Hunter states he cannot win a case when the E.E.O.C. just "kicks another out."(Compl. at 1.) He questions how another candidate for employment can be more qualified than he is, when he does not need to be trained. He complains that while his "score" is the lowest, he believes it was changed by Charles Columbus. Finally, he asserts he had to fight for his job and that "it has been a witch hunt ever since." Id. The VA has allegedly blocked him from pursuing employment "out of town." Id.

Attached to the Complaint is a Final Agency Decision ("the Decision") from the VA's Office of Employment Discrimination Complaint Adjudication, dated September 15, 2011. The Decision advises all interested parties that Mr. Hunter has the right, in part, to file a civil action within 90 days of his receipt of the Decision. The Decision does not, however, contain any relevant facts related to Mr. Hunter's Complaint.

Standard of Review

Although pro se pleadings are liberally construed, Boag v. MacDougall, 454 U.S. 364, 365 (1982) (per curiam); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972), the district court is required to dismiss any claim under 28 U.S.C. §1915(e) if it fails to state a basis upon which relief can be granted, or if it lacks an arguable basis in law or fact. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319 (1989); Lawler v. Marshall, 898 F.2d 1196 (6th Cir. 1990); Sistrunk v. City of Strongsville, 99 F.3d 194, 197 (6th Cir. 1996). For the reasons stated below, this action is dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1915(e).

Title VII

At the pleading stage, plaintiffs are not required to allege facts to support a prima facie case of discrimination. See Swierkiewicz v. Sorema, 534 U.S. 506 (2002)(employment discrimination complaint need not contain specific facts establishing a prima facie case under the McDonnell Douglas [ v. Green, 411 U.S. 792 (1973)] framework). This standard does not, however, eliminate the basic tenets of notice pleading.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act makes it unlawful for an employer "to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual's race, color, religion, sex, or national origin." 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)(1). Mr. Hunter does not explain how the Defendants discriminated against him based on his color or race. Instead, he makes conclusory statements that only Caucasian employees are hired by the VA.

Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires, in relevant part:

(1) a short and plain statement of the grounds upon which the court's jurisdiction depends. . . (2) a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief; and (3) a demand for judgment for the relief the pleader seeks. ...


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