United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
Vascura Magistrate Judge
OPINION AND ORDER
C. SMITH, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
matter is before the Court upon Plaintiff Theresa
Garner's Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction;
Second Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings; and Third Motion
for Judgment on the Pleadings. (Docs, 37, 52, and 54).
Defendants responded to all of Plaintiffs Motions. (Docs. 43,
53, and 57). Plaintiff filed a Reply in Support of her Motion
to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction and her Third Motion for
Judgment on the Pleadings. (Docs. 49; 58). Plaintiff failed
to reply to Defendants' opposition to her second motion
and the time to do so has passed. Accordingly, this matter is
ripe for review. For the reasons stated herein, all of
Plaintiffs motions are DENIED.
Theresa Garner ("Plaintiff' or "Garner"),
a pro se litigant, commenced this action on November 29,
2018. (See generally Doc. 1, Compl.). On June 10,
2019, Plaintiff filed a six-count Second Amended
Complaint alleging: 1) racial discrimination; 2) age
discrimination; 3) retaliation; 4) a violation of the
Americans with Disabilities Act; 5) hostile work environment;
and 6) a violation of the False Claims Act. (See
Doc. 34, SAC ¶¶ 61-74). Defendants filed an Answer
to the Second Amended Complaint on June 20, 2018.
(See Doc. 35, Answer to SAC).
is an African-American woman who is over the age of forty
and, for the time period relevant to this action, she was
employed by the Defense Logistics Agency ("DLA"), a
component of the Department of Defense. (Doc. 34, SAC at 2).
The over-arching incident that Plaintiff complains of is the
DLA's failure to properly compensate her given her
qualifications and tenure as a federal employee.
(Id.). Plaintiff alleges that this failure was
attributable to her race and age. Prior to her employment at
the DLA, Plaintiff was employed by other federal agencies.
(See generally Doc. 34, SAC). Plaintiff provided
proof of her former federal employment to the DLA, including
the benefits she received while working there as well as her
annual salary. (Id. ¶ 28). Plaintiff submits
that the DLA failed to:
complete transfer of earned benefits, delay of FMLA.
failure to pay out earned benefits, underfunded and
miscalculated annuity payments, false certification to the
Unemployment Office (UI) and OPM of Plaintiffs actual
salaries, dual appointment, FERS credible service,
and false certification while on leave without pay (LWOP) to
the Unemployment Office AZ (UI)[.]
(Doc. 34, SAC at 2) (emphasis in original). Plaintiff also
alleges that approximately one month into her employment,
"DLA offered Plaintiff insurance coverage and she
accepted." (Id. ¶ 33). Plaintiff asserts
that, after one month of health insurance coverage,
Defendant, without notifying Plaintiff, ceased providing her
health insurance despite deducting payment for coverage from
her paycheck. (Id. ¶¶ 29, 30, 32). Because
of this alleged underpayment and denial of benefits,
Plaintiff filed an administrative complaint. (Id.
¶ 47). After the filing of the administrative complaint,
Plaintiff submits that she was retaliated against and she and
her family were threatened on at least three different
occasions. (Id. ¶¶ 25, 48). Consequently,
Plaintiff was on leave without pay status and/or Family
Medical Leave Act leave from June 2017 until her retirement
on May 8, 2018. (Id. ¶49).
Plaintiff submits that she was treated differently than her
similarly situated co-workers after she was injured while at
work on November 4, 2016. After this incident, Plaintiff
sought "compassionate reassignment" or transfer.
(Doc. 34, SAC ¶ 26). And despite there being openings
for which she was qualified, Defendant did not select to
transfer Plaintiff. (Id.). Further, Plaintiff
alleges that Defendant deactivated her credentials and
deleted her workers' compensation application for the
November 4, 2016 incident. (Id. ¶ 56). When
Plaintiffs white, under-forty co-worker filed for
workers' compensation, Defendant did not take these
measures against Plaintiffs co-worker. (Id.). And
when Plaintiff asked for workplace accommodations after she
injured herself at work, Defendant suggested Plaintiff
retire. (Id. ¶¶ 58-59).
matter is before the Court on Plaintiffs motions for judgment
on the pleadings. (See Doc. 37, Mot. for J. on Pl.
1; Doc. 52, Mot. for J. on Pl. 2; Doc. 54, Mot. for J. on Pl.
3). In her motions, Plaintiff asserts that judgment in her
favor is warranted for three reasons: 1) Defendants'
defenses are time-barred; 2) Defendants failed to plead its
defenses with the requisite particularity; and 3) collateral
estoppel precludes the re-litigation of some of the issues
presently before this Court. (See generally id.).
Defendants disagree and submit that Plaintiffs motions lack
merit. (See generally Doc. 43, Opp'n to Mot. for
J. on Pl. 1; Doc. 53, Opp'n to Mot. for J. on Pl. 2; Doc.
57, Opp'n to Mot. for J. on Pl. 3).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
brings this motion pursuant to Rule 12(c) of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure. Rule 12(c) provides that
"[a]fter the pleadings are closed-but early enough not
to delay trial-a party may move for judgment on the
pleadings." The standard of review for a motion for
judgment on the pleadings under Rule 12(c) is the same as
that used to address a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6).
Id.; Lindsay v. Yates, 498 F.3d 434, 438 (6th Cir.
12(b)(6) permits dismissal of a lawsuit for "failure to
state a claim upon which relief can be granted." To meet
this standard, a party must allege sufficient facts to state
a claim that is "plausible on its face." Bell
Atl. Corp, v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). A
pleading will satisfy this plausibility standard if it
contains "factual content that allows the court to draw
the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009). In considering whether a complaint
fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, the
Court must "construe the complaint in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff, accept its allegations as true,
and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the
plaintiff." Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund v.
Standard & Poor's Fin. Servs. LLC, 700 F.3d 829,
835 (6th Cir. 2012) (quoting Directv, Inc. v.
Treesh, 487 F.3d 471, 476 (6th Cir. 2007)). However,
"the tenet that a court must accept a complaint's
allegations as true is inapplicable to threadbare recitals of
a cause of action's elements, supported by mere
conclusory statements." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 663.
Thus, while a court is to afford plaintiff every inference,
the pleading must still contain facts sufficient to
"provide a plausible basis for the claims in the
complaint;" a recitation of facts intimating the
"mere possibility of misconduct" will not suffice.
Flex Homes, Inc. v. Ritz-Craft Corp of Mich., Inc.,
491 Fed.Appx. 628, 632 (6th Cir. 2012); Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 679. The Court, however, must "liberally
construe pro se complaints and hold such complaints to a less
stringent standard than pleadings prepared by
attorneys." Frengler v. Gen. Motors, 482
Fed.Appx. 975, 976 (6th Cir. 2012) (citing Martin v.
Overton, 391 F.3d 710, 712 (6th Cir. 2004)). Such
"lenient treatment has limits[, ]" however, and the
Court "should not have to guess at the nature of the
claim asserted...." Id. at 977 (internal
"[f]or purposes of a motion for judgment on the
pleadings, all well-pleaded material allegations of the
pleadings of the opposing party must be taken as true, and
the motion may be granted only if the moving party is
nevertheless clearly entitled to judgment," JPMorgan
Chase Bank, N.A. v. Winget,510 F.3d 577, 581 (6th Cir.
2007) (quoting S. Ohio Bank ...