Phillips v. U.S. Equal Emp't Opportunity Comm'n

Decision Date09 September 2016
Docket NumberCIVIL NO. 3:15cv565
CourtU.S. District Court — Northern District of California

This matter is before the court on four motions to dismiss filed by the defendants. Defendant U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("the EEOC" or "Commission"), filed its motion to dismiss on May 25, 2016. Defendant Bryan Spaulding ("Spaulding"), filed his motion to dismiss on May 27, 2016. And Defendant SUS filed a motion to dismiss on June 1, 2016.1 On June 2, 2016, Plaintiff Jerry Dean Phillips ("Phillips"), proceeding pro se, filed a response to the motions.2 The defendants have declined to file a reply.

For the following reasons, the motions will be granted.


The defendants have filed their motions to dismiss pursuant to Rules 12(b)(6) (failure to state a claim), as well as Rules 12(b)(1) (lack of subject matter jurisdiction), 12(h)(3), 12(c) (judgment on the pleadings; judicial estoppel), 12(b)(5) (insufficient service of process) and8(a)(2) (failure to provide a short and plain statement showing entitlement to relief).

The nature of Phillips' claims, as summarized in a previous order, are as follows. On October 20, 2015, Phillips filed a Complaint Form. In Section B "Statement of Claim", Phillips wrote:

SUS - Covered up for His Suppervisor (Felon) had Hand Gun In Factory, F.M.L.A. and Because of Merger with company buy in to his company and My Workmen was Frauded by Stewart & Stewart Law Firm for his personal Gain, E.E.O.C. Commission by Arron Price & William Rogers Had 2 cases filed I was Lie & Scamed by them. I turned them over to Congress in Feb. 2012 was told don't do nothing until the Investegation is done. Its been over 3 ½ since this investigation started over July 9th 2015 Bryan Spaulding District Manager for our Congress give me the Final Results He says they Frauded & Screwed me Royaly.
I was Permently Disabled, Workers Comp. Doctor First Did wrong surgery admited it to me, I reported it to my Attery for Malepractice went Back for 2nd surgery was to HAD to live with this suver pain and suffing for the rest of my life. Worker Comp Doctor Stewart & Stewart Law Firm & E.E.O.C. Investigator all scamed me & Lied to me to Quit my Job and go to another state for my Health while the cover up for this case so SUS DieCast could have the merger.

In his Amended Complaint, filed on October 28, 2015, Phillips adds the following to his "Statement of Claims":

E.E.O.C. Also suit for violation of my Consitutional Rights, Stewart & Stewart Law firm also false advertment on T.V. commerals besides frauding my works comp. Case.
Not only did they all screwed me royally as District Manager Bryan Spaulding said they did screwed my wife out of her 20 year pention from the place she was working at that time she only had a little over 7 years to go. She also is a Veteran of the Army. As of today she would have only 3 years to go on that pention. These people have also cause a lot of mental angurish to me and our marriage. She lie me believed in them, what they were telling me and what to do. The amount suiting for stays the same.

In his Second Amended Complaint, filed on March 11, 2016, Phillips asserts that the defendants:

Vilated my Constitutional Rights and my Civil Rights. E.E.O.C. covered up for Sus Die Cast Products so they could complet their merger Buy in and Supervisor whom is a Felon inside the Factory with a hand gun. I had work related Injury went thru 2 Back Surgerys and Harrassment Before the accident and after the accident. Civil Case on that. After returning to work from the Surgerys another case was Filed for harrassement By the Company Personnel Staff inclueding E.E.O.C. Arron Price scamed me got me to quit my job and draw unemployemt and wait until these 2 case are settled and Do what Doctor Huler and Brandon Milster to do the same thing. E.E.O.C. was supose to pick up charges on the Hand gun issue that was filed in Logansport, In. The Prosicuter drop the case because I give the statements to E.E.O.C. Other people also lost their jobs because of they were going to be willing to testify. And they still will if we go to court. Other have had Jim Young call them in the Office with guns inside the factory. And set up to be fired also.
Stewart & Stewart cheated me out of $78,000.00 and 2 years medical. And went and settled my case at his Terms False advertisement of their T.V. Comerceals is why I called their Firm. I was begging them for Medical help Brandon Milster scamed me also to quit my job and Leave the State for winter for medical reasons. And Dr. Huler was telling me the same thing. They screwed me over for their own Personal gain. District Manager Bryan Spaulding was investagating this case lied to me said the 2 Investagators were Fired. In Jan. 2014 he told me this. Finally July 8th 2015 when he and I talked give me the Final result of the case he said they all screwed you Roally.

Due to Phillips' pro se status, the court will consider all three filings as one Complaint. The court will first discuss the EEOC's motion to dismiss. The EEOC requests that the claims against it be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

Federal district courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, deriving jurisdiction solely from the congressional exercise of authority to "ordain and establish" inferior courts under the Constitution. Lockerty v. Phillips, 319 U.S. 182, 187 (1943); Preston v. Purtell, 410 F.2d 234, 236 (7th Cir. 1969). A federal district court may hear a case only if it is authorized to do so by a congressional grant of jurisdiction. Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of America, 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994); Insurance Corp. of Ireland, Ltd. v. Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinee, 456U.S. 694, 701-702 (1982).

The EEOC first contends that this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over Phillips' claim against the EEOC because such claims are barred by sovereign immunity. The United States cannot be sued unless sovereign immunity has been waived by statute. United States v. Mitchell, 445 U.S. 535, 538 (1980); United States v. Sherwood, 312 U.S. 584, 586 (1941). Moreover, a waiver of sovereign immunity cannot be implied; it must be unequivocally expressed. Mitchell, 445 U.S. at 538; United States v. King, 395 U.S. 1, 4-5 (1969). "Absent a waiver, sovereign immunity shields the Federal government and its agencies from suit." Federal Deposit Ins. Corp. v. Meyer, 510 U.S. 471, 475 (1994); Michigan v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 758 F.3d 892, 900 (7th Cir. 2014) ("Sovereign immunity, when it exists, cuts off a plaintiff's ability to sue the government."). The EEOC is an agency of the Federal government, established by Congress in section 705 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-4. In order for this Court to entertain a claim against the EEOC, Phillips must establish that the United States has waived its sovereign immunity and consented to be sued. United States v. Testan, 424 U.S. 392, 399 (1976); Mitchell, 445 U.S. at 538; Sherwood, 312 U.S. at 586.

The EEOC argues that, in the present case, there has been no such waiver. In fact, Phillips has not identified any statute that waives sovereign immunity to allow an individual to sue the EEOC for damages in connection with processing an administrative charge of employment discrimination. Accordingly, Phillips' claim against the EEOC must be dismissed under the doctrine of sovereign immunity.

The EEOC further maintains that neither Title VII nor the ADA provide a jurisdictional basis for this claim. Although Phillips did not explicitly rely on Title VII or the ADA forjurisdiction over his claim against the EEOC, it is pertinent to address both statutes here because it appears that Phillips is dissatisfied with the actions taken by the EEOC when he attempted to file or filed Title VII or ADA charges of discrimination. Neither Title VII nor the ADA confer this Court with subject matter jurisdiction over the EEOC in this action. Section 107 of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. § 12117, provides that the "powers, remedies, and procedures set forth in . . . the Civil Rights Act of 1964 [Title VII] shall be the powers, remedies, and procedures . . . provide[d] to the Commission, to the Attorney General, or to any person alleging discrimination on the basis of disability . . . [in the ADA]." Thus, the remedies provided under the ADA are limited to those provided under Title VII, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e, et seq. Title VII provides federal courts with three grants of jurisdiction: section 706(f)(3), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f)(3); section 707(b), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-6(b); and section 717(c), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-16(c).

First, section 706(f)(3), authorizes federal courts to hear enforcement actions brought against allegedly discriminating employers by private parties, the Attorney General, or the EEOC. 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f)(1), (3). The EEOC was not Phillips' employer, and as an executive agency within the federal government, it is excluded from the definition of employer covered by section 706(f)(3). 42 U.S.C. § 2000e(b) (the United States is expressly excluded from the definition of "employer"). Second, section 707(b) grants federal courts jurisdiction over actions brought by the EEOC against persons engaged in a pattern or practice of resistance to the goals of Title VII. The civil action here is not an action being brought by the EEOC. 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-6(b). Lastly, section 717(c) authorizes federal courts to adjudicate claims of employment discrimination brought by federal employees or applicants for federal employment against their federal employer. 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-16(c). In the present case, Phillips does not allege to be afederal employee, nor does he allege that he applied for a job with the EEOC.

Thus, none of the Title VII sections discussed above authorize individuals alleging discrimination by a third party to file suit against the...

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