United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division
DAVID PROCTOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
case is before the court on Defendant's motion to
dismiss. (Doc. # 10). After careful consideration, and for
the reasons explained below, the court concludes the motion
is due to be granted.
and Procedural Background
case arises out of Plaintiff's employment with the United
States Postal Service from November 1999 until April 2008.
This is the second lawsuit Plaintiff has filed complaining of
her former employer's conduct; the first was filed in
this court in 2011. Because the relationship between the two
lawsuits is relevant to the court's analysis below, the
court first describes Plaintiff's 2011 lawsuit before
turning to the present case.
2011, Plaintiff sued the Postmaster General and the U.S.
Postal Service on various claims arising out of her
employment with the Postal Service. Fluker v. Postmaster
General, No. 2:11-cv-03261-AKK (N.D. Ala. filed Sept.
13, 2011) (Fluker I). Plaintiff's lawsuit was
based on the following allegations. Plaintiff worked as a
mail processing clerk at the Gardendale Post Office beginning
in November 1999, until her termination in April 2008.
Fluker I, No. 2:11-cv-03261-AKK (Doc. # 17 at ¶
11). Plaintiff received several certifications and at least
one promotion during her time with the Postal Service.
Id. at ¶¶ 12-13. But she also requested
several transfers, additional training, and promotions during
her tenure, most of which were denied. Id. at
¶¶ 14-17, 21. Plaintiff also made multiple requests
for leave pursuant to the Family Medical Leave Act
(“FMLA”) due to arthritis, all of which the
Postal Service denied. Id. at ¶ 20-23. In April
2008, the Gardendale Postmaster presented Plaintiff with a
“Notice of Removal, ” which terminated
Plaintiff's employment with the Postal Service.
Id. at ¶ 25.
pursuing administrative remedies with the EEOC, Plaintiff
filed suit against the Postmaster General and the U.S. Postal
Service. She asserted claims of race discrimination,
retaliation, and disparate treatment under Title VII;
“Violation and Retaliation” under the FMLA;
“Violation and Retaliation” under the
“Rehabilitation Act”; and a claim for mental and
emotional distress (apparently under the common law of
Alabama). Id. at ¶¶ 39-64.
claims in her 2011 lawsuit were tried to a jury before Judge
Kallon on December 14, 2015. See Fluker I, No.
2:11-cv-03261-AKK (Minute Entry dated Dec. 14, 2015). On
December 15, 2015, the jury returned a verdict in favor of
the Postmaster General. Id. (Doc. # 89). That same
day, Judge Kallon entered final judgment against Plaintiff
and dismissed her case with prejudice, costs taxed to
appealed the judgment to the Eleventh Circuit. Id.
(Doc. # 93) (Notice of Appeal). On February 6, 2017, the
Eleventh Circuit affirmed the judgment below. Fluker v.
U.S. Postmaster General, 677 Fed.Appx. 617 (11th Cir.
2017). Plaintiff then filed a petition for writ of certiorari
in the U.S. Supreme Court, which was denied on November 6,
2017. Fluker v. Brennan, 138 S.Ct. 431 (2017). The
Supreme Court denied her petition for rehearing on January 8,
2018. Fluker v. Brennan, 138 S.Ct. 732 (2018).
months later, in April 2018, Plaintiff filed the instant
action. (Doc. # 1). In this lawsuit, Plaintiff asserts claims
based on the same factual allegations at issue in her first
case. Her complaint contains allegations about her employment
history with the Postal Service that are materially identical
to those at issue in her first lawsuit. Plaintiff claims she
worked at the Gardendale Post Office from November 1999 until
April 2008. (Id. at 8-9). She complains about the
Postal Service's denial of her transfer, promotion, and
FMLA-leave requests, and about her ultimate termination.
(Id. at 9-11). She claims the Postal Service's
adverse treatment of her was based on her race and disability
and was in retaliation for previous complaints of
discrimination she made. Id. In this lawsuit,
Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages, damages
for pain and suffering, and reinstatement at the Postal
Service, including promotion, back pay, front pay, and
interest on lost benefits. (Id. at 13). She seeks
all legal fees and court costs relating to this suit
“from April 4, 2018 until present.”
(Id.). She also seeks compensation for past-due
financial expenses and other financial hardships she
experienced upon ceasing employment with the Postal Service.
(Id. at 5).
Plaintiff's complaint does not specify the causes of
action she seeks to assert in this lawsuit, the complaint
does invoke the court's jurisdiction pursuant to a
variety of federal statutes and regulations. They include 42
U.S.C. § 1981, “29 CFR Chapter XIV - EEOC, ”
the Fourteenth Amendment, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”),
“FMLA Section 501 of 1973, ” the Equal Pay Act,
and the “Rehabilitation Act.” (Id. at
3). Under the jurisdictional heading of Plaintiff's
complaint, she also lists the following grievances: (1)
discrimination; (2) disparate treatment due to
race/disability/color; (3) unlawful termination; (4) unpaid
complaint is due to be dismissed as barred by res judicata.
See Israel Disc. Bank Ltd. v. Entin, 951 F.2d 311,
312 (11th Cir. 1992) (affirming dismissal of complaint on res
judicata grounds). The Eleventh Circuit applies a four-part
test to determine whether a lawsuit is barred by res
judicata: (1) the prior decision must have been rendered by a
court of competent jurisdiction; (2) the prior case must have
resulted in a final judgment on the merits; (3) both cases
must involve the same parties or their privies; and (4) both
cases must involve the same cause of action. In re Piper
Aircraft Corp., 244 F.3d 1289, 1296 (11th Cir. 2001). If
those four elements are satisfied, the court next determines
whether the claims asserted in the subsequent suit
“[were] or could have been raised in the prior
is no question that the first three elements of res judicata
are satisfied in this case. First, the decision in Fluker
I was rendered by a court with competent jurisdiction
over federal employment law claims (the United States
District Court for the Northern District of Alabama). Second,
the litigation resulted in a final judgment on the merits at
the conclusion of a jury trial, and that judgment was
affirmed on appeal. And third, Fluker I involved the
same two parties as the present case: Felecia Fluker and the
United States Postmaster General in her official
capacity. The court thus confines its ...