Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Fluker v. Brennan

United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division

December 17, 2018

FELECIA FLUKER, Plaintiff,
v.
MEGAN J. BRENNAN, POSTMASTER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          R. DAVID PROCTOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This 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.

         I.

         Factual and Procedural Background

          This 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.

         In 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.

         After 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”;[1] and a claim for mental and emotional distress (apparently under the common law of Alabama). Id. at ¶¶ 39-64.

         Plaintiff's 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 Plaintiff. Id.

         Plaintiff 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).

         Three 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).

         Though 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 compensation. (Id.).

         II. Analysis

         Plaintiff's 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 action.” Id.

         There 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.[2] The court thus confines its ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.