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Kuklinski v. Mnuchin

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville

March 29, 2017

ANTHONY A. KUKLINSKI PLAINTIFF
v.
STEVEN MNUCHIN, [1]United States Secretary of the Treasury DEFENDANT

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Charles R. Simpson III, United States District Court Senior Judge

         I. Introduction

         This matter is before the Court on the partial motion of Defendant Steven Mnuchin, United States Secretary of the Treasury (“the Secretary”) to dismiss the amended complaint, ECF No. 90. Plaintiff Anthony A. Kuklinski responded, ECF No. 93. The Secretary replied, ECF No. 94. For the reasons explained below, the Court will grant the Secretary's partial motion to dismiss.

         II. Allegations in the Amended Complaint

         Kuklinski apparently is an Inspector with the United States Mint Police at the United States Bullion Depository in Fort Knox, Kentucky. Am. Compl. ¶ 1, ECF No. 83. He has been with the United States Mint Police since 1990. Id. ¶ 7. He worked at Fort Knox between 1990 and 2000. Id. He returned to Fort Knox in 2004 and has worked there since then. Id.

         During the period of time relevant to the amended complaint, Kuklinski directly supervised approximately 60 people, most of whom were subordinate officers. Id. ¶ 8. In his supervisory capacity, Kuklinski was responsible for determining whether to discipline an officer in his command who had been accused of sexually harassing another subordinate officer. Id. ¶ 10.

         In 2008, a female subordinate officer approached Kuklinski and complained that a male subordinate officer (“the accused officer”) was sexually harassing her. Id. ¶ 9. During the ensuing investigation of her claims, Kuklinski learned that the accused officer had used the United States Bullion Depository cameras to track the female officer's movements, placed recording devices around the facility to capture her conversations, maintained a journal in his locker detailing fantasies of murdering her, surveilled her from under her porch at her residence in a rural area, and otherwise spied on her. Id. ¶ 11. As a result of his investigation, Kuklinski recommended that the accused officer be removed from his position at the United States Mint Police. Id. ¶ 12. He also advised the female officer that she could seek the assistance of an EEO counselor to remedy any adverse effect that she had perceived in the workplace. Id.

         The female officer later filed a formal EEO complaint. Id. ¶13. The EEO investigator investigating her complaint requested that Kuklinski provide a declaration under oath. Id. Kuklinski did so on February 10, 2011. Id. In his declaration, Kuklinski acknowledged that he had notified the United States Mint headquarters regarding his concerns of a potentially hostile work environment for the female officer. Id. ¶ 14. He also noted in his declaration that he encouraged the female officer to contact an EEO counselor and had contacted Deborah Hayes at the EEO headquarters to explain the female officer's situation. Id.

         According to Kuklinski, his superiors at the United States Mint Police took several actions to protect the accused officer, to intimidate the female officer, to suppress Kuklinski's criticism of the accused officer, and to disregard his recommendation that the accused officer be removed from his position. Id. ¶ 15. For example, the female officer became the subject of an internal administrative investigation in which she was falsely accused of lying to authorities in a civil case. Id. ¶ 16. She claimed that the accused officer had initiated the investigation in reprisal for her filing an EEO complaint regarding the alleged harassment. Id.

         During the EEO investigation of the female officer's complaint, the United States Mint also investigated Kuklinski for having an “inappropriate social relationship” with the female officer. Id. ¶ 17. This investigation caused Kuklinski and his spouse to experience stress. Id. This investigation, however, was found to be unsubstantiated. Id. ¶ 18.

         In April 2011, the Treasury's OIG and Office of Personnel Management placed Kuklinski under investigation for “possible misconduct” regarding activities that developed during his routine security clearance update. Id. ¶ 19. If true, the possible misconduct could have jeopardized his security clearance. Id. During the investigation, Kuklinski was removed from his position as an inspector and placed in an administrative position. He was also removed from the United States Mint's main building and relocated to a work bench in the maintenance building. Id. Kuklinski was eventually moved to the maintenance building's “break room.” Id.

         In November 2011, Kuklinski's superiors at the United States Mint Police notified him that his access to classified information and security clearance were officially suspended. Id. ¶ 20. They allegedly had delayed reinstating his security clearance to prolong Kuklinski's exposure to the “break room.” Id. ¶ 21.

         Upon the intervention of counsel for Kuklinski, his superiors reinstated his security clearance. Id. ¶ 23. In March 2012, Lester Letch, Assistant Director for Security, notified Kuklinski that the suspension of his access to classified information was rescinded and that his security clearance had been restored. Id. Kuklinski's supervisory authority, however, was not restored. Id. Kuklinski was then moved into a storage room in the maintenance building, and an office was apparently set up for him. Id.

         On the same day that Kuklinski's security clearance was reinstated, United States Mint Police Deputy Chief Bill Bailey notified Kuklinski that he would be directly reassigned from his current duty location at the United States Bullion Depository in Fort Knox to the United States Mint Headquarters in Washington, D.C. in May 2012. Id. ΒΆ 24. Bailey ...


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