United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division
TRACY D. HALSELL a/k/a Terrell D. Jordan PLAINTIFF
UNITED STATES EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION DEFENDANT
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
N. Stivers, Judge
matter is before the Court on Defendant's Motion to
Dismiss (DN 5). The motion is ripe for adjudication. For the
reasons outlined below, the motion is GRANTED.
STATEMENT OF FACTS AND CLAIMS
Tracy D. Halsell a/k/a Terrell D. Jordan
(“Halsell”) filed this action in Jefferson
Circuit Court against the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission (“EEOC”) relating to the EEOC's
investigation of a charge Halsell asserted against a former
employer. (Complaint 1-2, DN 1-1). The EEOC subsequently
removed the action to this Court. (Notice Removal, DN 1).
has moved to dismiss Halsell's claims pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). (Def.'s Mem. Supp.
Mot. Dismiss 3-4, DN 5-1). The EEOC contends that the Title
VII claim is barred by sovereign immunity because Halsell
seeks monetary damages, and that Halsell has no viable claim
against the EEOC because it investigated his charge.
(Def.'s Mem. Supp. Mot. Dismiss 5-12).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1), a party may move for dismissal due to
a lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1).
“Subject matter jurisdiction is always a threshold
determination” and “may be raised at any stage in
the proceedings . . . .” Am. Telecom Co., L.L.C. v.
Republic of Lebanon, 501 F.3d 534, 537 (6th Cir. 2007)
(citation omitted); Schultz v. Gen. R.V. Ctr., 512 F.3d 754,
756 (6th Cir. 2008) (citation omitted). “A Rule
12(b)(1) motion can either attack the claim of jurisdiction
on its face, in which case all allegations of the plaintiff
must be considered as true, or it can attack the factual
basis for jurisdiction, in which case the trial court must
weigh the evidence and the plaintiff bears the burden of
proving that jurisdiction exists.” DLX, Inc. v.
Kentucky, 381 F.3d 511, 516 (6th Cir. 2004) (citations
omitted). “A facial attack on the subject-matter
jurisdiction alleged in the complaint questions merely the
sufficiency of the pleading.” Gentek Bldg. Prods., Inc.
v. Sherwin-Williams Co., 491 F.3d 320, 330 (6th Cir. 2007)
(citation omitted). “If the court determines at any
time that it lacks subject-matter jurisdiction, the court
must dismiss the action.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3).
motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), a court “must construe the
complaint in the light most favorable to plaintiff, accept
all well-pled factual allegations as true” and
determine whether the “complaint states a plausible
claim for relief . . . .” League of United Latin Am.
Citizens v. Bredesen, 500 F.3d 523, 527 (6th Cir. 2007)
(citation omitted); Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679
(2009). Under this standard, the plaintiff must provide the
grounds for his or her entitlement to relief which
“requires more than labels and conclusions, and a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action . .
. .” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555
(2007) (citation omitted). A plaintiff satisfies this
standard only when he or she “pleads factual content
that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that
the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. A complaint falls short if it pleads
facts “merely consistent with a defendant's
liability” or if the alleged facts do not “permit
the court to infer more than the mere possibility of
misconduct . . . .” Id. at 678, 679 (internal
quotation marks omitted) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557).
Instead, the allegations must show “that the pleader is
entitled to relief.'” Id. at 679 (internal
quotation marks omitted) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)).
seeks dismissal of the Complaint on the basis, inter alia,
that any claim asserted is barred by the doctrine of
sovereign immunity. (Def.'s Mem. Supp. Mot. Dismiss 5-8).
Under the doctrine of sovereign immunity, a federal court is
precluded from exercising jurisdiction over a claim for money
damages against the United States or its agencies absent an
express waiver of that doctrine. See United States v.
Mitchell, 445 U.S. 535, 538 (1980); United States v. Testan,
424 U.S. 392, 399 (1976).
case, Halsell has sued the EEOC requesting $9 million in
damages. Because the EEOC is a federal administrative agency
and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title
VII”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e to 2000e-17, does
not contain an express waiver of sovereign immunity,
Halsell's claim is barred by sovereign
immunity. See Gary v. Pa. Human Relations Comm
'n, 497 Fed.Appx. 223, 228 (3d Cir. 2012); see also
Forbes v. Reno, 893 F.Supp. 476, 481 (W.D. Pa. 1995)
(dismissing the plaintiffs Title VII claims against the EEOC
due to sovereign immunity). Accordingly, the Court will
dismiss this action due to lack of subject matter
foregoing reasons, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Defendant's
Motion to Dismiss (DN 5) is GRANTED, and ...