United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
WAVERLY D. CRENSHAW, JR. CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is a Report and Recommendation (Doc. No. 91) from
the Magistrate Judge concerning Defendant's Motion to
Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(1) (Doc. No. 59.) Plaintiff has timely filed
Objections. (Doc. No. 92.)
Title VII, ADA, and § 1981 claims previously have been
dismissed, leaving one remaining claim against Defendant
Mattis in his official capacity for interference with
Plaintiff's rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act
(“FMLA”). (See Doc. No. 56.) In the
Court's previous Order, it noted that the Defendant had
not acknowledged the FMLA claim or moved to dismiss it,
making dismissal unwarranted at that juncture. (Id.)
Defendant now seeks dismissal of the FMLA claim on
nutshell, Defendant's argument for dismissal of the FMLA
claim is that the allegations of the Complaint establish that
Plaintiff, as a Department of Defense teacher, is covered by
Title II of the FMLA, which does not create a private right
of action for federal employees (as opposed to Title I, which
creates a private right of action for non-federal employees).
Rather, Defendant argued, a federal employee covered by Title
II must file an administrative grievance. The Magistrate
Judge has examined this question, agreed, and, as a result,
recommended that this Court find that it lacks subject-matter
jurisdiction and dismiss the case. (Doc. No. 91 at 2-7.) The
Court has reviewed this matter de novo and finds that the
Magistrate Judge's analysis is correct.
appears to make three Objections. First, Plaintiff objects on
the ground that she was granted Leave Without Pay
(“LWOP”) and that “LWOP is not the same as
FMLA.” (Doc. No. 92 at 1.) This objection is unclear.
But to the extent that Plaintiff is arguing that her claim
should be maintained because it is something other than an
FMLA claim, this is without merit when viewed in light of the
Complaint and the progression of this case. The first
substantive sentence of the Complaint states: “October
16, 2014 Plaintiff submitted a requested to be placed on
(LWOP) Leave Without Pay status under the (FMLA) Family and
Medical Leave Act, which was not granted even though
Plaintiff provided an abundance of medical
documentation.” (Doc. No. 1 at ¶ 9.) The Complaint
then contains explicit factual allegations related to the
FMLA. (See id. at ¶¶ 12-15.) Finally,
Count One of the Complaint focuses exclusively and explicitly
on the Defendant's alleged FMLA violation. (See
id. at ¶¶ 23-30.) Plaintiff has pursued this
FMLA claim throughout the case. Indeed, in a recent filing
made on January 3, 2018, Plaintiff asserted: “The above
stated case is a clear violation of plaintiff's FMLA
rights, it's not a rocket science. . . .” (Doc. No.
86 at 1.) This objection is therefore overruled.
Plaintiff objects on the grounds that she has already
responded to the motion to dismiss in great detail and
“nothing has changed.” (Id.) Plaintiff
refers the Court to multiple prior filings and states that
“her stance and submission of facts remain firm and
there are no new details.” (Id. at 2.) This is
insufficient to form the basis of a valid objection to the
Report and Recommendation. Making general objections or
vaguely pointing in the direction of prior filings do not
constitute specific objections. See Cowherd v.
Million, 380 F.3d 909, 912 (6th Cir. 2004) (noting that
the Sixth Circuit “disfavors allowing parties to
incorporate prior arguments into their objections to a
magistrate judge's report and stating that “parties
who fail to make specific objections do so at their own
peril.”); Neuman v. Rivers, 125 F.3d 315, 323
(6th Cir. 1997) (rejecting reference to prior arguments in
objections because “reference was not sufficiently
specific to satisfy the standards announced by [[the Sixth
Circuit]”). Here, Plaintiff's general statements do
not focus on any specific areas on disagreement and serve no
helpful purpose in directing the attention of the Court.
Accordingly, this objection is also overruled.
Plaintiff appears to - briefly - make a sort of judicial
corruption argument by suggesting that the Magistrate Judge
(1) is somehow in league with the Defendant and (2) is
retaliating against Plaintiff for filing a complaint against
U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger in another case. (Doc. No.
92 at 2.) However, Plaintiff offers no evidence whatsoever to
support these bald accusations. The Court has carefully
reviewed the docket in this case and there is no sign of
collusion between any of the judges that has handled it and
any party. Nor is there any evidence that the Magistrate
Judge's apt Report and Recommendation is based upon
anything other than the alleged facts of this case and the
applicable law. This unsupported objection is therefore
Court has one final observation. The Plaintiff has made
numerous filings in this case that suggest that she believes
motion practice is inappropriate and that Defendants should
be required to answer complaints. (See, e.g., Doc.
No. 84.) For example, the Plaintiff has filed three requests
for entry of default, and in the third of these, filed while
this motion to dismiss was pending, she stated: “Rules
8 and 12 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure are clear.
Defendant is required to file an answer, but has not, and
therefore is legally deemed to have admitted the allegations
of the Complaint. Motions do not replace answers.”
(Doc. No. 88 at 1.) It has been repeatedly explained to the
Plaintiff that the filing of a motion to dismiss is an
appropriate response to a complaint and tolls the time for
the filing of an answer. (See, e.g., Doc. No. 90;
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8) This Court does not see any indication that
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure have been abused here.
the Report and Recommendation (Doc. No. 91) is
APPROVED AND ADOPTED. The Motion to Dismiss
(Doc. No. 59) is GRANTED and Plaintiffs
remaining FMLA claim is DISMISSED for lack
of subject matter jurisdiction. This is a final order and the
clerk shall close the case.
 Following the filing of this
Objection, the Magistrate Judge (in a reasonable decision)
elected to recuse herself from this case. As discussed here,
however, the Court is satisfied with the Report ...