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Johnson v. Washington State Department of Transportation

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle

July 17, 2019

BRENDA JOHNSON, Plaintiff,
v.
WASHINGTON STATE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE

          RICARDO S. MARTINEZ CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Pro se Plaintiff Brenda Johnson has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis (“IFP”) in this matter. Dkt. #6. Summonses have not issued after Johnson's Complaint was docketed on July 8, 2019. Dkt. #7. Because Johnson's Complaint suffers from multiple apparent deficiencies, the Court orders Johnson to show cause why the Complaint should not be dismissed.

         II. BACKGROUND

         Johnson's Complaint is difficult to comprehend. For instance, it is not immediately apparent who Johnson intends to sue. The caption of Johnson's Complaint includes the Washington Department of Transportation (“WSDOT”). Dkt. #7. The body of Johnson's Complaint, however, appears to only identify one or two individuals: “Patty Rubstello, WSDOT PE Toll Operations, Director WSDOT.” Id. at 2. Nevertheless, Johnson purports to bring employment discrimination claims and the Court assumes that Johnson intends to sue WSDOT.[1]

         Johnson indicates that she is a female, is 52 years-old, and is disabled due to a “cardiac heart, back injury.” Id. at 6. Johnson does not indicate her race, religion, or national origin. Johnson appears to allege that she was employed by WSDOT but also indicates that “she was discharged from employment at” Electronic Transaction Consultants Corporation (“ETCC”) and appears to blame WSDOT employees for her termination. Id. at 4-5. As best the Court can discern, it appears that Johnson's employment was terminated on July 25, 2014.

         Johnson's Complaint appears primarily based on federal discrimination statutes and various constitutional claims. She asserts claims under at least Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (“Title VII”), [2] the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”), [3] the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), [4] and the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).[5] Id. at 3-4. Johnson indicates that her best recollection is that she filed a charge with the “Equal Employment Opportunity Commission” on August 10, 2018 and a Notice of Right to Sue letter was received the same day. Id. at 9-10. Johnson also complains of her working conditions, her pay, a lack of protection, unequal terms of employment, retaliation, and a lock out without pay because of protected activity. Id. at 5. It appears that the allegedly discriminatory acts occurred between September 2013 and October 2014, though Johnson indicates they are continuing. Id. at 6. She seeks $10, 000, 000.00.

         Johnson has also provided notice that she has other related cases within the District. The Court briefly summarizes those cases and provides some context for each:

Johnson v. Electronic Transaction Consultants Corporation et al, No. 14-5872RJB (W.D. Wash.) (“2014 action”). Johnson sued ETCC in state court alleging employment claims. ETCC removed to this Court based on diversity. Extensive litigation followed and the Court, on December 7, 2015, dismissed Johnson's claims with prejudice as a sanction.
Johnson v. Electronic Transaction Consultants Corporation et al, No. 17-6009RJB (W.D. Wash.) (“2017 action”). Johnson sought to proceed IFP in a lawsuit against ETCC, WSDOT, and Patty Rubstello, among others, asserting similar and identical claims. Johnson was denied IFP status because her claims appeared barred by the applicable statute of limitations and the case was ultimately dismissed when Johnson failed to pay the filing fee.
Johnson v. Electronic Transaction Consultants Corporation, No. 19-337RAJ (W.D. Wash.) (“2019 action”). Johnson was granted IFP status in a lawsuit against ETCC, and apparently WSDOT, asserting many of the same claims. The Court denied Johnsons' motion for a temporary restraining order and a show cause order regarding service is pending in the case.

         III. DISCUSSION

         Where a plaintiff proceeds in forma pauperis, as Johnson does here, the court is to dismiss the action, at any time, if it fails to state a claim, raises frivolous or malicious claims, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). Upon only an initial review of Johnson's Complaint, the Court has identified numerous deficiencies which need to be addressed.

         First, and as noted above, some of Johnson's claims appear to have previously been dismissed with prejudice in her 2014 action. “There can be little doubt that a dismissal with prejudice bars any further action between the parties on the issues subtended by the case.” In re Marino, 181 F.3d 1142, 1144 (9th Cir. 1999) (citing Colonial Auto Center v. Tomlin (In re Tomlin), 105 F.3d 933, 936-37 (4th Cir.1997); Daewoo Electronics Corp. of America, Inc. v. Western Auto Supply Co., 975 F.2d 474, 478 (8th Cir.1992)). Additionally, others appear to likely be at issue in Johnson's 2019 action before Judge Jones. Adams v. Cal. Dep't of Health Servs., 487 F.3d 684, 689 (9th Cir. 2007) (“Plaintiffs generally have ‘no right to maintain two ...


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