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Peter Graves v. Hillary Random [Sic] Clinton and James Steinberg

June 17, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Kendall J. Newman United States Magistrate Judge


Presently before the court is defendants' motion to dismiss plaintiff's complaint pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 8(a) and 10(b) and, alternatively, for a more definite statement pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(e).*fn1 The court heard this matter on its law and motion calendar on June 16, 2011. (Minutes, Dkt. No. 53.) Assistant United States Attorney Bobbie J. Montoya appeared on behalf of defendants. Plaintiff, who is proceeding without counsel and in forma pauperis, appeared on his own behalf. The undersigned has considered the briefs, oral arguments, and the appropriate portions of the record in this case and, for the reasons stated below, grants defendants' motion to dismiss and motion for more definite statement and orders plaintiff to file a first amended complaint that more clearly alleges plaintiff's claims and otherwise conforms to this order, the requirements of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and the court's Local Rules.


Plaintiff filed his complaint on November 22, 2010.*fn2 (Compl., Dkt. No. 1.) The complaint is a meandering, single-spaced, six-page collection of allegations that is in many respects unintelligible due to a lack of focus and organization. In addition to the six pages that comprise the complaint, the complaint attaches over 120 pages of exhibits.
Although plaintiff's complaint is rather difficult to understand, the undersigned has attempted to distill the following facts or claims from it. Plaintiff generally alleges that the "State Department discriminated against 'Peter Graves' 'Rasoul Rahinmi' in the application process in gaining a 'Foreign Affairs Officer' Position." (Compl. at 1.) In terms of plaintiff's discrimination claims, plaintiff alleges that "the State Department discriminated against him, because of his disability, ethnicity, religion association, and national origin." (Id.) He further alleges that "the State Department violated multiple Civil Rights laws and ADA laws, including taking 'Peter Graves' 1 -st Amendment, 14th Amendment rights."*fn3 (Id.)

At the outset, the undersigned notes that plaintiff sued United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and James Steinberg. It appears that plaintiff sued Secretary of State Clinton in her capacity as the head of the U.S. Department of State ("State Department") in connection with plaintiff's potential claims brought pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII").*fn4 However, plaintiff's complaint does not allege who defendant Steinberg is or what role Steinberg played in the events that gave rise to plaintiff's claims. At the hearing, plaintiff clarified that Steinberg is or was the deputy director of the State Department, who is or was allegedly responsible for setting personnel policies.

In terms of discernable, factual allegations in plaintiff's complaint, plaintiff alleges that he applied for a position as a "Foreign Affairs Officer" with the State Department and that he did not obtain that position because of alleged discrimination.*fn5 (See Compl. at 1; see also id. at 3 ("The Plaintiff (Peter Graves) asserts that he would have been in the top three candidate positions in the 'Foreign Affairs Officer' position if he had not been discriminated by the State Department.").) Plaintiff's claims arise from alleged deficiencies and discrimination in the application process.

First, plaintiff alleges that the application process involved some form of testing or examination that resulted in a point-based score. (See Compl. at 1-2.) Plaintiff alleges that the State Department's failure to "provide 'space' for disability scoring" resulted in plaintiff obtaining a lower score than he should have and also violated plaintiff's "Civil and ADA rights." (See id. at 2 (stating that plaintiff believes "that not providing space for disability points on the exam is in violation of [plaintiff's] Civil and ADA rights"); see also id. at 1 ("If the Defendant had provided 'space' for disability scoring like all employers do so that disabled individuals can 'compete' fairly I too would have been eligible for the job."); id. at 3 ("The plaintiff contains that the application provided no space for disability points that resulted for him to score lower to other competitive candidates."); id. at 5 (alleging that plaintiff would have scored "in the top three positions with disability points").) Plaintiff stated at the hearing that he should have been given a "five percent" increase in his score to accommodate for disability-based points. Plaintiff asserts that "[a]ll applications need to have disability points on them to satisfy ADA, Civil, and 14 Amendment rights." (Id. at 2.)

Second, plaintiff alleges that the application process did not accommodate for "'on the ground' expertise." (See Compl. at 1-2.) Plaintiff asserts that "[a]ll applications need to be relevant to 'on the ground' conditions so people can compete fairly." (Id. at 2.) It is not at all clear what plaintiff means to convey by this allegation, but plaintiff alleges that "[i]n conjunction with this I plan to prove that before May 2009 the defendant never hired or hired a few disabled people or Muslim background within the 'Foreign Affairs Officer' because it discriminates." (Id. at 2.)

Third, plaintiff appears to allege that the application process was discriminatory because the State Department favors veterans over persons with disabilities in that process. (See Compl. at 2 (alleging that plaintiff "believes that the 'Defendant' uses veterans as a means to promote a conduct of 'separate but equal' system for different sort of candidates"); see also id. (stating that "from my viewpoint the State Department tried to argue that administrating an exam without disability points is a legitimate practice as long as they favor veterans"); id. at 5 ("The State Department discounted my application in favor of another group of people veterans.").)

Fourth, plaintiff alleges that "he was forced to provide his original name on the application," and that this resulted in discrimination against him "because of his ethnicity and religious association." (Compl. at 3.)

Fifth, plaintiff alleges that "the exam was designed not to include people with 'Muslim backgrounds' even though the information was needed in the conduct of the exam, such as examining 'newspaper article' in the context of job duties." (Compl. at 3.) It is unclear what plaintiff intends to convey through this allegation.

Although not all aspects of the relief sought by plaintiff are clear or intelligible, it appears that plaintiff seeks the following relief. First, plaintiff requests the remedies requested in his "EEOC Case." (Compl. at 4.) Second, he requests back pay from "Grade 12," including enumerated benefits. (See id.) Third, plaintiff requests "[a] job that is equivalent to Grade 12 in the United States preferably in the Washington D.C. that I would have been hired if I had not been discriminated against by the Defendant that has passed probationary period." (Id.) Fourth, plaintiff requests "[a]n acknowledgment that he was discriminated against by the H.R. at Department of State and an apology." (Id.) Fifth, plaintiff seeks "[a]n explanation from the 'Department of State' to prevent future discrimination against people with Middle Eastern Origins." (Id.) It is not clear what the nature of this requested explanation would be. Sixth, plaintiff requests that "[a]ll Iraq Civilian Position(s) and Foreign Affairs Officers positions receive 'quotas' based upon federal equal employment opportunity law for Middle Eastern origin in D.C. and Iraq." (Id.) Again, it is not entirely clear what plaintiff seeks in terms of a quota system. Seventh, plaintiff requests that "[a]ll Foreign Affairs Officers positions meet disability quota and all examinations include 'disability points.'" (Id. at 4-5.)

Plaintiff alleges that he filed an action with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") prior to filing this action. (See Compl. at 1 & Ex. 5 (Decision, Sept. 30, 2010, EEOC No. 570-2010-00301X ("EEOC Decision")).) An administrative order entered in the EEOC case reflects that plaintiff alleged violations of Title VII and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. ยงยง 791 et seq., before the EEOC. (EEOC Decision at 1.) It appears from that order that the administrative law judge ("ALJ") granted summary judgment in favor of the agency on the grounds that the agency had legitimate non-discriminatory reasons for not selecting plaintiff for an interview or further considering his application in that there were numerous other applicants who scored higher than plaintiff based on ...

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