Coleman v. Department of Labor Review Commission

Coleman was hired to work at Carmen High School and was fired about three weeks later, based on allegations of sexual harassment. Coleman filed a pro se suit, alleging racial discrimination. The suit ended with a stipulated dismissal. Coleman sought relief from the state Equal Rights Division; an ALJ dismissed Coleman’s case for failure to meet deadlines. Coleman filed another pro se suit, contending that the Commission had denied him due process and requesting to proceed in forma pauperis (IFP), 28 U.S.C. 1915. He consented to proceed before a magistrate, who found the request to proceed IFP financially supported but ordered Coleman to submit an amended complaint. The new complaint also failed to “offer any details that could plausibly present a federal cause of action.” The magistrate entered judgment, citing 28 U.S.C. 1915(e)(2), which calls for “the court” to “dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that … the action … fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted. Because the Commission had not been served, the magistrate was proceeding with the consent of only one litigant. The Seventh Circuit remanded: A plaintiff’s consent alone cannot give a magistrate the necessary authority to resolve a case on the basis that the complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, in a case that otherwise requires an Article III judge. View "Coleman v. Department of Labor Review Commission" on Justia Law