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Garrett v. United States Postal Service

September 17, 2010

FRANCIS J. GARRETT, PLAINTIFF,
v.
UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Seybert, District Judge

MEMORANDUM & ORDER

Plaintiff Francis J. Garrett ("Plaintiff"), pro se, commenced this action against the United States Postal Service ("USPS") on April 2, 2008. Plaintiff's Complaint alleges age and disability discrimination claims under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 ("ADEA"), 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq., and the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. § 12112 et seq.

USPS has moved for summary judgment. For the reasons stated below, that motion is GRANTED.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Francis J. Garrett was a USPS employee from November 23, 1949 to January 8, 1975. (Def. Ex. 2.) On November 26, 1974, USPS provided Plaintiff with notice of its intent to remove him, due to his absenteeism. (Def. Ex. 3.) On January 7, 1975, USPS formally notified Plaintiff of his removal. (Def. Ex. 4.)

On September 23, 1981, Plaintiff submitted a letter seeking reinstatement pursuant to USPS's Program for Alcoholic Recovery, an initiative that considered rehiring former USPS employees who suffered from alcoholism. (Def. Ex. 5) Plaintiff wrote that, since his termination, he had stopped drinking and had no attendance problems at his current job. (Id.) On January 4, 1981, USPS rejected Plaintiff's application for reinstatement, citing Plaintiff's prior unfavorable service. (Def. Ex. 6.)

On August 20, 1983, Plaintiff filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"), claiming that USPS refused to reinstate him on discriminatory age and disability grounds. (Def. Ex. 7.)

At a hearing on June 25, 1984, the parties entered into a Stipulation and Settlement, whereby USPS agreed to reinstate Plaintiff to his previous position as "mail handler three, step one," with a salary of $20,333, by the second week of August 1984. (Def. Ex. 8 at 4.) In addition, USPS agreed to pay Plaintiff's attorney fees and costs. (Id.) Despite agreeing to reinstate him as a mail handler, it is undisputed that, upon returning to USPS, Plaintiff was instead assigned to work as a mail processor. Plaintiff went on to work as a mail processor for the next 23 years, and won several awards and commendations for his performance in that position. (Def. Ex. 14.)

On July 14, 2002, Plaintiff sent USPS a letter complaining about various personnel matters. (Def. Ex. 13.) Among other things, Plaintiff complained about "the unauthorized transfer of retirement monies, preference of veteran's status, reinstatement to previous title, and wrongful discharge that today would be considered criminal by the discrimination act, which enacted that alcoholism is a disease." (Id.) The letter stated that Plaintiff had previously notified USPS of these mistakes back in 1995. (Id.)

On June 13, 2007, Plaintiff retired. (Def. Ex. 9.) On September 25, 2007, he contacted the EEOC. (Def. Ex. 10.) On October 5, 2007, Plaintiff asked the EEOC for pre-complaint counseling. (Cedeno Decl. ¶ 6). Plaintiff alleged age discrimination, alcohol discrimination and retaliatory actions that affected his pension annuity, include a failure to properly credit his seniority. (Cedeno Decl. Ex. B.) Among other things, Plaintiff alleged that he should have received pension credit for the ten years he did not work for USPS because he "won his case." (Id.)

On October 25, 2007, the EEOC wrote Plaintiff to inform him that it could not resolve his "counseling request." (Cedeno Decl. Ex. C.) The EEOC then told Plaintiff that he could let his inquiry lapse, or file a formal EEOC complaint. (Id.) The EEOC also informed Plaintiff that he could bypass the EEOC process by filing a civil action in a U.S. District Court under the ADEA. (Def. Ex. 11.)

On April 2, 2008, Plaintiff commenced this action. Plaintiff's Complaint alleges that USPS began discriminating against him on July 7, 1984, and that this discrimination remains ongoing. (Compl. § 5.) Plaintiff also alleges that USPS has retaliated against him for filing an EEOC discrimination charge back in 1984. Plaintiff's Complaint alleges that, due to this discrimination and retaliation, USPS:

(1) reinstated him as a mail processor, instead of a mail handler; (2) failed to award him his veteran's preference; (3) did not properly calculate his seniority; (4) took money out of his annuity "for repayment of prior service without my written approval"; and (5) denied him back pay. During the summary judgment process, Plaintiff added the following allegations: (6) USPS "distrib[uted]" his records around and "lost [his] discharge papers after having them since at least 1949" (Pl. 56.1 Stmt. at p. 1); (7) USPS hired a younger man instead of him for some unspecified position (id. at p. 2); (8) after leaving USPS for the first time, in 1975, USPS purposefully mishandled or misplaced a retirement-related check it owed ...


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