Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

FULLMAN v. HENDERSON

May 15, 2001

ANDREW FULLMAN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
WILLIAM J. HENDERSON, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Eduardo C. Robreno, Judge.

MEMORANDUM

Presently before the court are the parties cross-motions for summary judgment in this employment discrimination complaint filed by pro se plaintiff Andrew Fullman ("Fullman") against his former employer, the United States Postal Service ("Postal Service") as well as the EEO Office of the Postal Service ("EEO Office").*fn1 The case centers around the Postal Service's discharge of Fullman following its conclusion that he had filed a false workers' compensation case regarding an alleged injury he suffered during an argument with a fellow worker. As he has done in other litigation, Fullman challenges the Postal Service's determination that he filed a false claim. In this case, Fullman alleges that the Postal Service's delay in sending him a formal termination notice in 1992 as well as its failure to reinstate him in 1997 was not the product of his filing a false workers' compensation claim, as asserted by the Postal Service, but the result of racial, sexual and/or disability discrimination.

Fullman's complaint essentially involves five claims. First, Fullman alleges that the Postal Service racially and sexually discriminated against him in violation of Title VII when it failed to send him an official termination notice in 1992 and when it refused to reinstate him on the grounds that he filed a false workers' compensation claim. Second, Fullman alleges unspecified state claims arising out of the alleged employment discrimination by the Postal Service.*fn2 Third, Fullman claims that the Postal Service discriminated against him in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act when it removed him from its workforce at a time when he was disabled. Fourth, Fullman claims that the Postal Service violated his due process rights by its delay in sending him a formal termination notice, a Form 50, which he claims is needed to file an unemployment compensation claim under the Federal Employees Compensation Act ("FECA"). Fifth, Fullman claims that the EEO Office violated his due process rights by refusing to allow an EEOC Administrative Judge to issue his/her findings and conclusions without a hearing with respect to his one of his discrimination claims filed with the EEO Office.

The Postal Service responds that Fullman's Title VII claims have been previously dismissed as time-barred in an earlier civil action and, therefore, are res judicata. In addition, the Postal Service argues that Fullman has failed to establish he was discriminated against in violation of the ADA. The Postal Service further notes that Fullman's claims ultimately challenge the Postal Service and United States Department of Labor's ("DOL") determination that Fullman filed a fraudulent workers' compensation claim, and that this determination is not reviewable by this court. Finally, the Postal Service argues that Fullman's due process claims and state law claims are not permitted because the only relief available to a federal employee who alleges employment discrimination is under Title VII.

The court will grant summary judgment in favor of the Postal Service and the EEO Office on all of Fullman's claims. In reaching this conclusion, the court finds (1) that Fullman's Title VII claims are time-barred; (2) that Fullman has failed to establish he was discharged from the Postal Service on account of a disability, as required under the ADA; (3) that Fullman's state law claims are barred because Title VII provides the exclusive remedy for a federal employee alleging discrimination in the workplace; (4) that the Postal Service did not violate Fullman's due process rights because its delay in sending him a formal notice of termination did not prevent him from obtaining unemployment compensation; and (5) that the EEO Office did not violate Fullman's due process rights because the regulations did not grant Fullman a right for an Administrative Judge to make findings and conclusions without a hearing and because its decision was appealable to this court.

BACKGROUND

Sometime in 1986, Fullman began working at the Postal Service as a temporary casual employee. On February 5, 1989, Fullman was involved in a trolley to trolley accident and sustained injuries to his head, back, and right shoulder for which he was out of work. Fullman returned to work at the Postal Service in March of 1989, but was reduced to light-duty work status based on his injuries.

On March 20, 1989, plaintiff was involved in an argument with a fellow employee, Larry Johnson ("Johnson"). The severity of the altercation is contested by the parties. Fullman asserts that Johnson pushed him into an All-Purpose Container, which aggravated his lower back injuries suffered in the trolley accident.

On March 23, 1989, based on the alleged injuries he sustained in his confrontation with Johnson, Fullman filed a workers' compensation claim with the Postal Service. During the course of its investigation of Fullman's claim, the Postal Service interviewed four witnesses, including Johnson. All the witnesses stated that the confrontation was strictly verbal and that there was no physical contact between the two men. On April 3, 1989, the Postal Service notified the Office of Workers' Compensation of the United States Department of Labor ("DOL") that it was contesting Fullman's workers' compensation claim. On May 25, 1989, the DOL notified Fullman that, based on the lack of medical or eyewitness testimony to support his claim, he was denied workers' compensation. Fullman requested reconsideration of the denial. On August 14, 1989, the DOL reaffirmed its decision that Fullman had failed to submit credible evidence demonstrating that he had in fact been injured at work.

On October 6, 1989, the Postal Service sent Fullman a Notice of Removal letter, indicating that he would be removed from employment at the Postal Service based on its conclusion that he had filed a false workers' compensation claim. Following his removal from the Postal Service, Fullman remained on its employee rolls in a non-duty, non-pay status while the American Postal Workers Union ("APWU") appealed the plaintiff's removal through the grievance process. On August 14, 1992, the APWU notified the Postal Service's Labor Relations Office that it was withdrawing plaintiff's grievance. The parties agree that, at this time, Fullman was entitled to a formal termination notice, known as a "Form 50." The Postal Service, however, did not send the notice until March 26, 1996. Although the dates are unclear, Fullman spent much of the time between his removal from the Postal Service in 1989 and his receipt of the Form 50 in 1996 incarcerated on unrelated charges.

In October 1996, August 1997, and October 1997, Fullman sought reinstatement of his Postal Service position. Each time, Fullman was informed that he would not be reinstated because he had been removed for cause based on the Postal Service's conclusion that he had filed a false workers' compensation claim.

Since 1990, Fullman has filed four separate administrative complaints arising from his discharge from the Postal Service. In February 1990, Fullman filed a formal complaint of discrimination, Agency Case No. 2A-000-1072-90, ("First Complaint") claiming race discrimination based on his removal from the Postal Service. The EEO Office dismissed this complaint as untimely.

In December 1996, Fullman filed a formal complaint of discrimination, Agency Case No. 1C-191-1121-96 ("Second Complaint"), alleging race and sex discrimination because he did not receive the Postal Service Form 50, Notice of Personnel Action, formally terminating his employment with the Postal Service, until March 1996. The EEO Office dismissed this complaint on the grounds that Fullman was actually raising his removal claim again. In January 2000, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (the "EEOC") Office of Federal Operations affirmed the agency's dismissal.

On October 19, 1998, Fullman filed a formal complaint of discrimination, Agency Case No. 4C-190-0035-98 ("Third Complaint"), alleging race and physical disability discrimination when the Postal Service denied his October 1997 requests for reinstatement. On April 16, 1999, Fullman was advised that he had the following rights:

You may request a hearing before an Administrative Judge of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). To request a hearing, you must notify in writing the Senior EEO Complaints Processing Specialist, . . ., within 30 calendar days of your receipt of the investigative file. After the hearing, the Administrative Judge will submit his/her findings and conclusions to the Postal Service for the issuance of its final agency decision. EEOC regulation {29 C.F.R. § 1614.109(e)(3)} also permit the Administrative Judge to issue findings and conclusions without a hearing or make such other ruling as is appropriate.

Alternatively, you may request a final agency decision without a hearing. To request such a decision, you must notify in writing the Senior EEO Complaints Processing Specialist, . . ., within 30 calendar days of your receipt of the case file.

If you fail to request either a hearing or a final agency decision without a hearing within 30 calendar days of you [sic] receipt of the case file, the agency will issue its final agency decision.

If you are dissatisfied with the Postal Service's final decision, you may file a civil action an appropriate U.S. District Court, within ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.