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Roszita Carpenter v. Timothy F. Geithner

June 4, 2012

ROSZITA CARPENTER
v.
TIMOTHY F. GEITHNER



The opinion of the court was delivered by: O'neill, J.

MEMORANDUM

Now before me are defendant Timothy F. Geithner's motion for judgment on the pleadings or, alternatively, for summary judgment and to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and the responses thereto of plaintiff Roszita Carpenter, proceeding pro se. For the reasons that follow I will grant defendant's motion.

BACKGROUND

Ms. Carpenter worked in Philadelphia as a mail and file clerk for the Internal Revenue Service -- a part of the United States Department of the Treasury. She was removed from employment on June 13, 2003. Dkt. No. 17-1, EEOC Decision at 3, ¶¶ 2-3. On October 11, 2003, Ms. Carpenter filed a formal complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, alleging the IRS (i) discriminated against her on the basis of an unidentified mental disability; and (ii) retaliated against her based upon her earlier involvement in the EEO process. Dkt. No. 17-2. In 2004, Ms. Carpenter filed a related lawsuit in this Court in which she alleged disability discrimination. Carpenter v. Snow, No. 04-1126 (E.D. Pa.); see also Dkt. No. 17-1, EEOC Decision at 3, ¶ 7. Ms. Carpenter settled that action with the Treasury Department in 2005. Id. at ¶ 9. As a part of the settlement, Ms. Carpenter agreed to dismiss her complaint with prejudice and the Treasury Department agreed to (i) pay her $15,000; (ii) rescind her removal; and (iii) change her removal to a voluntary resignation for health reasons. Id..

On August 20, 2008, Ms. Carpenter applied to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management for a Federal Employment Retirement System disability retirement. Id. ¶ 10. The OPM operates as a separate federal agency from the Treasury Department. On September 22, 2008, OPM notified Ms. Carpenter that her application for disability retirement was untimely because she did not submit the application within one year after her separation from Federal service. Dkt. No. 17-3; see also Dkt. No. 17-1 at 3, ¶ 11. In its notification letter, OPM asked Ms. Carpenter to provide it with information relating to her mental competency after her separation from the IRS so that it could determine whether it could waive the limitation period for filing for FERS disability retirement. Dkt. No. 17-3. Ms. Carpenter responded to OPM's request with documents. Dkt. No. 17-4. On October 30, 2008, after a review of those documents, OPM informed Ms. Carpenter that she did not meet the timeliness requirement and dismissed her application. Id. Ms. Carpenter apparently requested reconsideration of OPM's determination. See Dkt. No. 24 at 64 (email from Carol Cook at OPM to Rosita Carpenter stating that "[y]our request for reconsideration (below) is accepted). In response, OPM explained that "[i]nformation in support of your reconsideration request needs to show how your medical condition kept you from filing for disability retirement from OPM until 2008," id., and that "[w]e will additionally need medical records from your physician." Id. at 63.

In September 2008, Ms. Carpenter began making multiple telephone calls and sending emails to the IRS's Employee Resource Center and one of its Cincinnati-based Retirement

Benefits Specialists, Richard Klein.*fn1 Dkt. No. 17-5 ¶¶ 9, 10(2)*fn2 , 14, 18 . Mr. Klein's job was to provide OPM with health and life insurance forms for individuals approved for disability retirement. Id. ¶¶ 7, 20. Although Ms. Carpenter had not been approved for disability retirement, she contacted Mr. Klein repeatedly, each time requesting that he provide her with medical records from her IRS Official Personnel File. Id. ¶¶ 10, 14. Her OPF did not contain any medical records, Mr. Kline never possessed or had access to Ms. Carpenter's medical records and he informed Ms. Carpenter of this.*fn3 Id. ¶¶ 9, 12, 14. At OPM's request, in May 2009 Mr. Klein provided OPM with Ms. Carpenter's OPF and her 2005 settlement agreement with the Treasury Department -- the only documents relating to Ms. Carpenter to which he had access. Id.

¶¶ 9, 10(1); Dkt. No. 17-1 at 3-4, ¶¶ 13-18.

On May 17, 2009 Ms. Carpenter left Mr. Klein a voicemail message in which she said:

I just got finished praying for you. I received insurmountable evidence of what you are doing to me. I'm giving you the opportunity to save yourself and family. To save yourself, your child and your family. I don't want your family to lose everything. I got proof that will stand up as to what you've been doing to me. All those ERC2 representatives that you've been telling to lie -- they're not going to lie for you anymore. They're ready to throw you under the bus. I got proof that will stand up in court and it will make you lose your job and give me the right to sue you. This is not a threat. I got God in my life. I'm not angry. I feel sorry for you -- I pity you. You can save yourself and family today.

Dkt. No. 17-1 at 4, ¶ 19; see also Dkt. No. 17-5 at ¶ 16. Mr. Klein shared Ms. Carpenter's voicemail with his supervisors who forwarded it to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA). Dkt. No. 17-1 at 4, ¶ 20.

TIGTA assigned two of its special agents to investigate whether the message to Mr. Klein was a threat. Id. at 4, ¶ 21. The special agents questioned Ms. Carpenter about her message at her home on May 29, 2009. Dkt. No. 17-6 at ¶ 2; see also Dkt. No. 17-1 at 4, ¶ 22. Upon listening to the message, Ms. Carpenter confirmed that she had left it, but denied that she intended the message as a threat to Mr. Klein. Dkt. No. 17-6 at ¶ 2. Ms. Carpenter was informed that if she were to threaten a federal government employee, she could be criminally prosecuted. Id.; see also Dkt. No. 17-1 at 5, ¶¶ 23-25.

On June 12, 2009, Ms. Carpenter "requested pre-complaint processing of a complaint of discrimination" from the EEOC. Dkt. No. 17-1, EEOC Decision at 1. Ms. Carpenter asserted a claim that she was discriminated against on the basis of her age, disability, and/or in reprisal for her prior EEO protected activity when the Department of the Treasury "failed to provide necessary information resulting in the . . . denial of [her] application for disability retirement" and when Treasury Agents were "sent to her home to intimidate her into withdrawing her EEO complaint of discrimination." Id. at 2. The Treasury Department filed a "Motion for a Decision Without a Hearing." Id. at 1. Ms. Carpenter did not respond to the motion. Id. The EEOC considered the record evidence and determined that the Treasury Department "did not discriminate against" Ms. Carpenter. Id. at 7. On January 5, 2011, the Department of the Treasury entered a final order in which it "determined that it w[ould] fully implement the Administrative Judge's finding of no discrimination." Dkt. No. 17-1, Dep't of the Treasury Final Order.

Ms. Carpenter then sought to file the instant action against Mr. Geithner, filing a request for in forma pauperis status on January 24, 2011. Dkt. No. 1. The Court granted Ms. Carpenter's request on January ...


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