453 F.3d 990 (8th Cir. 2006), 05-3858, Robinson v. Potter

Docket Nº:05-3858.
Citation:453 F.3d 990
Party Name:Carol L. ROBINSON, Plaintiff--Appellant, v. John E. POTTER, Postmaster General, Defendant--Appellee.
Case Date:July 11, 2006
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
 
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Page 990

453 F.3d 990 (8th Cir. 2006)

Carol L. ROBINSON, Plaintiff--Appellant,

v.

John E. POTTER, Postmaster General, Defendant--Appellee.

No. 05-3858.

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit.

July 11, 2006

Submitted: May 19, 2006

Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of South Dakota.

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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Counsel who presented argument on behalf of the appellant was Eugene R. Robinson of Sioux Falls, SD.

Counsel who presented argument on behalf of the appellee was Jan L. Holmgren, AUSA, of Sioux Falls, SD.

Before BYE, HANSEN, and SMITH, Circuit Judges.

BYE, Circuit Judge.

Carol Robinson sued John Potter, Postmaster General of the United States Postal Service (USPS) for violations of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. 29 U.S.C. §§ 701 to 718. In her three-count complaint, Robinson claimed she was denied employment with the USPS because of a perceived handicap (Count 1) and did not receive two management-level positions in retaliation for filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) (Counts 2 and 3). The district court1 granted summary judgment in favor of the USPS on Counts 2 and 3. Count 1 was tried, and a jury returned a defense verdict. Robinson appeals the grant of partial summary judgment, two discovery rulings, and a ruling on a motion in limine. We affirm.

I

Robinson worked for the USPS between May 1983 and April 1988 as a Letter Sorting Machine (LSM) operator in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The now-obsolete position involved keying ZIP Codes. In 1987, she developed tendinitis as a result of the repetitive keying motion, and a doctor placed restrictions on her work. Safety director Dan Weber accommodated these restrictions.

Later in 1987, Robinson successfully sought a transfer to the letter carrier craft, allowing her to work day, rather than evening, hours. In 1988 and 1989, she also successfully sought transfers to Hastings, Nebraska, and to Huntsville, Alabama, working as a clerk and an LSM operator, respectively. She voluntarily resigned in September 1989. Two years later, she moved back to South Dakota and sought reinstatement with the Sioux Falls branch of USPS as a clerk or carrier, but was not re-employed due to an active hiring freeze. In December 1992, she read a newspaper article claiming openings were available and again requested reinstatement. Carol Kreager in Human Resources (HR) alerted Robinson of the newspaper article being misleading as no positions were available. Over the course of the next few months, Robinson submitted additional applications and spoke with Kreager concerning her employment status. On all of these occasions, Kreager told Robinson the Sioux Falls branch was not hiring.

In February 1993, Robinson learned of a new employee class of transitional or temporary

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employee (TE) positions from a source outside of HR. Those employed in TE positions performed various duties, including acting as clerks and LSM operators, but they were hired on a term basis and did not participate in employment benefits. Robinson sent a letter to Kreager's supervisor, Joan Marshall, requesting reinstatement as either a full-time or...

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