Clayton v. Dejoy

Decision Date20 November 2020
Docket NumberCase No. 4:18-cv-01039-JAR
PartiesROSALIND A. CLAYTON, Plaintiff, v. LOUIS DEJOY, Postmaster General United States Postal Service, et al., Defendants.
CourtU.S. District Court — Eastern District of Missouri

This matter is before the Court on Motions for Summary Judgment filed by Defendant Louis Dejoy ("USPS") (Doc. 75) and Defendant American Postal Workers Union ("APWU"). (Doc. 120). USPS has filed a memorandum in support of its motion (Doc. 76) and statement of uncontroverted material facts ("USPS SUMF"). (Doc. 77). Plaintiff Rosalind A. Clayton initially filed a brief response (Doc. 81), and USPS replied. (Doc. 85). Plaintiff subsequently filed a more thorough response to the motion (Doc. 94) and to the USPS SUMF. (Doc. 96). USPS has replied to this subsequent response. (Doc. 104).2 APWU has also filed a memorandum in support of its motion (Doc. 123) and statement of uncontroverted material facts ("APWU SUMF"). (Doc. 121).Plaintiff Rosalind A. Clayton has filed a response (Doc. 133). Both motions are fully briefed and ready for disposition. For the reasons discussed below, both motions will be granted.


Plaintiff, an African-American woman born in 1962, worked as a Mail Processing Clerk in USPS' Processing and Distribution Center in St. Louis, Missouri. (Doc. 77 at ¶¶ 1-2).3 Plaintiff's bargaining unit is represented by APWU. (Doc. 121 at ¶ 4). At all relevant times, USPS and APWU have been parties to a collective bargaining agreement ("CBA"). (Id. at ¶ 2). Plaintiff was initially a member of APWU but terminated her membership in late 2017. (Id. at ¶ 6).4

Broadly speaking, Plaintiff claims that she was discriminated against by USPS on the basis of her race, age, gender, and disability status and that APWU breached its duty of fair representation to her. Plaintiff's Fourth Amended Complaint alleges violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e, et seq. ("Title VII"), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, 29 U.S.C. §§ 621, et seq. ("ADEA"), the Rehabilitation Act of 1973,29 U.S.C. §§ 701, et seq. ("Rehabilitation Act"), Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101, et seq. ("ADA"),5 the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947, 29 U.S.C. § 185(a) ("LMRA"),6 and the Federal Employee Compensation Act, 5 U.S.C. § 81 ("FECA"). (Doc. 41 at ¶ 1).

On December 2, 2016, Plaintiff contacted an Equal Employment Opportunity ("EEO") counselor concerning the allegations underlying the present complaint. (Doc. 77 at ¶ 3). Plaintiff filed a formal EEO complaint on March 8, 2017, and on August 7, 2018 the USPS issued a Final Agency Decision ("FAD") closing Plaintiff's complaint with no finding of discrimination. (Doc. 8-1 at 36).7 Plaintiff declined to provide an affidavit in support of her EEO complaint, despite aspecific request by the EEO Investigator. (Id. at 14). After the FAD, Plaintiff properly elected to pursue her claims in this Court rather than appeal to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Plaintiff's Fourth Amended Complaint includes various allegations against USPS which were not addressed in the FAD. USPS previously moved to dismiss a substantial portion of the complaint, arguing that Plaintiff had not exhausted those allegations which were not addressed in Plaintiff's EEO complaint and the FAD. (Doc. 53). On August 5, 2020, this Court granted the motion and held that Plaintiff may only proceed against USPS on those "[a]llegations of discrimination by USPS that were raised in Plaintiff's March 8, 2017 complaint." (Doc. 97 at 9).8 Accordingly, the only claims at issue in this motion for summary judgment by USPS are those addressed by the FAD. The FAD describes 18 claims forming the basis for Plaintiff's EEO complaint, which can be roughly categorized as follows:

Compensation Claims: Claims #1, #14, #17, and #18 all allege that USPS, in various forms, failed to properly compensate Plaintiff.
Verbal Harassment Claims: Claims #2 and #3 allege that Plaintiff was yelled at and called a snitch by her supervisor.
General Harassment Claims: Claims #4 through #9, #13, #15, and #16 allege that Plaintiff was subjected to harassment in the workplace and that she was excessively scrutinized by her supervisor. Many of these claims (#4, #7, #9, #15, #16) concern Plaintiff's schedule and station.
Medical Claims: Claims #10 through #12 allege that Plaintiff was denied reasonable accommodation for her medical restrictions and that her medical documentation was improperly rejected.

As to APWU, Plaintiff claims that APWU "repeatedly failed to process any [ ] wage dispute grievances" and ignored various other grievances relating to station reassignment, working without a partner, being moved among machines, being required to work hard, and unjust discipline. (Doc. 41 at ¶ 1; Doc. 123 at 4). APWU previously moved to dismiss substantial portions of Plaintiff's claims as time-barred. (Doc. 50). Pursuant to the six-month statute of limitations for claims that a union failed to represent a member, this Court dismissed all claims arising on or before December 25, 2017. (Doc. 97 at 4).9 Accordingly, the only remaining claims to be addressed in this motion for summary judgment are those alleging that APWU breached its duty of fair representation after December 25, 2017. Plaintiff's remaining claims against APWU can be categorized as follows:

(1) Post-Membership Representation: APWU failed to represent Plaintiff after she terminated her APWU membership. (Doc. 41 at ¶ 70).
(2) Workers' Compensation Retaliation: APWU retaliated against Plaintiff for filing a workers' compensation claim. (Id. at ¶¶ 69-77).
(3) Grievance Claims: APWU failed to meaningfully pursue meritorious grievances regarding:
a. Reassignment (Id. at ¶¶ 70-71, 73-77, 81, 93, 98-100)
b. Continuation of Pay (Id. at ¶¶ 55, 90, 94-95)
c. Working Without Partner (Id. at ¶¶ 79, 86, 88, 91)
d. Moved Among Machines (Id. at ¶¶ 91, 102, 110)
e. Excessive Supervision (Id. at ¶¶ 80, 82-83, 97)
f. Unjust Discipline (Id. at ¶ 62)

Under Fed. R. Civ. P. 56, a movant is entitled to summary judgment if they can "show that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact" and they are "entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). In determining whether summary judgment is appropriate, the evidence must be viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Osborn v. E.F. Hutton & Co., Inc., 853 F.2d 616, 619 (8th Cir. 1988). The burden of proof is on the moving party and a court should not grant a summary judgment motion unless it is convinced that there is no evidence to sustain a recovery under any circumstances. City of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa v. Associated Elec. Co-op., Inc., 838 F.2d 268, 273 (8th Cir. 1988). The nonmovant, however, "'must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts,' and must come forward with 'specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.'" Torgerson v. City of Rochester, 643 F.3d 1031, 1042 (8th Cir. 2011) (quoting Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp, 475 U.S. 574, 587-87 (1986)); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). Because Plaintiff is proceeding pro se, however, this Court liberally construes her complaint and other submissions. See Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976).


Plaintiff claims that USPS failed to pay 21 days of Continuation of Pay ("COP") wages owed as a result of Plaintiff suffering a traumatic brain injury ("TBI") at work on May 27, 2016. (Doc. 41 at ¶¶ 4-10). This is Plaintiff's "chief complaint." (Doc. 94 at 1). USPS argues that thisCourt lacks jurisdiction over the claim because FECA decisions are not subject to judicial review. (Doc. 85 at 2-3).10

FECA provides that the Secretary of Labor's decision allowing or denying payment is "(1) final and conclusive for all purposes and with respect to all questions of law and fact; and (2) not subject to review by another official of the United States or by a court by mandamus or otherwise." 5 U.S.C. § 8128(b). "The plain meaning of section 8128 shows Congressional intent 'to bar judicial review altogether.'" Brumley v. U.S. Dep't of Labor, 28 F.3d 746, 747 (8th Cir. 1994) (quoting Lindahl v. Office of Pers. Mgmt., 470 U.S. 768, 779-80 (1985)). Review is available, however, if Plaintiff can demonstrate a violation of the Constitution or a clear statutory mandate. Id. Contrary to USPS' description, Plaintiff's claim is not that the Department of Labor made an incorrect decision as to her benefits, but that Plaintiff simply did not receive benefits she was deemed owed.

FECA was created as a matter of "legislative compromise: 'for employees, the right to receive benefits regardless of fault; for the Government, immunity from suit.'" Holland v. U.S. Dep't of Veteran Affairs, No. 14-2441 (MJD/BRT), 2015 WL 3450181, at *3 (D. Minn. 2015) (quoting Pourier v. United States, 138 F.3d 1267, 1267 (8th Cir. 1998)). The statute has been referred to as a "model preclusion-of-review statute." Brumley, 28 F.3d at 747 (citing Lindahl, 470 U.S. at 779-80). A reasonable argument can be made that USPS violated a clear statutory mandate if it found Plaintiff was owed COP but simply failed to make proper payment. Given Congress' intent to bar all forms of judicial review in cases arising under this statute, however, this Court finds that it lacks jurisdiction over Plaintiff's claim.

Alternatively, the Court finds that Plaintiff has not provided sufficient evidence to establish a genuine issue of material fact. Plaintiff repeatedly alleges that USPS has "stolen 21 days of COP." (Doc. 94 at 2). Plaintiff provided copies of her pay stubs, but fails to specifically indicate where COP payment was improperly denied. Instead, Plaintiff restates...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT