Mays v. US Postal Service, Civ. No. 95-D-559-E.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Middle District of Alabama
Writing for the CourtDE MENT
Citation928 F. Supp. 1552
PartiesElaine M. MAYS, Plaintiff, v. UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE, et al., Defendants.
Docket NumberCiv. No. 95-D-559-E.
Decision Date08 April 1996

COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED

COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED

Marvin W. Wiggins, Chestnut, Sanders, Sanders & Pettaway, P.C., Selma, AL, for plaintiff.

Redding Pitt, U.S. Attorney, Leura J. Garrett, U.S. Attorney's Office, Montgomery, AL, for defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

DE MENT, District Judge.

Before the court are the defendants' motions, filed August 2, 1995, for partial dismissal, to strike the jury demand and for summary judgment. The plaintiff responded in opposition on August 28, 1995, to which the defendants replied on March 29, 1996. After careful consideration of the arguments of counsel, the relevant case law and the record as a whole, the court finds that the defendants' motions are due to be granted.

JURISDICTION AND VENUE

Jurisdiction is proper pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 as the plaintiff alleges a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq.1 See 28 U.S.C. § 1331. Personal jurisdiction and venue are not contested.

FINDINGS OF FACT2

The plaintiff, Elaine M. Mays, a black female, is a former employee of the United States Postal Service in Auburn, Alabama. She was initially hired by the Postal Service as a part-time flexible carrier on or about September 21, 1990. Pl.'s Compl. at ¶ 6; Hall Aff. at 1. As with all new employees, she was required to undergo a ninety-day probationary period, during which she was subject to discharge at any time.3 Id. at 1-2; McLaughlin Aff. at 1.

Ms. Mays received periodic evaluations at thirty, sixty and eighty days after the commencement of her employment. During said evaluations, her performance was reviewed and she was evaluated as to her superiors' expectations. Hall Aff. at 2; McLaughlin Aff. at 2. One of these expectations consisted of Ms. Mays casing at least five linear feet of segmented mail per hour. McLaughlin Aff. at 3-4 & Exs. P-R; Hall Aff. at 4 & Exs. O-Q. Due in part to her inability to meet said requirement, Ms. Mays' immediate supervisor, Larry Hall, recommended that she be terminated at the time of her sixty-day evaluation. Hall Aff. at 2. However, Postmaster Dan McLaughlin decided that he would give Ms. Mays additional time to demonstrate whether she could meet the performance standards for casing segmented mail. Id. at 2-3; McLaughlin Aff. at 2-3. Postmaster McLaughlin instructed Mr. Hall to give Ms. Mays additional training on the casing of segmented mail in hopes that additional training would enable her to meet the casing requirement of segmented mail. Hall Aff. at 3; McLaughlin Aff. at 3. As such, Ms. Mays was assigned to do "segmentation" work for an additional twelve days after the sixty-day evaluation. Hall Aff. at 3. However, Ms. Mays failed to reach the performance requirement of five linear feet per hour. Id. Therefore, Postmaster McLaughlin made the final determination at the time of Ms. Mays' eighty-day evaluation that she had not improved sufficiently to warrant retention. Id. Accordingly, Ms. Mays was notified that she would be terminated effective December 11, 1990. Pl.'s Compl. at ¶ 7; McLaughlin Aff. at 3 & Ex. G; Hall Aff. at 3-4 & Ex. F Two white male employees were also on probationary status at approximately the same time as Ms. Mays, Tim Cox and Bill McGuire. Hall Aff. at 9. These individuals met the segmentation casing standard and were retained. McLaughlin Aff. at 3-4; Hall Aff. at 4. Mr. Cox met the "segmentation" requirement after eight attempts, Hall Aff. at 4 & Ex. Q., whereas, Mr. McGuire met the "segmentation" requirement after eleven attempts, Hall Aff. at 4 & Ex. R. In comparison, although Ms. Mays made twenty-one attempts, she never met the requirement. Hall Aff. at 4 & Ex. P. In fact, the highest rate at which Ms. Mays was able to case segmented mail was 3.78 linear feet per hour. Id.

On March 4, 1991, Ms. Mays filed a complaint with the EEOC alleging that she had been discriminated against on the basis of race and sex in connection with her termination. Pl.'s Compl. at ¶ 18; Maclin Aff. at 2 & Ex. A. Following an investigation, a hearing was held before the an Administrative Law Judge appointed by the EEOC. Pl.'s Compl. at ¶ 25; Maclin Aff. at 2. Following said hearing, the Administrative Law Judge issued a recommended decision on April 15, 1993, finding that Ms. Mays had not been discriminated against on the basis of race or sex in connection with her discharge. Pl.'s Compl. at ¶ 26; Maclin Aff. at 2-3 & Ex. E. A final agency decision was then issued by the Postal Service on June 8, 1993, adopting the Judge's recommended decision. Pl.'s Compl. at ¶ 27; Maclin Aff. at 3 & Ex. F.

Ms. Mays sought review of the final agency decision by the Office of Federal Operations of the EEOC. Maclin Aff. at 3 & Ex. G. The EEOC issued a decision on June 27, 1994, affirming the final agency decision previously issued by the Postal Service. Pl.'s Compl. at ¶ 29; Maclin Aff. at 3 & Ex. H. On or about July 13, 1994, Ms. Mays sought reconsideration of said decision by the EEOC. Pl.'s Compl. at ¶ 30; Maclin Aff. at 3. On March 23, 1995, the EEOC issued a denial of the request to reconsider. Maclin Aff. at 3 & Ex. I.

Thereafter, Ms. Mays filed this action seeking relief against the United States Postal Service, Postmaster General Marvin T. Runyon, in his individual and official capacity, Mr. Hall, in his individual and official capacity, and Postmaster McLaughlin, in his individual and official capacity. In Counts I and II, she claims that said defendants discriminated against her based on her sex and race. In Count III, she contends that said defendants deprived her of her rights and privileges secured by the Alabama Constitution and the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. She appears to be seeking remedies to the alleged violations in Count III through 42 U.S.C. § 1983.4 Count IV alleges that said defendants acted in concert and with deliberate indifference toward her constitutional rights in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1985. Count V seeks to hold Postmaster General Runyon, Mr. Hall and Postmaster McLaughlin liable in both their individual and official capacities for discharging Ms. Mays solely because of her race and sex. In Count VI, Ms. Mays alleges that Postmaster Runyon, Mr. Hall and Postmaster McLaughlin, in their individual and official capacities, acted individually and/or in concert to harass, terminate and discriminate against Ms. Mays while she was employed with the Auburn Post Office.

DISCUSSION
I. MOTION FOR PARTIAL DISMISSAL
A. Standard of Review for Motion to Dismiss

Pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a defendant may move to dismiss a complaint on the ground that the plaintiff has failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. A Rule 12(b)(6) motion questions the legal sufficiency of a complaint; therefore, in assessing the merit of a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the court must assume that all the factual allegations set forth in the complaint are true. See, e.g., United States v. Gaubert, 499 U.S. 315, 327, 111 S.Ct. 1267, 1276, 113 L.Ed.2d 335 (1991); Powell v. Lennon, 914 F.2d 1459, 1463 (11th Cir.1990). Moreover, all factual allegations are to be construed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. See e.g., Sofarelli v. Pinellas County, 931 F.2d 718, 721 (11th Cir.1991); see also Brower v. County of Inyo, 489 U.S. 593, 598, 109 S.Ct. 1378, 1382, 103 L.Ed.2d 628 (1989).

On a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, the movant "sustains a very high burden."5 Jackam v. Hospital Corp. of America Mideast, Ltd., 800 F.2d 1577, 1579 (11th Cir.1986) (citing Currie v. Cayman Resources Corp., 595 F.Supp. 1364, 1376 (N.D.Ga.1984)). The Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit has held, "motions to dismiss for failure to state a claim should be denied unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of its claims." Jackam, 800 F.2d at 1579 (quoting Bracewell v. Nicholson Air Servs., Inc., 680 F.2d 103, 104 (11th Cir. 1982)); see also Hishon v. King & Spalding, 467 U.S. 69, 73, 104 S.Ct. 2229, 2232, 81 L.Ed.2d 59 (1984).

The court also stresses that on a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, Rule 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the nonmoving party has the burden of showing that it properly invoked the court's jurisdiction. Menchaca v. Chrysler Credit Corp., 613 F.2d 507, 511 (5th Cir.), cert. denied, 449 U.S. 953, 101 S.Ct. 358, 66 L.Ed.2d 217 (1980).6 In ruling on the motion, the court is to "consider the allegations of the complaint as true." Williamson v. Tucker, 645 F.2d 404, 412 (5th Cir.), cert. denied, 454 U.S. 897, 102 S.Ct. 396, 70 L.Ed.2d 212 (1981).

B. Exclusive Remedy — Title VII

The defendants contend that Title VII provides the exclusive remedy for Ms. Mays' claims of discrimination, and therefore, all of Ms. Mays' claims other than those brought under Title VII should be dismissed. In support thereof, the defendants rely on Brown v. General Services Administration, 425 U.S. 820, 96 S.Ct. 1961, 48 L.Ed.2d 402 (1976), Grier v. Secretary of Army, 799 F.2d 721, 724 n. 2 (11th Cir.1986), and Canino v. United States EEOC, 707 F.2d 468 (11th Cir.1983). Ms. Mays has not only failed to respond to this contention by the defendants, but also to any of the defendants' contentions in their motion to partially dismiss.

In Brown v. General Services Administration, supra, the Supreme Court of the United States addressed whether a plaintiff can bring separate claims in addition to a Title VII claim for alleged discrimination in federal employment. 425 U.S. at 821, 96 S.Ct. at 1962. The Court answered in the affirmative, holding that Title VII "provides the exclusive judicial remedy for claims of discrimination in...

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