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Gage v. Brennan

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

April 29, 2019

LEROY GAGE, Plaintiff,
v.
MEGAN BRENNAN, POSTMASTER GENERAL, UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          CHARLES A. SHAW, JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on the motion for summary judgment filed by defendant Megan Brennan, Postmaster General, United States Postal Service. Pro se plaintiff Leroy Gage has not filed an opposition and the time to do so has passed. Plaintiff did file a “statement of responses to uncontroverted material facts” with unlabeled exhibits. (Doc. 42) For the following reasons, the motion will be granted.

         I. Background

         On December 13, 2017, plaintiff, a former employee of the United States Postal Service (“USPS”), filed this pro se lawsuit against defendant Megan Brennan, Postmaster General of the United States Postal Service, using the Court's pre-printed Employment Discrimination Complaint Form. (Doc. 1). Plaintiff alleges he was discriminated against from “2008 to the present” and checked the boxes indicating he brought the action pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (“Title VII”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e, et seq.; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”), 29 U.S.C. §§ 621, et seq.; the American with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101, et seq.; and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, 29 U.S.C. §§ 701, et seq. (“Rehabilitation Act”). Plaintiff also checked the box for “Other” and wrote “retaliation sex.” Id.

         In an attached six-page Supplemental Complaint, plaintiff alleges he experiences complications from “multiple conditions including diabetes; hypertension; arthritis; and back, knee, and hip injuries[, ]” but performed his duties and responsibilities for the USPS in a competent and satisfactory manner. (Doc. 1-1 ¶¶ 7, 14). Plaintiff states he was involuntarily reassigned from City Carrier Technician to “several unassigned Full-Time Carrier Technician, under the same occupation code, position type, and with corresponding pay.” Id. at ¶ 14. Plaintiff further alleges he reported to work on time every day and, after one hour of work, defendant would direct him to “end his tour of duty.” Id. at ¶ 15. Plaintiff alleges he was not provided with reasonable accommodations for his medical conditions although he “did not request a reasonable accommodation.” Id. at ¶ 19.

         On February 16, 2018, defendant filed a partial motion to dismiss plaintiff's complaint for failure to state a claim. (Doc. 3). On June 25, 2018, the Court granted defendant's motion and dismissed plaintiff's Title VII, ADA, and ADEA claims. (Docs. 14 and 15). Thus, the only remaining claims in this action are under the Rehabilitation Act, including retaliation.

         Defendant now moves for summary judgment, arguing plaintiff's claims under the Rehabilitation Act are barred by the doctrine of res judicata because this Court has already addressed and dismissed plaintiff's discrimination and retaliation claims in Gage v. Potter, No. 4:09-CV-52 CEJ, 2009 WL 5220159 (E.D. Mo. Dec. 31, 2009) (“Potter I”).[1] In the alternative, defendant argues that plaintiff's remaining claims fail on their merits because plaintiff is not a qualified individual, did not suffer an adverse employment action, and was not denied a reasonable accommodation.

         II. Legal Standard

         As a threshold matter, pro se pleadings are to be liberally construed and are held to less stringent standards than those drafted by an attorney. Smith v. St. Bernards Reg'l Med. Ctr., 19 F.3d 1254, 1255 (8th Cir. 1994). This means “that if the essence of an allegation is discernible ... then the district court should construe the complaint in a way that permits the layperson's claim to be considered within the proper legal framework.” Solomon v. Petray, 795 F.3d 777, 787 (8th Cir. 2015) (quoted case omitted). The Court will not, however, supply additional facts or construct a legal theory for a pro se plaintiff that assumes facts that have not been pleaded. Stone v. Harry, 364 F.3d 912, 914 (8th Cir. 2004).

         The standards applicable to summary judgment motions are well settled. Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c), a court may grant a motion for summary judgment if all of the information before the court shows “there is no genuine issue of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986).

         The initial burden is placed on the moving party. City of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa v. Associated Elec. Co-op., Inc., 838 F.2d 268, 273 (8th Cir. 1988) (the moving party has the burden of clearly establishing the non-existence of any genuine issue of fact that is material to a judgment in its favor). Once this burden is discharged, if the record shows that no genuine dispute exists, the burden then shifts to the non-moving party who must set forth affirmative evidence and specific facts showing there is a genuine dispute on a material factual issue. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249 (1986).

         Once the burden shifts, the non-moving party may not rest on the allegations in his pleadings, but by affidavit and other evidence must set forth specific facts showing that a genuine issue of material fact exists. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e); Herring v. Canada Life Assur. Co., 207 F.3d 1026, 1029 (8th Cir. 2000); Allen v. Entergy Corp., 181 F.3d 902, 904 (8th Cir. 2000). The non-moving party “must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts.” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). A dispute about a material fact is “genuine” only “if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Herring, 207 F.3d at 1029 (quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248). A party resisting summary judgment has the burden to designate the specific facts that create a triable question of fact. See Crossley v. Georgia-Pacific Corp., 355 F.3d 1112, 1114 (8th Cir. 2004). Self-serving, conclusory statements without support are not sufficient to defeat summary judgment. See Conolly v. Clark, 457 F.3d 872, 876 (8th Cir. 2006).

         With this standard in mind, the Court accepts the following facts as true for purposes of resolving this motion for summary judgment.

         III. ...


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