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McPherson v. Brennan

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

September 5, 2019

Douglas McPherson, Plaintiff,
MEGAN J. BRENNAN, Postmaster General, United States Postal Service, Defendant.



         This matter is before the Court on Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment [Doc. No. 40]. Plaintiffs response was due on May 20, 2019. On May 29, 2019, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Extension of Time to Respond. The Motion was granted on May 30, 2019. The Court gave Plaintiff up to and including June 2019 to file his response. On June 24, 2019, Plaintiff filed an "Answer to Statement of Uncontroverted Material Facts," wherein Plaintiff "denies" substantially all of Defendant's material facts. Plaintiff has not filed a memorandum in response to the Motion for Summary Judgment, nor does Plaintiff provide specific references to evidence in the record to controvert Defendant's facts. For reasons set forth below, the Motion for Summary Judgment will be granted.

         Facts and Background

         Defendant has, in accordance with the Court's Local Rules, submitted a Statement of Uncontroverted Material Facts. Although Plaintiff submitted his Answer to Defendant's Uncontroverted Material Facts, he failed to support any of his denials with any specific references to admissible evidence in the record. Indeed, Plaintiff has failed to submit any affidavits, deposition testimony or other admissible evidence in response to Defendant's Motion. Mere conclusions and self-serving statements, innuendo, and other legally unsatisfactory statements are insufficient.

Local Rule 7-401(E) provides:
Rule 7-4.01 Motions and Memoranda.
(E) A memorandum in support of a motion for summary judgment shall have attached a statement of uncontro verted material facts, set forth in a separately numbered paragraph for each fact, indicating whether each fact is established by the record, and, if so, the appropriate citations. Every memorandum in opposition shall include a statement of material facts as to which the party contends a genuine issue exists. Those matters in dispute shall be set forth with specific references to portions of the record, where available, upon which the opposing party relies. The opposing party also shall note for all disputed facts the paragraph number from movant's listing of facts. All matters set forth in the statement of the movant shall be deemed admitted for purposes of summary judgment unless specifically controverted by the opposing party.

         The following facts, taken from Defendant's Statement of Uncontroverted Facts are therefore deemed admitted.

         In July of 2012, the United States Postal Service, Office of Inspector General ("USPS OIG") posted Job Announcement Number 2012-64-704687 to USAJobs advertising a vacant Criminal Investigator position in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Announcement, which was open from July 17-31, 2012, stated that applicants must meet all of the minimum qualifications, including: a Bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university; at least 5 years of professional federal law enforcement experience; have received a satisfactory performance rating on the most recent performance appraisal; current 1811 classification required; and must submit a resume which cannot exceed five pages, and a copy of the latest Pay for Performance rating. Applicants that did not meet the eligibility requirements, or whose resume exceeds five pages, were advised that they would not be considered. The Announcement stated that desirable qualifications included an advanced academic degree or six years of related professional experience.

         The Announcement stated that applicants must be at least 21-years-old and cannot have reached their 37th birthday at the time of their initial appointment to the law enforcement position. It also stated that applicants must submit a complete application package, which included a resume, the occupational questionnaire, and the required supporting documents.

         The Criminal Investigator position was not an entry-level position. The vacancy announcement solicited applications for an experienced federal law enforcement officer by requiring that applicants have at least five years of federal law enforcement experience.

         Classification as an 1811 law enforcement officer with USPS OIG requires knowledge and familiarity with federal criminal laws and procedures, including federal investigative techniques, federal criminal procedure, and laws and regulations governing federal law enforcement activities. Federal employees in the 1811 series are required to successfully complete the basic training course for law enforcement officers administered by the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Georgia.

         USPS OIG used an automated system called USA Staffing to create and post the Job Announcement. USPS OIG established an online assessment through USAJobs to screen applicants in order to determine whether they met the minimum qualifications and desirable qualifications listed in the vacancy announcement. When an applicant applied, he or she had to answer questions about eligibility. The system checked those responses against the requirements that were included in the vacancy announcement. Because the vacancy announcement included a minimum and maximum age requirement, the applicants were asked to enter their date of birth in the online assessment.

         Question No. 3 in the online assessment asked applicants, "Are you currently classified as an 1811 federal law enforcement agent?" and applicants could select either, "Yes, I am currently classified as an 1811 federal law enforcement agent" or "No, I do not have current ...

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