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Dawson v. Donahoe

United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Northern Division

April 13, 2015

JAMES B. DAWSON, Plaintiff,


DANIEL P. JORDAN, III, District Judge.

This employment-discrimination case is before the Court on Defendant's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment [15]. For the reasons that follow, the motion is granted.

I. Facts and Procedural History

Plaintiff James B. Dawson, an employee of the United States Postal Service, believes he was discriminated against in his employment. He previously filed an action on June 26, 2013, asserting several instances of discrimination; that lawsuit was voluntarily dismissed on December 19, 2014. See Dawson v. U.S. Postal Serv., No. 3:13cv404-DPJ-FKB. Dawson filed a second lawsuit against the Postal Service asserting an additional claim on July 31, 2013; that case was dismissed for failure to prosecute on May 22, 2014. See Dawson v. U.S. Postal Serv., No. 3:13cv473-HSO-RHW.

Dawson filed this lawsuit on August 11, 2014. In his initial complaint in this case, Dawson alleged that he was discriminated against when he was not made an Electronic Technician ("ET") after a one-year probationary period. Compl. [1] at 2. Dawson filed an amended complaint on December 19, 2014, adding claims related to the following alleged incidents: (1) his October 20, 2012 removal from his Preferred Duty Assignment ("PDA"); (2) a February 20, 2013 incident where he was belittled by his manager, Grant Moore; (3) his employer not permitting him to drive to an April 11, 2011 training session in Oklahoma; (4) the Postal Service's failure to pay him overtime; (5) his employer erroneously charging him with unauthorized absence; and (6) the Postal Service's September 16, 2010 failure to pay for travel mileage. Am. Compl. [12] at 3-6. Some of these new allegations were contained in Dawson's previous lawsuits.

Defendant Patrick R. Donahoe, Postmaster General of the United States Postal Service, has now moved for partial summary judgment. Donahoe asserts that, with the exception of the claim related to the ET position, all of Dawson's claims are either untimely or unexhausted. Dawson filed a response indicating that he was not aware that his claims were untimely [17], and Donahoe filed a reply [22]. Dawson thereafter filed a document entitled Evidence Showing Documents Were Filed in a Timely Manner and Request Not to Issue a Partial Dismissal Judgement [23]. The Court has personal and subject-matter jurisdiction and is prepared to rule.

II. Standard

Summary judgment is warranted under Rule 56(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure when evidence reveals no genuine dispute regarding any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. The rule "mandates the entry of summary judgment, after adequate time for discovery and upon motion, against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986).

The party moving for summary judgment "bears the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for its motion, and identifying those portions of [the record] which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact." Id. at 323. The nonmoving party must then "go beyond the pleadings" and "designate specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.'" Id. at 324. Conclusory allegations, speculation, unsubstantiated assertions, and legalistic arguments are not an adequate substitute for specific facts showing a genuine issue for trial. TIG Ins. Co. v. Sedgwick James of Wash., 276 F.3d 754, 759 (5th Cir. 2002); Little v. Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th Cir. 1994) (en banc); SEC v. Recile, 10 F.3d 1093, 1097 (5th Cir. 1993).

III. Analysis

Title VII "permits most federal employees to seek relief from proscribed discriminatory employment practices in Federal District Court. As a precondition to seeking this judicial relief, however, complaining employees must exhaust their administrative remedies by filing a charge of discrimination with the EEO division of their agency." Pacheco v. Mineta, 448 F.3d 783, 787-88 (5th Cir. 2006). Once the appropriate EEO division issues a right-to-sue letter, the federal employee has "ninety days from receipt of the... letter to file suit." Morgan v. Potter, 489 F.3d 195, 196 (5th Cir. 2007). Donahoe asserts that Dawson failed to exhaust as to one of his claims and that another five of the claims are time-barred.[1]

A. Exhaustion as to the February 20, 2013 Moore Incident

Donahoe asserts that "there is no indication that Dawson has exhausted the Moore allegation he now raises." Def.'s Mem. [16] at 5. Dawson offers no proof to the contrary in response and therefore fails to meet his burden under Rule 56. Donahoe is ...

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