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Wilfredo A. Golez v. John E. Potter

July 31, 2012

WILFREDO A. GOLEZ,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
JOHN E. POTTER, POSTMASTER GENERAL, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Anthony J. BattagliaU.S. District Judge

MEMORANDUM DECISION FOLLOWING TRIAL AND ORDER FOR ENTRY OF JUDGMENT

On July 23, 24 and 25, 2012, the Court held a bench trial in the above-captioned matter. Plaintiff Wilfredo A. Golez, proceeded pro se, and Timothy Stutler, Esq. and Rosa Catania, Esq. represented the Defendant John E. Potter, Postmaster General. Having carefully reviewed the evidence and the arguments of the parties, as presented at trial and in their written submissions, the Court makes the following findings of fact and conclusions of law pursuant to Rule 52 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

Procedural History

On May 5, 2009, Plaintiff filed a complaint against Defendant Potter. (Dkt. No. 1.) On September 14, 2009, Plaintiff filed a first amended complaint. (Dkt. No. 15.) On December 8, 2009, Defendant filed a motion to dismiss the first amended complaint. (Dkt. No. 22.) Before the motion to dismiss was fully briefed, on February 22, 2010, Plaintiff filed a motion for leave to file a second amended complaint. (Dkt. No. 30.) On February 24, 2010, the Court granted Plaintiff's motion for leave to file a second amended complaint and denied Defendant's motion to dismiss as moot. (Dkt. No. 34.) On February 24, 2010, a second amended complaint was filed. (Dkt. No. 35.) On March 5, 2010, Plaintiff filed a motion for leave of court to file an addendum to the second amended complaint. (Dkt. No. 37.) On March 12, 2010, the Court construed that motion as a motion for leave to file a third amended complaint which was granted. (Dkt. No. 38.) A third amended complaint was filed on March 29, 2010. (Dkt. No. 39.) On April 9, 2010, Defendant filed a motion to dismiss. (Dkt. No. 42.) On April 21, 2010, Plaintiff filed a motion for leave of court to file a fourth amended complaint. (Dkt. No. 44.) On April 23, 2010, the Court denied Plaintiff's request for leave to file a fourth amended complaint and set a briefing schedule on the motion to dismiss. (Dkt. No. 45.) On July 12, 2010, the Court granted Defendant's motion to dismiss and motion to strike and granted in part and denied in part Plaintiff's motion for leave to file a fourth amended complaint. (Dkt. No. 56.) On August 6, 2010, Plaintiff filed a fourth amended complaint. (Dkt. No. 57.) An answer was filed on August 18, 2010. (Dkt. No. 59.) On August 20, 2010, Plaintiff filed a motion for temporary restraining order which was denied on August 23, 2010. (Dkt. No. 62.)

On February 10, 2011, Defendant filed a motion for partial summary judgment, or alternatively, motion to dismiss. (Dkt. No. 81.) On February 22, 2011, Plaintiff filed a motion for leave of court to amend the fourth amended complaint which was denied on February 28, 2011. (Dkt. Nos. 86, 87.) On March 14, 2011, the case was transferred to the undersigned judge. (Dkt. No. 89.) On October 17, 2011, the Court granted Defendant's motion for partial summary judgment as to the Title VII and rehabilitation claims and as to the Family Medical Leave Act ("FMLA") claims regarding any events prior to May 5, 2006. (Dkt. No. 113.)

On July 25, 2011, Defendant filed a second motion for partial summary judgment as to the remaining FMLA claims regarding any events after May 5, 2006. (Dkt. No. 106.) On February 3, 2012, the Court granted in part and denied in part Defendant's motion for partial summary judgment as to the remaining FMLA claim. (Dkt. No. 133.) The Court denied Defendant's motion for partial summary judgment as to whether Defendant's decision to terminate Plaintiff's employment on July 3, 2008 was a violation of the FMLA.

Cause of Action

The Court has jurisdiction of this case against the United States pursuant to the FMLA, 29 U.S.C. § 2615(a)(1). Venue is proper under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(e). The FMLA grants up to twelve weeks of leave per year to eligible employees in various circumstances, including in order to care for a parent with a serious health condition. 29 U.S.C. § 2612(a)(1)(C); 29 C.F.R. § 825.113; 29 C.F.R. § 825.201(a). Plaintiff asserts that he suffered an adverse employment action for taking FMLA leave. While he refers to his claim as one of retaliation, this type of claim is known as an "interference claim" under 29 U.S.C. § 2615(a)(1). Relying on an employee's FMLA leave as a negative factor in disciplining him constitutes interference with the employee's rights under the FMLA. Bachelder v. America West Airlines, Inc., 259 F.3d 1112, 1122-23 (9th Cir. 2001).

In order to prevail on his FMLA claim, Plaintiff is required to prove each of the following elements by a preponderance of the evidence:

(1) Plaintiff was eligible for FMLA leave;

(2) Defendant was covered by the FMLA;

(3) Plaintiff was entitled to FMLA leave;

(4) Plaintiff gave sufficient notice of intent to take leave; and

(5) Defendant used Plaintiff's taking of FMLA leave as a negative ...


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