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Michael R. Jones v. Office of Workers' Comp. Programs

October 19, 2012

MICHAEL R. JONES,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
OFFICE OF WORKERS' COMP. PROGRAMS, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Craig M. Kellison United States Magistrate Judge

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Plaintiff, who is proceeding pro se, brings this civil action pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 522a(g)(1) to remedy alleged violations of the Privacy Act of 1974. Pending before the court is defendant's motion to dismiss (Docs. 32 and 35). Also before the court is plaintiff's motion for discovery (Doc. 31). The parties appeared for a hearing on August 29, 2012, at 10:00 a.m. before the undersigned in Redding, California. Plaintiff appeared pro se. Yoshinori Himel, Esq., appeared for defendant.

I. PLAINTIFF'S ALLEGATIONS

Plaintiff claims that he was injured on July 15, 1993, while working for the Forrest Service as a Fire Engine Operator ("FEO") and that he initiated a workers' compensation claim. According to plaintiff, he was in line for a step increase in pay in 1994 from a GS 6, Step 8, to a Step 9. He also states that in 1997 the FEO position was upgraded to a GS 7. Plaintiff alleges that in June 2003 the Forrest Service "and agency" "contrived a plan to coerce Plaintiff into accepting a series 1001 GS 5 Information Assistant (IA) position at a GS 6 step 10 pay rate, which they falsely claimed was equivalent to what I would have received if Plaintiff had remained in the FEO position." Plaintiff states that he began working as an IA in April 2004 and that, at this time, he would have been paid at a GS 7, Step 10, pay rate had he remained in the FEO position. Plaintiff also claims that, "[j]ust prior to, and since, occupying the IA position in 2004," he learned of "adverse actions and decisions" against him including the reduction of salary and removal of locality pay adjustments.

Next, plaintiff states that he filed "numerous" requests for reconsideration and appeals, but that defendants failed to provide plaintiff with "legitimate justification, documentation, information, formulas, and/or other evidence" supporting their decisions. According to plaintiff, the decisions made in his case were made by ignoring information and evidence he provided, and by "contriving and/or materially misrepresenting the facts. . . ." Plaintiff further alleges that in response to adverse decisions, he submitted a "FOIA/Privacy Act request" on May 20, 2010, to "compel the agency to provide copies of his case file records and in an effort to know what information the agency is relying on and basing their decisions." Plaintiff states that "the agency was non-compliant" to his request. Plaintiff states that he then submitted another "FOIA/Privacy Act request" on June 2, 2010, and another on June 15, 2010.

Plaintiff claims that he received a response on June 17, 2010, which was inadequate because it consisted of "a jumbled, two-sided, distorted, unorganized, incomplete, and non-indexed mess of documents bound by a rubber band." According to plaintiff, some documents appeared altered and other documents seemed to be missing. Dissatisfied, plaintiff filed a "FOIA/PA appeal via email" on September 15, 2010. In response, plaintiff was sent a decision letter on June 30, 2011, remanding plaintiff's case to the agency for further consideration. Plaintiff states this decision was non-responsive to plaintiff's request for records.

According to plaintiff, defendants' refusal to comply with his requests for records has prevented him from pursing his agency appeal remedies. He also alleges: "Defendants' actions are preventing Plaintiff from receiving proper compensation benefits under their programs."

For relief, plaintiff seeks:

1. Declarations that defendants violated the FOIA and Privacy Act.

2. An order directing defendants to provide plaintiff's records.

3. An order directing defendants to allow plaintiff to amend his case file.

4. Damages under 5 U.S.C. § 552a(g)(4)(A).

5. An order to expunge all inaccurate information from ...


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