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Bowen v. Post Master General

United States District Court, E.D. California

March 26, 2014

STACEY L. BOWEN, Plaintiff,
v.
POST MASTER GENERAL, et al., Defendants.

ORDER THAT PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT BE DISMISSED WITH 30 DAYS LEAVE TO AMEND (Docket No. 1)

SHEILA K. OBERTO, Magistrate Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

On January 15, 2014, Plaintiff Stacy L. Bowen ("Bowen") filed a complaint under the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") against the Post Master General, the U.S. Postal Service Post Master, Eva Foster, Lance Lopper, and Mel Gonzalez (collectively, "Defendants"). For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's complaint is DISMISSED with 30 days leave to amend.

II. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff alleges she was "cleared to return to [her] job as a letter carrier with the U.S. postal service" on June 15. (Doc. 1, p. 1.) Plaintiff does not state when or why she was away from her job; she alleges only that she returned on June 15. Further, Plaintiff does not allege the year she returned to her job, but it appears to be June 2013. Upon her return to work, she was apparently assigned to an "all walking route, " which she "cannot do, " but she does not explain why she cannot perform an all walking route. Because she was unable to perform the route, her "doctor took her off work." She told someone she would apply for a different route, but learned she would not be given her "seniority date of June 1994." Plaintiff contacted Lance Looper and Mel Gonzalez and told them "of this major error, " but no action was taken. Plaintiff does not allege what positions Lance Looper or Mel Gonzalez held with the U.S. Postal Service ("USPS"); Plaintiff identifies Lance Looper as a "Bid coordinator, " but provides no explanation what this position entails or why notification to a "Bid coordinator" would be given by an employee regarding the inability to perform an assigned work route.

Plaintiff alleges she then filed "an MSPB case, " which was withdrawn at her request when the USPS restored her original seniority date. She also filed an "EEO-4F-956-0130-14, " seeking back pay and that action be taken against "Senior Personnel who should have known the Postal Manual ELM-35 governing the return of injured workers and or Workman's Comp employees." (Doc. 1, p. 2.) Plaintiff's "EEO case, " however, was dismissed as a "mixed case, " but she maintains it was not a "mixed case." Plaintiff states she withdrew the "MSPB case[] because there was no settlement." Plaintiff alleges she informed "postal counsel" that she intended to pursue the EEO complaint. In this suit, she demands $57, 073, which includes four months of back pay as well as "damages due to late bills, fees and mental anguish." (Doc. 1, p. 2.) Plaintiff also requests the following:

I request that all supervisors know the rules in the OPM regulations as well as Postal Manuel ELM-35 governing the restoration of injured worker[.] I also request that my Postal Retirement be fully restored, and my uniform allowance be restored. I also request the court to appoint an attorney for me, and commencement of this without the payment of fees, cost or security in such circumstances as the court deems just; this action is within the 90 day period as prescribed.

Doc. 1, p. 2.)

III. DISCUSSION

A. Screening Standard

In cases where the plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis, the Court is required to screen each case, and shall dismiss the case at any time if the Court determines that the allegation of poverty is untrue, or the action or appeal is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. ยง 1915(e)(2). If the Court determines that the complaint fails to state a claim, leave to amend may be granted to the extent that the deficiencies of the complaint can be cured by amendment. Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1130 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc).

In determining whether a complaint fails to state a claim, the Court uses the same pleading standard used under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a). Under Rule 8(a), a complaint must contain a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). "[T]he pleading standard Rule 8 announces does not require detailed factual allegations, ' but it demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). "[A] complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557). "[A] complaint [that] pleads facts that are merely consistent with' a defendant's liability... stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.'" Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557). Further, although a court must accept as true all factual allegations contained in a complaint, a court need not accept a plaintiff's legal conclusions as true. Id. "Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).

B. Plaintiffs Discrimination Claims

Construing Plaintiff's complaint liberally, she is attempting to state a claim pursuant to the ADA or Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act against USPS as well as three individuals who apparently work at USPS.[1] She alleges discrimination because of a disability. (Doc. 1, p. 1 ("Jurisdiction of this court in invoiced to the Americans with disabilities act. [sic] Section 501, which prohibits a Federal Employer from discriminating against qualified individuals ...


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