United States District Court, C.D. California
JEFFREY D. CHARTIER
Jeffrey Chartier, Pro Se, Attorneys Present for Plaintiffs.
Garrett Coyle, AUSA, Attorneys Present for Defendants.
CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL
CHRISTINA A. SNYDER, District Judge.
Proceedings: DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS (Dkt. 7, filed May 8, 2015)
On January 22, 2015, pro se plaintiff Jeffrey Chartier filed the instant action against defendant Anthony Foxx, in his capacity as Secretary of the United States Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration ("FAA") (referred to herein as "defendant" or "the government"). Dkt. 1. Although the contours of plaintiff's claims are unclear from the complaint itself, in his opposition to the instant motion, plaintiff clarifies that he alleges the following: (1) discriminatory accrual of retirement benefits; (2) discriminatory promotion eligibility requirements; and (3) discriminatory reassignment of plaintiff's duties. Id.; see also Opp'n Mot. Dismiss at 5. Plaintiff appears to bring his claims pursuant to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 701 et seq.
On May 8, 2015, defendant filed a motion to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). Dkt. 7. Plaintiff opposed the motion, and requested a continuance, on May 22, 2015. Dkt. 8. Defendant replied on June 3, 2015. Dkt. 10. The Court held a hearing on June 8, 2015. Having carefully considered the parties' arguments, the Court finds and concludes as follows.
Plaintiff is a former air traffic controller at the Los Angeles Air Route Traffic Control Center ("Los Angeles ARTCC"). See Compl. ¶¶ 1-5. On November 7, 1997, plaintiff suffered a hypertensive stroke and was medically disqualified for the air traffic controller position. Id. ¶ 5. Plaintiff was subsequently reassigned to a staff support specialist position at the same salary on March 29, 1998, Toscano Decl. Ex. 2 (March 29, 1998 personnel action notification), and plaintiff's retirement status was altered to reflect this change in his position, Compl. ¶ 6. Plaintiff alleges that he was not told of the reassignment. Id.
In April 1998, plaintiff filed a formal Equal Employment Opportunity ("EEO") complaint, seeking a reasonable accommodation (the "1998 Complaint"). Compl. ¶¶ 7-8; Toscano Decl. Ex. 3 (Apr. 14, 1998 EEO complaint). Also in April 1998, plaintiff filed for disability retirement with both the United States Office of Workers' Compensation Programs and the Office of Personnel Management. Compl. ¶ 7. Before his EEO complaint was resolved, plaintiff received disability retirement and left the FAA in June 1998. Compl. ¶ 8; Toscano Decl. Ex. 4 (June 20, 1998 personnel action notification).
In 2002, plaintiff, represented by counsel, settled his 1998 Complaint with the FAA (the "2002 Settlement Agreement") by agreeing to be rehired as a staff support specialist, a position not requiring medical qualification. See Compl. ¶ 8; Toscano Decl. Ex. 5. Seven years later, plaintiff consulted an EEO counselor, claiming that he was fraudulently induced to settle his 1998 Complaint because he was never given the 1998 personnel action notification form indicating his reassignment to a staff support specialist position. Compl. ¶¶ 7-8; Toscano Decl. Ex. 9 (July 15, 2009 FAA EEO counselor's report). Plaintiff then filed a formal EEO complaint of discrimination on July 10, 2009. Toscano Decl. Ex. 10 (July 10, 2009 formal EEO complaint). The FAA issued its final agency decision dismissing plaintiff's EEO complaint on April 1, 2011. Toscano Decl. Ex. 12 (Apr. 1, 2011 FAA final agency decision).
Two years later, plaintiff filed a formal EEO complaint of discrimination on August 14, 2013 (the "2013 Complaint"). Compl. ¶ 10; Toscano Decl. Ex. 13 (Sept. 27, 2013 FAA EEO counselor's report) & 14 (September 24, 2013 formal EEO complaint). The 2013 Complaint challenged allegedly discriminatory practices regarding plaintiff's (1) retirement accrual and (2) promotional eligibility. Id.
Plaintiff's retirement accrual claim alleged that the FAA discriminated against him on the basis of his disability because he earned retirement benefits at the lower rate provided to staff support specialists (1.0% of annual salary-so-called "bad time"), whereas Lisa McCurdy, a temporary staff support specialist, continued to earn retirement benefits at the higher rate provided to air traffic controllers (1.7% of annual salary-so-called "good time"). See Compl. ¶ 9; Toscano Decl. Ex. 14. Plaintiff's promotional eligibility claim alleged that the FAA discriminated against him on the basis of his disability because his medication rendered him ineligible for the one year of operational duties normally required for promotion to supervisor-even though another FAA staff support specialist was allegedly promoted to a supervisor position without the requisite one year of operational duties. Compl. ¶ 10; Toscano Decl. Ex. 14.
The FAA accepted both of the claims in the 2013 Complaint for investigation. Toscano Decl. Ex. 15 (October 30, 2013 FAA notice of acceptance); see Compl. ¶ 11. After receiving the FAA's report of investigation, plaintiff requested a hearing from an administrative judge. Toscano Decl. Ex. 16. (Mar. 4, 2014 request for hearing from administrative judge); see Compl. ¶ 11. His complaint is currently before an administrative judge awaiting a hearing date. Compl. ¶ 11 ("The cases have stalled for nearly a year."); Toscano Decl. Ex. 17 (March 17, 2014 EEO acknowledgment and order).
In November 2014, plaintiff was transferred from the airspace and procedures department at Los Angeles ARTCC to the quality control department due to his "erratic schedule." Compl. ¶ 11. Plaintiff subsequently filed another formal EEO discrimination complaint on December 19, 2014 (the "2014 Complaint"), alleging that the change in his assigned duties was discriminatory. Compl. ¶ 11; Toscano Decl. Ex. 18 (Dec. 19, 2014 formal EEO complaint). The FAA accepted the 2014 Complaint for ...