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Garity v. Donahoe

United States District Court, D. Nevada

March 31, 2019

ROSEMARY GARITY, Plaintiff,
v.
PATRICK DONAHOE; MEGAN J. BRENNAN, Defendants.

          ORDER FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW AFTER COURT TRIAL

          Richard F. Boulware, II United States District Judge.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This case is a race and disability discrimination action. Plaintiff Rosemary Garity worked at the Pahrump Post Office and alleges adverse employment action from her supervisors on the basis of (a) her Caucasian race and (b) her medically documented disabilities, which require minimal reasonable accommodation. The Court held a six-day bench trial in this case from January 16, 2018 through February 8, 2018.

         Based on the following findings of fact and conclusions of law, the Court rules in favor of Defendant as to Plaintiff's race discrimination action pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Court rules in favor of Plaintiff as to Plaintiff's disability discrimination action pursuant to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

         II. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff filed the original Complaint against the Postmaster General of the United States Postal Service[1] on November 9, 2011. ECF No. 1. Defendant filed a Motion to Dismiss on January 18, 2012. ECF No. 7. Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint on February 6, 2012. ECF No. 12. Defendant filed a Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint on March 8, 2012. ECF No. 20.

         The Court granted the Motion to Dismiss, and Plaintiff filed a Second Amended Complaint on June 11, 2012. ECF Nos. 28, 30. Defendant filed a Motion to Dismiss the Second Amended Complaint on June 25, 2012. ECF No. 31.

         The Court granted in part and denied in part the Motion to Dismiss. ECF No. 40. Plaintiff filed the Third Amended Complaint on February 28, 2013, which is the operative complaint in this matter. ECF No. 43. Plaintiff alleged race discrimination, disability discrimination, retaliation, hostile work environment, and failure to accommodate in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Defendant filed an Answer on March 21, 2013 and an Amended Answer on April 11, 2013. ECF Nos. 45, 47.

         The Court entered a scheduling order on April 29, 2013. ECF No. 50. Discovery concluded on October 6, 2014. ECF Nos. 182, 196.

         On February 23, 2015, Defendant filed a Motion to Dismiss and Motion for Summary Judgment. ECF Nos. 259, 260. The Court denied the Motion to Dismiss on April 16, 2015. ECF No. 279.

         On March 30, 2016, the Court granted in part and denied in part the Motion for Summary Judgment. ECF No. 315. The Court denied the Motion as to Plaintiff's race discrimination and disability discrimination claims, and granted the Motion as to Plaintiff's retaliation, hostile work environment, and failure to accommodate claim. ECF No. 316.

         Bench trial that took place on January 16, 17, 18, 19, 24 and February 8, 2018. ECF Nos. 429, 432, 433, 434, 439, 452. On January 25, 2018, Defendant filed the instant Motion for Judgment on Partial Findings. ECF No. 436.

         On April 26, 2018, Plaintiff filed the instant Motion to Remedy Trial Deficiencies. ECF No. 470. On July 10, 2018, Plaintiff filed the instant Motion for Ruling on Outstanding Motions. ECF No. 473. On January 9, 2019, Plaintiff filed the instant Motion for Status Conference on Trial Conclusion.

         III. JURISDICTION AND VENUE

         This Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331, as the action arises under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e et seq. and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. §§ 701 et seq.

         Venue is proper because the incident from which this dispute arose occurred within Nye County, Nevada.

         IV. FINDINGS OF FACT

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 52(a)(1) requires the Court to “find the facts specially and state its conclusions of law separately.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 52(a)(1). The court must make findings sufficient to indicate the factual basis for its ultimate conclusion. Kelley v. Everglades Drainage District, 319 U.S. 415, 422 (1943). The findings must be “explicit enough to give the appellate court a clear understanding of the basis of the trial court's decision, and to enable it to determine the ground on which the trial court reached its decision.” United States v. Alpine Land & Reservoir Co., 697 F.2d 851, 856 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 464 U.S. 863 (1983) (citations omitted).

         Accordingly, following the bench trial and having reviewed all of the evidence and observed all of the witnesses, the Court makes the following findings of fact in this case.

         A. Background Factual Findings

         1. Plaintiff Rosemary Garity was hired by the United States Postal Service (“USPS”) on approximately November 3, 2001. Over the course of her first five years with USPS, Plaintiff worked at various locations in Las Vegas, Nevada.

         2. On December 8, 2008, Plaintiff transferred stations and began working for the USPS at the Pahrump, Nevada post office as a part-time flexible clerk. Plaintiff was employed at the Pahrump, Nevada post office until approximately December 1, 2011, at which time Plaintiff no longer worked at the USPS.

         3. From 2008 though August 26, 2011, Plaintiff was a part-time flexible clerk. Duties of a part-time flexible clerk included sales and customer services at a retail window, distributing primary and one or more secondary schemes of incoming and outgoing mail, performing collections of mail from post office mailboxes located in the community, and performing bulk mail entry unit work. A part-time flexible clerk was not guaranteed a certain number of hours.

         4. Effective August 27, 2011, the Pahrump Post Office no longer provided a part-time flexible clerk position, and Plaintiff and the other two part-time flexible clerks became non-traditional full-time clerks. A non-traditional full-time clerk performed the same functions as a part-time flexible clerk. However, a non-traditional full-time clerk was guaranteed at least approximately 34.5 hours per week if work was available within the employee's work restrictions.

         5. Plaintiff is Caucasian.

         6. Maria Albertini and Anne Lindsey each held the same position as Plaintiff throughout the relevant time period (part time flexible law clerk prior to August 27, 2011 and non-traditional full-time clerk on and after August 27, 2011). Albertini is Hispanic. Lindsey is Caucasian.

         7. Elias Armendariz was Plaintiff's immediate supervisor throughout 2011. He is Hispanic.

         8. Debra Blankenship was the Postmaster, Armendariz's supervisor, and Plaintiff's indirect supervisor throughout 2011. She is Caucasian.

         B. Plaintiff's Job Duties & Performance

          9. Part-time flexible clerks were responsible for overflow work that exceeded the capacity of the full-time clerks and for substituting in for full-time clerks during breaks or absences. Part-time flexible clerks were trained on all tasks assigned to full-time clerks but were assigned to tasks on a daily as-needed basis.

         10. Pursuant to office policy, work duties could not be taken away from full-time clerks and given to part-time clerks.

         11. Plaintiff was qualified for her job as a part-time flexible clerk and was performing satisfactorily. During the relevant time period, no supervisor ever communicated to Plaintiff that her work was unsatisfactory in any way.

         C. Plaintiff's Medical Restrictions

         12. Plaintiff was disabled throughout the relevant time period. Plaintiff had a major depressive disorder, a panic disorder, a generalized anxiety disorder, and an adjustment disorder with anxiety and depression. Plaintiff also had heel spurs, heart valve regurgitation, and labial cancer. Plaintiff experienced frequent chest pain and heel pain.

         13. Plaintiff was medically restricted to work no more than five days per work week.

         14. Plaintiff was medically restricted to stand no more than four hours per day and walk no more than four hours per day. Plaintiff was medically restricted to be on her feet no more than one hour continuously with fifteen-minute breaks.

         15. Plaintiff was medically restricted to driving no more than two hours in a day, up to thirty minutes continuously.

         16. Plaintiff was medically restricted to lift no more than twenty pounds.

         17. Plaintiff was not medically restricted from performing any clerk duties except for collections, which required driving beyond Plaintiff's physical capacity.

         18. Collections was not an essential function of Plaintiff's position.

         19. Plaintiff was qualified for, and physically capable of performing, every other duty available at the Pahrump Post Office with minimal accommodations.

         20. Plaintiff consistently was able to perform all of the essential functions of her job with minimal accommodation at all times, including throughout 2011.

         D. ...


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