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CRANE v. LEWIS

June 29, 1982

Robert CRANE, Plaintiff,
v.
Andrew L. LEWIS, Secretary of Transportation, et al., Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: PENN

 JOHN GARRETT PENN, District Judge.

 Plaintiff, a retired Air Traffic Control Specialist (Control Specialist) with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), filed this action for back pay, promotion adjustments and placement as an Air Information Specialist (Information Specialist). He contends that the FAA's denial of his application for reinstatement as an Information Specialist was discrimination on the basis of physical handicap in violation of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, 29 U.S.C. § 794a(a), and was arbitrary and capricious in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. § 551 et seq.

 The case is currently before the Court on cross-motions for summary judgment. There are no outstanding issues of material fact in the case.

 I

 In 1976 plaintiff received a disability retirement from his employment with the FAA as a Control Specialist because he was unable to meet the hearing requirements for that position.

 Prior to his retirement plaintiff had applied for an Information Specialist position, which consists of the collection and verification of aeronautical data. Unlike Control Specialists, who must communicate with pilots in-flight and handle airborne emergencies, Information Specialists are not required to pass any special hearing tests. They must merely meet those standards generally imposed on federal employees, including the "ability to hear the conversational voice, with or without a hearing aid."

 Plaintiff's name was inadvertently omitted from the list of promotion candidates so he was not considered for the next available Information Specialist position. Ordinarily, an employee not given proper consideration for promotion would be given priority as to the next available position. Since plaintiff already had been retired at the time the error was discovered, no corrective action was taken.

 On February 13, 1978 Beauford A. Bancroft, Chief of the National Flight Data Center, refused to select plaintiff for an available Information Specialist position. He found plaintiff unqualified for the following reasons:

 
1. We have been advised by the Northwest Regional Office that Mr. Crane was given a medical disability retirement due to a loss of hearing, which affected his performance as a Flight Service Station Specialist.
 
2. The working environment in the NOTAM Office is almost identical to that of the Flight Service Station, in that there are four teletype positions of operation. Each position has either one or two high-speed printers, in addition to the CRT transmitting device. The office also has two additional high-speed printers that contribute to the noise level.
 
3. Specialists in the NOTAM Office are required to use telephones extensively.
 
4. The work is done on rotating shifts, where Mr. Crane could be on duty alone with no assistance in ...

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