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Allen v. Mecham

September 22, 2006

GARCIA ALLEN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
LEONIDAS RALPH MECHAM, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gladys Kessler U.S. District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Plaintiff Garcia Allen brings this case against Defendant Leonidas Ralph Mecham in Defendant's official capacity as Director of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts ("AOUSC" or "the Office").*fn1 AOUSC resolves employee discrimination complaints through the Office's Fair Employment Practices System ("FEPS"). Plaintiff maintains that FEPS's hearing officer selection provisions deprive him of property, without due process of law, in violation of the Fifth Amendment.

This matter is before the Court on Defendant's Motion to Dismiss. Defendant argues that Plaintiff's single count Complaint states a claim upon which this Court cannot grant relief.

Upon consideration of the Complaint, Motion to Dismiss, Opposition, Reply, Sur-reply, and the Motions Hearing, for the reasons stated below, Defendant's Motion is granted.

I. BACKGROUND

A. AOUSC's Procedures for Handling Discrimination Complaints

On October 30, 1990, Congress passed the AOUSC Personnel Act of 1990, Pub. L. No. 101-474, 104 Stat. 1097 (1990) ("the Personnel Act" or "the Act"). Section 3.a.9 of the Personnel Act requires the Director of AOUSC ("the Director") to establish a personnel system prohibiting discrimination "on the basis of race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, political affiliation, marital status, or handicapping condition." Section 3.a.9 also requires the Director to "promulgate regulations providing procedures for resolving complaints of discrimination by employees and applicants for employment." Section 3.g of the Act further provides,

[n]othing in this Act shall be construed to abolish or diminish any right or remedy granted to employees of or applicants for employment in the Administrative Office by any law prohibiting discrimination in Federal employment on the basis of race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, political affiliation, marital status, or handicapping condition, except that, with respect to any such employees and applicants for employment, any authority granted under any such law to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Office of Personnel Management, the Merit Systems Protection Board, or any other agency in the executive branch, shall be exercised by the Administrative Office.

Pursuant to sections 3.a.9 and 3.g, the Director established FEPS.

The AOUSC Human Resources Manual, Chapter 1, Subchapter C, sets forth policies and procedures for resolving discrimination complaints filed by AOUSC employees. According to the manual, employees must first attempt to resolve their complaints through informal counseling. AOUSC Human Resources Manual, Chapter 1, Subchapter C, § F.4. During the counseling stage of the complaint process, a counselor advises the complainant of FEPS procedures and makes an initial attempt to resolve the dispute. Id. If the dispute is not resolved through counseling, the complainant must then participate in mediation. Id. at § F.5. An AOUSC Equal Employment Opportunity officer ("EEO officer") selects the mediator through the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.

If mediation fails, the complainant may file a formal discrimination complaint. Id. at § F.6. At that stage, the formal discrimination complaints are heard and decided by hearing officers who are unilaterally selected by the AOUSC's EEO officers. Id. at § F.8. Selections are made from a roster of qualified individuals maintained by the General Services Administration. Some of the individuals on the roster are retired administrative law judges. Employees may object to the Office's choice of hearing officer by petitioning the same EEO officer who made the selection, but have no other input into that selection. Id. at § F.3.

Hearing officers hold hearings on the merits of employees' complaints and thereafter issue factual findings, conclusions of law, and recommended decisions. Id. at § F.16. The Director subsequently reviews the hearing officers' recommendations and determines whether to adopt or modify them. Id. at § F.17. The AOUSC Human Resources Manual states that the Director's decision is exempt from judicial review. Id. at. § F.17.c.

B. Plaintiff's Formal Administrative Complaint

On June 13, 2003, Plaintiff filed a formal discrimination complaint with AOUSC's EEO Office. His formal complaint alleged that AOUSC prevented him from "having a fair and meaningful opportunity to compete for the position of Chief of the Project Coordination Office." Compl. at ΒΆ 19. Plaintiff, an African-American male, alleged that AOUSC discriminated against him during the promotional process because of his race and gender. Id. Plaintiff's formal complaint also ...


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