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Kendrick v. Potter

July 16, 2007

HARVEY KENDRICK PLAINTIFF,
v.
JOHN E. POTTER, POSTMASTER GENERAL U.S. POSTAL SERVICE DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gladys Kessler United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Plaintiff Harvey Kendrick brings this action pro se against Defendant John E. Potter, Postmaster General of the United States Postal Service ("USPS"), alleging discrimination and retaliation in employment. This matter is before the Court on Defendant's Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, to Transfer [Dkt. No. 11]. Upon consideration of the Motion, Opposition, Reply, and the entire record herein, and for the reasons stated below, Defendant's Motion is granted.

I. BACKGROUND*fn1

Plaintiff is an African-American male who was employed as a Laborer/Custodian by USPS at the Calvert Delivery and Distribution Center ("Calvert DDC") in Hyattsville, Maryland from February 2004 to March 2005.*fn2 In January 2004, he was diagnosed with bilateral Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Cervical Radiculopathy, tendonitis, and arthritis. Plaintiff's manager at the Calvert DDC became aware of Plaintiff's disabilities and limitations when Plaintiff began receiving worker's compensation in February 2004.

Plaintiff alleges that he returned to work at the Calvert DDC in April 2004 but was not given less strenuous duty, as his disabilities required. He applied for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act in November 2004, and had received no response as of the time of he filed this Complaint on January 23, 2006.

At the end of November 2004, Plaintiff's doctor advised Plaintiff to discontinue working in his position because his condition had worsened. Plaintiff informed his supervisor of his inability to work and submitted to him medical documentation of his disabilities and need for leave. While out from work, Plaintiff received a Notice of Proposed Removal dated February 10, 2005, which stated that USPS was proposing Plaintiff's removal because he had not provided appropriate documentation for his absence. Plaintiff provided documentation later in February 2005 but was told by his manager that he had provided it too late. USPS terminated Plaintiff's employment on March 11, 2005 for being absent without leave.

Plaintiff alleges that as a result of the foregoing events, he was discriminated and retaliated against during his employment in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e et seq., the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 ("Rehabilitation Act"), 29 U.S.C. §§ 705 et seq.; Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA"), 29 U.S.C. §§ 2601 et seq.; and regulations promulgated thereunder, 29 C.F.R. §§ 825.100 et seq. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that USPS failed to reasonably accommodate for his disability, terminated him due to his actual disability, denied him leave to which he was qualified under FMLA, and failed to provide him job security as required by the FMLA. Plaintiff further alleges that USPS retaliated against him for exercising his rights and engaging in protected activity and that USPS discriminated against him on the basis of his race. He alleges proper venue based on the location of USPS's headquarters in the District of Columbia, and because his "personnel records are maintained at the Postal Service's Brentwood facility in Washington, D.C." Compl. ¶ 8.

Defendant has filed a Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, to Transfer on the ground that venue is not proper in the District of Columbia. He contends that the District of Columbia has no connection to the events alleged in the Complaint, all of which occurred in the District of Maryland.

II. Venue Is Not Proper in the District of Columbia for Plaintiff's Title VII and Rehabilitation Act Claims

Venue for Title VII actions is limited by the 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f)(3) venue provision, which states that:

an action may be brought [1] in any judicial district in the State in which the unlawful employment practice is alleged to have been committed, [2] in the judicial district in which the employment records relevant to such practice are maintained and administered, or [3] in the judicial district in which the aggrieved person would have worked but for the alleged unlawful employment practice, but [4] if the respondent is not found within any such district, such an action may be brought within the judicial district in which the respondent has his principal office.

42 U.S.C.S. § 2000e-5(f)(3) (2007) ("§ 2000e-5(f)(3)"). See Stebbins v. State Farm Mutual Auto. Ins. Co., 413 F.2d 1100, 1102 (D.C. Cir. 1969); Ridgley v. Chao, No. 05-1033, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13021, at *4 (D.D.C. March 13, 2006). Venue for actions under the Rehabilitation Act are also governed by 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f)(3). Robinson v. Potter, No. 04-0890, 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9491, at *6 (D.D.C. May 2, 2005).

Defendant argues that the case should be dismissed or, alternatively, transferred to the District of Maryland because venue is improper in the District of Columbia. He argues that all of the allegedly unlawful employment practices in Plaintiff's Complaint occurred in Maryland, and that the relevant employment records were maintained and administered in Hyattsville, Maryland. Defendant further argues that the location of USPS's principal office determines venue only if the action cannot be brought under any of the other bases for venue listed in § 2000e-5(f)(3).

Plaintiff asserts in his Opposition that the District of Columbia is the proper venue for this case because his records are located at the Office of Personnel Management ("OPM") in Washington, D.C.*fn3 He does not dispute, nor can he dispute, Defendant's arguments that none ...


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