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White v. Potter

December 5, 2007

ALFORD L. WHITE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JOHN E. POTTER, POSTMASTER GENERAL, UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: John M. Facciola United States Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

I must now resolve the controversy that has arisen concerning the ability of the defendant to produce certain information that the plaintiff demanded.

A. Judge Kessler's Order

By an order dated February 7, 2006, Judge Kessler ordered the United States Postal Service ("USPS") to provide the plaintiff with (inter alia) documents relating to light-duty employees and limited duty employees at the Brentwood Mail Facility who were denied work or had their hours reduced during the year 2000.

B. The Controversy

The discovery disputes in this case pertain to the (1) circumstances under which the defendant produced a CD containing 430 pages of documents after a USPS representative had previously declared that information concerning light and limited duty employees had been destroyed because the Brentwood Postal facility was contaminated by Anthrax, and (2) whether the computer system used by the USPS could be used to find those employees who were denied work or had their hours reduced in 2000.

C. The CD and the Documents

The first dispute has now been resolved. In her declaration, Toni Grier, Manager, Payroll Accounting, USPS, explains how all documents were removed from the Brentwood Mail Facility because of the anthrax contamination. Subsequently, some documents were destroyed and some were misplaced. One box, containing documents pertaining to this case, was mislabeled as belonging to the Medical Unit. Once the error was discovered, Ms. Grier recovered the documents that should have been produced in this case and made them available to plaintiff through defendant's counsel.*fn1 Plaintiff accepts the representation contained in Ms. Grier's declaration*fn2 and there the matter can end.

D. The Computer System and the Information It Can Yield

As to the second dispute, I find that the following facts are true:

1. The USPS AQS system is not designed to permit the search of historical data. It only provides a "snapshot" of an employee's claim and compensation case with the Department of Labor on any given day.

2. This system allows a USPS District to obtain injury compensation information regarding employees within that specific District. It is incapable of retrieving information regarding employees of another District.

3. This system is updated on a daily basis and only the most current information is available.

4. There is no way in which the AQS system can produce the information ...


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