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International Union, United Government Security Officers of v. John Clark

July 19, 2012

INTERNATIONAL UNION, UNITED GOVERNMENT SECURITY OFFICERS OF AMERICA, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
JOHN CLARK, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS DIRECTOR OF THE ) UNITED STATES MARSHALS SERVICE, ET AL., DEFENDANT.



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

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Plaintiffs in this case are five individual Court Security Officers ("CSOs") who were medically disqualified and terminated.*fn1

They allege that the United States Marshals Service ("USMS") violated their constitutional rights in causing their terminations. Defendant is John Clark, in his official capacity as Director of the USMS.*fn2 This matter is now before the Court on the remaining parties' Cross-Motions for Summary Judgment [Dkt. Nos. 349 & 358].

Upon consideration of the Motions, Oppositions, Replies, and the entire record herein, and for the reasons set forth below, Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment on Plaintiffs' Due Process Claims is granted and Plaintiffs' Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment is denied.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Factual Background*fn3

This case has a long and complex factual background, which is set out in full in the Court's 2010 decision in Int'l Union, United Gov't Sec. Officers of Am. v. Clark ("Int'l Union"), 706 F. Supp. 2d 59 (D.D.C. 2010). The following is a brief summary of the facts directly relevant to the due process claim of the five remaining Plaintiffs now before the Court.

To "provide for the security of" federal courthouses, 28 U.S.C. § 556(A), the USMS contracts with private security companies. Int'l Union, 706 F. Supp. 2d at 61. The private security companies then enter into collective bargaining agreements ("CBAs") with the Union which the CSOs are members of. The CBAs include language governing the conditions for suspension and termination, among other subjects. Notably, the CBAs contain provisions prohibiting, except in specified circumstances, the suspension or dismissal of an employee without just cause ("just-cause provision").*fn4 See id.

The CBAs also require CSOs to have a physical examination during the initial clearance for employment, conducted by the private security company's doctors who are approved by the United States Public Health Service's ("USPHS") Office of Federal Law Enforcement Medical Program. USPHS doctors review the medical records and either certify the CSO as medically qualified for duty or request more information. If more information is requested, a CSO is given 30 days to respond to the prescribed list of additional medical examinations or medical information on the USPHS doctors' review form. If USPHS doctors determine that a CSO is not medically qualified for duty after the CSO has had an opportunity to respond, the USMS sends a medical disqualification letter to the private security company requesting that the CSO be removed from the private security company's contract with the USMS and that an application for a replacement be submitted within 14 days.

In 1997, the Judicial Conference of the United States ("Judicial Conference") expressed concern that CSOs were not physically capable of responding to security threats. Int'l Union, 706 F. Supp. 2d at 62. In 1998, the Judicial Conference began to inquire into the medical standards used to evaluate CSOs. In 1999, the Judicial Conference ordered the USPHS to conduct a job function analysis of CSOs. In 2000, the USPHS presented new medical standards to the Judicial Conference which it adopted. In 2002, the USMS modified its contracts with the private security companies and required full compliance by all CSOs with the new medical standards and related procedures.

Under the new procedures, the private security companies must submit annual medical certificates for CSOs. As with the initial medical determination, if USPHS doctors determine during the annual medical review that a CSO is not medically qualified for duty, and after the CSO has had an opportunity to respond, the USMS sends a medical disqualification letter to the private security company requesting that the CSO be removed from the private security company's contract with the USMS and that an application for a replacement be submitted within 14 days.

The five remaining Plaintiffs now before the Court were all medically disqualified and terminated under these annual medical review procedures.

B. Procedural Background

On September 9, 2002, the Int'l Union plaintiffs filed their Amended Complaint alleging that their medical disqualifications and terminations violated the Fifth Amendment's due process clause, as well as certain statutes. Int'l Union, United Gov't Sec. Officers of Am. v. Clark, No. 02-1484, (D.D.C. Sept. 9, 2002) [Dkt. No. 2].

On December 2, 2002, Defendant filed his Motion to Dismiss the Int'l Union plaintiffs' due process claim [Dkt. No. 7]. On August, 28, 2003, the Court denied Defendant's Motion to Dismiss the Int'l Union plaintiffs' due process claim, finding that the Int'l Union plaintiffs had stated a valid due process claim based on the just-cause clauses in the CBAs [Dkt. Nos. 24 & 25].

On January 4, 2005, Plaintiffs James Dolnack, Herman Edwards, Gary Erickson, Calvert Harvey, Wayne Mize, and Byron Neal filed their Amended Complaint alleging that their medical disqualifications and terminations violated the Fifth Amendment's due process clause, as well as certain statutes. Byron Neal v. Benigno G. Reyna ("Neal"), No. 05-0007 (D.D.C. Jan. 4, 2005) [Neal Dkt. No. 3].

On October 12, 2006, Defendant filed his Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs' due process claim in the Amended Complaint [Neal Dkt. No. 21]. On April 10, 2010, the Court denied Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs' due process claim. Int'l Union, United Gov't Sec. Officers of Am. v. Clark, 704 F. Supp. 2d 54, 60-63 (D.D.C. 2010).

On February 6, 2007, Plaintiffs' case was consolidated with the Int'l Union case [Neal Dkt. No. 23; Dkt. No. 205].

On January 10, 2008, Defendant filed his Motion for Summary Judgment on the Int'l Union plaintiffs' due process claim [Dkt. No. 263]. On February 19, 2008, the Int'l Union plaintiffs filed their Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment [Dkt. Nos. 268 & 270]. Briefing was completed on March 28, 2008 [Dkt. Nos. 272-274]. On April 15, 2010, the Court granted Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment on the Int'l Union plaintiffs' due process claim [Dkt. No. 291]. The Court held that, while the Int'l Union plaintiffs had a property interest in ...


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