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Alfreda Lockwood v. Patrick Donahoe

May 4, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sharon L. Gleason United States District Judge


Before the court at docket 10 is defendant Patrick Donahoe's Motion for Summary Judgment. At docket 13, plaintiff Alfreda Lockwood opposes. At docket 16, the defendant replies.


The facts, presented in the light most favorable to the plaintiff for purposes of this summary judgment motion, are as follows: Ms. Lockwood is employed by the United States Postal Service ("Postal Service") in Anchorage, Alaska.*fn1 Mr. Donahoe is the Postmaster General of the United States Postal Service and is named in this action in his official capacity.

On July 31, 2009, Ms. Lockwood, an African-American female, complained to a manager, Kris Lyons, about a bumper sticker that had been placed on a trashcan in the workplace by David Champion, a white male custodian.*fn2 The bumper sticker said "When All Else Fails, Blame the White Male."*fn3 Mr. Lyons spoke with Mr. Champion about the sticker and it was removed.*fn4 On August 11, 2009, Ms. Lockwood discovered an identical sticker on the bumper of her vehicle, which she reported both to the police and to a temporary manager, George Sieveking.*fn5 For purposes of this motion, this court has assumed that Mr. Champion caused the sticker to be placed on Ms. Lockwood's vehicle.*fn6

Ms. Lockwood alleges several additional incidents between her and Mr. Champion in August and September of 2009: she asserts that Mr. Champion shouted, while looking at her menacingly, about having been reported to Mr. Lyons about the bumper sticker;*fn7 interrupted her work-related conversations with another postal employee by banging his fists on a table;*fn8 yelled "boo" at her five or six times in a row;*fn9 walked toward her while twirling a broom such that she feared for her safety;*fn10 and entered the break room while she was in it on multiple occasions, despite having been instructed by management not do so.*fn11

Ms. Lockwood and Mr. Champion had a history of disagreement prior to the events described.*fn12 Mr. Lyons had worked with Mr. Champion's manager to coordinate the two employees' break schedules in order to keep them separated.*fn13

On December 6, 2010, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Office of Federal Operations issued its Final Denial decision of Ms. Lockwood's claims.*fn14 Ms.

Lockwood initiated this action in March 2011.*fn15 Her Amended Complaint alleges that the defendant violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act*fn16 by discriminating against her on the basis of race and sex, makes substantive hostile work environment allegations, and seeks compensatory damages, injunctive relief, fees, and interest.*fn17 Ms. Lockwood's Amended Complaint also seeks damages for the intentional infliction of emotional distress.*fn18 The defendant filed this motion on January 18, 2012, seeking summary judgment as to all of Ms. Lockwood's claims.


I. Jurisdiction

This court has subject matter jurisdiction over this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1343.

II. Summary Judgment Standard

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a) directs a court to "grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." The burden of showing the absence of a genuine dispute of material fact lies with the moving party.*fn19 If the moving party meets this burden, the non-moving party must present specific factual evidence demonstrating the existence of a genuine issue of fact.*fn20 The non-moving party may not rely on mere allegations or denials.*fn21 She must demonstrate that enough evidence supports the alleged factual dispute to require a finder of fact to make a determination at trial between the parties' differing versions of the truth.*fn22

When considering a motion for summary judgment, a court must accept as true all evidence presented by the non-moving party, and draw "all justifiable inferences" in the non-moving party's favor.*fn23 To reach the level of a genuine dispute, the evidence must be such as "would allow a reasonable fact-finder to return a verdict for the non-moving party."*fn24 The non-moving party "must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts."*fn25 If the evidence ...

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