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Coleman v. Donahoe

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

May 24, 2013

PATRICK R. DONAHOE, Postmaster General, Defendant.


SHARON L. GLEASON, District Judge.

Before the Court is defendant Patrick R. Donahoe's Second Motion for Summary Judgment at Docket 54. Plaintiff George M. Coleman, representing himself, opposed the motion at Docket 56. The defendant replied at Docket 57. For the reasons discussed below, the motion is GRANTED.


George Coleman, an African American male, was formerly employed by the United States Postal Service ("USPS"). Mr. Donahoe is the Postmaster General of the USPS and is named in this action in his official capacity.[1] Mr. Coleman filed the Complaint in this action on January 18, 2011, alleging several claims of employment discrimination. At Docket 25, the USPS moved for summary judgment on all claims asserted in the Complaint. After the parties presented their positions in briefing and at oral argument, the Court granted the USPS's motion with respect to all of the claims asserted in the Complaint with the exception of Mr. Coleman's failure to promote claim arising from his non-selection for a Retail Specialist position.[2] As to that claim, the USPS Equal Employment Opportunity Office had previously found that Mr. Coleman had not exhausted his remedies, so it had not considered that claim on the merits. The USPS had relied on that exhaustion determination in its first summary judgment motion. Because the factual record with regard to that claim had not been fully developed by either party, the Court denied summary judgment at that time on that claim.[3] At a status hearing on November 27, 2012, the Court granted the USPS leave to file a second summary judgment motion addressing the Retail Specialist claim on the merits. That second motion is now before the Court. Oral argument was not requested and was not necessary to the Court's determination of the motion.


The broader facts of this case are presented in the Court's order on the USPS's first motion for summary judgment.[4] This order focuses on those facts relevant to the Retail Specialist claim.

Mr. Coleman worked for the USPS from October 1978 until December 31, 2008.[5] While at the USPS, Mr. Coleman held several positions, including management positions.[6] In December 2007, as a result of an Equal Employment Opportunity complaint for sexual harassment that had been filed against him, Mr. Coleman was informed that his termination had been recommended.[7] Mr. Coleman filed a responsive EEO complaint and the dispute was subsequently settled in February 2008, with Mr. Coleman accepting demotion from a level EAS-21 to a level PS-05 rather than termination.[8]

In April 2008, Mr. Coleman applied for the position of Retail Specialist at a level EAS-16. The Retail Specialist position was open to all career USPS employees within the Alaska District.[9] In the job posting, the position's "functional purpose" was described as "Develops procedures for the implementation of national retail programs within a district; provides program oversight and coordinates program implementation with Postmasters and retail unit managers."[10] Nine categories of qualifications and requirements were listed, including:

3. Knowledge of retail operations and programs, including contract units, vending, and stamps on consignment.
7. Ability to communicate orally and in writing in order to coordinate activities with other functional areas and other government agencies; to provide technical advice to managers and postmasters; and to maintain contact with contractors, vendors, and the general public.
8. Ability to manage retail programs and research projects, including planning, organizing, and monitoring progress, to meet retail marketing objectives.
9. Knowledge of retail products and services, including Express Mail, passport applications, and Selective Service registration.[11]

Four other individuals also submitted applications.[12] Robin Rampmeyer and Darus Macy conducted the interviews for the position. Mr. Coleman's interview was on June 18, 2008; he received notice that he had not been selected for the position on July 16, 2008.[13] The position was awarded to a white male, R.B.[14]

Mr. Coleman alleges that the USPS's failure to promote Mr. Coleman to the Retail Specialist position constituted unlawful discrimination on the basis of race and retaliation.


I. ...

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