United States District Court, D. New Jersey
LUIS ONGAY ATTORNEY FOR PLAINTIFF MARGIE FLORES JONES.
J. GIBBONS ATTORNEY FOR DEFENDANT MEGAN J. BRENNAN,
POSTMASTER GENERAL, U.S. POSTAL SERVICE.
L. HILLMAN, U.S.D.J.
case concerns allegations of employment discrimination on the
basis of age, sex, race, and national origin. Presently
before the Court is Defendant Megan Brennan's Motion for
Summary Judgment and Plaintiff's Motion to Amend her
reasons expressed below, the Court will grant Defendant's
Motion for Summary Judgment and deny Plaintiff's Motion
Court takes its facts from the parties' statements of
material facts. The Court will note relevant disputes.
Margie Flores-Jones was a Level 20 Postmaster at the
Glassboro, New Jersey Post Office in 2008 when she applied
for a Level 22 Postmaster position at the Vineland, New
Jersey Post Office. Plaintiff is a Puerto Rican woman who was
56 years old at the time of her application. Up to that
point, Plaintiff had a 38-year career with the Postal
Service. During that time, she had served as postmaster of
Maple Shade, New Jersey; Glassboro; Wilmington, Delaware and
Vineland (serving there for approximately nine years).
Although the Court will not list them, the Court notes
Plaintiff received numerous awards for her work and has had
an admirable career of public service to the Postal Service.
was not the only applicant. She was one of three, which
included Daniel Herzog (white, male, and 52 years old at the
time of application) and Raymond Goss. Both of the other
applicants also had long, successful careers with the Postal
Service, with Herzog serving for 32 years at the time and
Goss for 23 years. All three individuals were interviewed by
Post Office Operations Manager, Denise Mason ("POOM
Mason"), and District Manager, Joanna Korker ("DM
Korker"). The interviews took place on September 10 and
Mason selected Herzog for the position and DM Korker
concurred in the selection. POOM Mason contemporaneously
drafted a memorandum that explained her reasoning for the
selection of Herzog and generally summarized the
qualifications of each applicant, their performance in the
interviews, and the reasons for her selection (the
"Selection Memo"). The Selection Memo stated the
following concerning Plaintiff:
Margie Flores Jones has been with the postal service for 38
years. She is the Postmaster of Glassboro N.J. EAS-20. Margie
holds a master's degree from Marymount University and she
stated in her interview that she is currently working on her
Doctorate Degree. Margie was well spoken during the interview
however she could not answer questions related to EXFC
grouping reports, the district's current performance in
EXFC and last mile failures. Margie could not answer
questions related to the assumptions that go into the
calculation nor could she answer how dps factors into the
cdpom calculation. When asked how Vineland was doing in cdpom
Margie did not know and began to fumble through her papers.
Margie was previously the Postmaster of Vineland until she
left that position in August 2006. When Margie left Vineland
she was 3.2% over plan and 2.0% over sply ytd in function 2.
She was .5% over plan and .7% to sply ytd in function 4. She
ended the year 1.1 % over plan and 5.2% over sply in salaries
and benefits. When she arrived in Glassboro the office was
3.3% to plan and -.7% to sply ytd in function 2. Function 4
was .7% to plan and -3.2% to sply ytd. Currently in Glassboro
Margie is 2.5% over plan and -.5% to sply ytd in function 2.
She is .9% over plan and -3.8% to sply ytd in function 4[.]
When Margie arrived the TOE in Glassboro was -1.8% to plan
and a cell 13 on the NPA. Currently the office is .6% over
plan and a cell 3 NPA. This has resulted in the overall score
for the office to decrease from 8.40 to 3.80. Margie provided
an incorrect assessment of the overall VOE score in Vineland
she stated that the office was currently at 56.3 ytd when in
fact they are at 61.9 ytd. She also stated that
Glassboro's VOE has increased since her arrival however
it has decreased from 68.8 to 67.9. Margie provided an
incorrect assessment of the revenue for Vineland, she stated
that it was down $159, 172.00. Her response was far above the
actual amount. She stated that TOE was an area of opportunity
when in fact the office is currently trending positively by
.7%. When asked why I should select you Margie talked about
her education and just reiterated what was on her
application. Margie did not visit the office prior to the
POOM Mason let Plaintiff know of her decision on September
19, 2008 via telephone and followed up with a letter formally
memorializing the decision on October 1, 2008.
December 31, 2008, Plaintiff filed a complaint with the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") alleging
that she had not been selected for the position because of
her age, race, and national origin. A hearing was held before
Administrative Judge Julie Procopiow Todd ("AJ
Todd") on June 11 and 18, 2013 on these claims. A sex
discrimination claim was not included in her complaint but
was referenced in a written closing argument made after the
hearing and again on administrative appeal.
concluding administrative proceedings, Plaintiff brought her
claims in this Court by complaint on February 16, 2017.
Plaintiff filed claims under Title VII for race, national
origin,  and sex discrimination and under the ADEA
for age discrimination. She amended the complaint on February
28, 2017 and Defendant answered on May 12, 2017. Discovery
21, 2018, Defendant filed the instant Motion for Summary
Judgment. Plaintiff responded and filed a Motion to Amend the
Amended Complaint on August 20, 2018. Both motions are fully
briefed and ripe for adjudication.
Subject Matter Jurisdiction
Court possesses jurisdiction over this case pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1331.
Summary Judgment Standard
judgment is appropriate where the Court is satisfied
that" 'the pleadings, depositions, answers to
interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the
affidavits if any,' . . . demonstrate the absence of a
genuine issue of material fact" and that the moving
party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23
(1986) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 56).
issue is "genuine" if it is supported by evidence
such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict in the
nonmoving party's favor. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A fact is
"material" if, under the governing substantive law,
a dispute about the fact might affect the outcome of the
suit. Id. "In considering a motion for summary
judgment, a district court may not make credibility
determinations or engage in any weighing of the evidence;
instead, the non-moving party's evidencexis to
be believed and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in
his favor.'" Marino v. Indus. Crating Co.,
358 F.3d 241, 247 (3d Cir. 2004) (citing Anderson,
477 U.S. at 255) .
the moving party bears the burden of demonstrating the
absence of a genuine issue of material fact.
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323 ("[A] party seeking
summary judgment always bears the initial responsibility of
informing the district court of the basis for its motion, and
identifying those portions of 'the pleadings,
depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on
file, together with the affidavits, if any,' which it
believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of
material fact."); see Singletary v. Pa. Dep't of
Corr., 266 F.3d 186, 192 n.2 (3d Cir. 2001)
("Although the initial burden is on the summary judgment
movant to show the absence of a genuine issue of material
fact, 'the burden on the moving party may be discharged
by "showing"-that is, pointing out to the district
court-that there is an absence of evidence to support the
nonmoving party's case' when the nonmoving party
bears the ultimate burden of proof." (citing
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 325)) .
the moving party has met this burden, the nonmoving party
must identify, by affidavits or otherwise, specific facts
showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324. A "party opposing
summary judgment 'may not rest upon the mere allegations
or denials of the . . . pleading[s].'" Saldana
v. Kmart Corp., 260 F.3d 228, 232 (3d Cir. 2001). For
"the non-moving party to prevail, [that party] must
'make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of
[every] element essential to that party's case, and on
which that party will bear the burden of proof at
trial.'" Cooper v. Sniezek, 418 Fed.Appx.
56, 58 (3d Cir. 2011) (citing Celotex, 477 U.S. at
322) . Thus, to withstand a properly supported motion for
summary judgment, the nonmoving party must identify specific
facts and affirmative evidence that contradict those offered
by the moving party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 257.
presents three arguments favoring dismissal of
Plaintiff's claims. First, Defendant argues
Plaintiff's sex discrimination claim must be dismissed
because this Court does not possess jurisdiction to
adjudicate it. Second, Defendant argues that Plaintiff fails
to state a prima facie claim for age discrimination. Third,
Defendant argues Plaintiff has not established that the
legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons for not promoting
Plaintiff were mere pretext.
determining the merits of each of these arguments, this Court
will first address Defendant's second argument concerning
the age discrimination claim. In her opposition brief,
Plaintiff withdraws her age discrimination claim. (Pl.'s
Opp'n Br. 3.) Therefore, this Court will grant
Defendant's request to dismiss this claim. This Court will
address the other two arguments in turn.
Whether this Court Possesses Subject Matter Jurisdiction
over the Sex Discrimination Claim
argue this Court does not possess subject matter jurisdiction
over Plaintiff's sex discrimination claim and therefore
must dismiss it. Defendant reasons that Plaintiff has failed
to exhaust her administrative remedies because she never
raised the issue of sex discrimination in ...