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Reynolds v. Brennan

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

April 28, 2015

DALE E. REYNOLDS, Plaintiff,
v.
MEGAN J. BRENNAN, Postmaster General of the United States, Defendant.

DECISION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (Doc. 15) AND DISMISSING CASE[1]

AVERN COHN, District Judge.

I. Introduction

This is an employment discrimination case under Title VII, 42 U.S.C. ยง 2000e. Plaintiff Dale E. Reynolds, proceeding pro se, is suing defendant Megan J. Brennan, Postmaster General of the United States (the government), [2] claiming discrimination on the basis of race (African-American), religion (unknown), and retaliation for prior protected activity.

Before the Court is the government's motion for summary judgment. (Doc. 15). Reynolds filed a response. (Doc. 23). The government filed a reply. (Doc. 24). The matter is now ready for decision. For the reasons that follow, the motion will be granted. The case will be dismissed.

As will be explained, Reynolds has not come forward with sufficient evidence from which a reasonable jury could find that he was subjected to discrimination on the basis of his race, religion, or that he was retaliated against for engaging in protected activity.

II. Background

The material facts as gleaned from the parties' papers follow:[3]

Reynolds works as a mail handler at the Michigan Metroplex postal facility in Pontiac, Michigan. Richard Grant works as a mail handler at the same postal facility as Reynolds.

In 2013, Reynolds was assigned to pay location 120 on the night shift (Tour I) and Grant was assigned to pay location 201 on the day shift (Tour 2).

On February 5, 2013, at approximately 11:22 p.m., Reynolds and Grant had a verbal altercation in the men's locker room of the Metroplex facility. The incident was witnessed by Wallace Stanciel, a postal clerk. Reynolds says he had been assaulted, threatened, and stalked by Grant for some time.

During the verbal altercation, Grant accused Reynolds of going to his girlfriend's house. Reynolds denied the accusation and felt threatened by the incident. Reynolds warned Grant that he would stand his ground and protect himself if Grant ever came after him. Reynolds pulled his license to Carry Concealed Weapon (CCW) permit out of his wallet to show Grant.

There was no physical contact between Reynolds and Grant during the verbal altercation. However, Reynolds says that Grant "assaulted" him by pointing his finger in Reynolds' face and that Grant was yelling angrily at him. Grant apologized to Reynolds.

On February 6, 2013, at approximately 1:30 a.m., Reynolds notified Danyelle Riggins, the Lead Manager of Distribution Operations, that he was "assaulted in the men's locker room" by Grant in front of a witness. Riggins said she would speak to Grant the next day.

Reynolds called the Postal Inspection Service at approximately 2:00 a.m. and asked them to investigate the matter. Later that morning, he filed a report with the Pontiac Sheriff's Department.

On February 7, 2013, Inspector Sally Palazzolo interviewed Reynolds regarding the incident. Reynolds gave Inspector Palazzolo a copy of the statement that he had provided to management.

On February 11, 2013, Inspectors Palazzolo and Marek interviewed Grant and Stanciel. Grant and Stanciel both reported to the inspectors that during the verbal altercation Reynolds indicated he would shoot Grant.

On February 14, 2013, the Inspection Service gave the Lead Manager of Distribution Operations, Danyelle Riggins, a detailed report along with the employee statements from Reynolds, Stanciel, and Grant.

Reynolds' supervisor, Angela Williams-Dial, was absent from work on the day of the incident. However, upon her return to the office, she reviewed the report prepared by the Postal Inspection Service, including the employees' statements. Williams-Dial also discussed the matter with her supervisor Riggins.

On March 1, 2010, Williams-Dial conducted a "Due Process Investigative Disciplinary interview" with Reynolds and his union representative, Tonya Williams. Reynolds denied that he had threaten Grant or said that he would shoot him.

Reynolds admits that he warned Grant that he was prepared to defend himself and showed Grant his CCW permit.

On March 10, 2013, Reynolds received a No Time Off (NTO) Suspension of seven days for unacceptable conduct. He served the suspension while on duty with no loss of pay. The NTO was issued by Angela Williams-Dial and approved by Danyelle Riggins.

Grant received a 14-day suspension without pay on March 11, 2013, effective March 29, 2013 through April 11, 2013, for Conduct Unbecoming a Postal Employee.. Grant's suspension was ...


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