United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
Magistrate Judge Mona K. Majzoub
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR
SUMMARY JUDGMENT 
J. MICHELSON, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
leave of absence due to his mental health, Plaintiff Kedric
Mitchell sought to return to work at the United States Postal
Service (“USPS”). He provided his supervisor with
a letter from his psychologist which stated that he was able
to return to work. But around the same time, Mitchell also
sent the USPS a letter written by his wife that raised
concerns about Mitchell's mental fitness to return to
work. It noted that Mitchell may suffer a mental or physical
breakdown should he return.
result, Mitchell was told that he could not return to work
until his doctor responded to his wife's letter. The USPS
did not receive a direct response and Mitchell was eventually
terminated because of his lengthy absence from work. Mitchell
then sued claiming that USPS's refusal to allow him to
return to work was unlawful discrimination based on his
mental illness and retaliation based on a prior Equal
Employment Opportunity (“EEO”) complaint.
the Court is Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. (R.
46.) Defendants say that Mitchell fails to establish a prima
facie case because he cannot demonstrate that he is disabled
and that the employment action was taken because of his
disability. They also argue that, even if he were able to
establish a prima facie case, he cannot show that
Defendants' nondiscriminatory reason for taking the
employment action was pretext. The Court largely agrees.
Thus, Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED.
1997, Plaintiff Kedric Mitchell began working for USPS. (R.
48-3, PID 590.) In February 2009, Mitchell filed his first
EEO complaint alleging discriminatory treatment because of
his depression. (R. 46-16, PID 490-503.) Later in 2009,
Mitchell's depression led him to take a leave of absence.
(R. 46-14, PID 455.)
27, 2010, during Mitchell's leave of absence,
Mitchell's wife, Roslyn Brown, sent a letter to Vice
President of the Great Lakes Area Operations, Jo Ann Feindt
(“Brown's letter”). (R. 46-4, PID 398-99).
The letter explained Mitchell's mental instability and
that they would be going public if the EEOC dispute was not
resolved. (Id.) It was returned, marked
“return to sender.” (R. 46-2, PID 316.)
July 28, 2010, Mitchell attempted to return to work. He was
told, however, that he had to get medical clearance before he
was permitted to return. (R. 46-2, PID 301-302.)
August 2, 2010, Mitchell saw his psychologist, Dr. Amy
Trabitz. (R. 46-2, PID 305.) That day, Dr. Trabitz wrote a
note simply stating that Mitchell was “able to fully
return to work with no restrictions.” (R. 46-3, PID
397.) The next day, Mitchell again attempted to return to
work. (R. 46-2, PID 306.) Mitchell provided his supervisor,
Karl Sturdivant, with Dr. Trabitz's August 2, 2010 note.
(R. 46-2, PID 294, 306.)
around that same time, Mitchell re-sent Brown's letter
because it was previously marked “return to
sender.” (R. 46-2, PID 316.) Given its importance to
the case, several sections of Brown's letter are
Whether the Postal service believes it or not, my husband
suffers from Stress and Depression. My husband has been off
work since September 2009 and is preparing to return to work
soon. With the help of his doctors my husband has been making
great progress, and that is why his doctors will be clearing
him to return to work. But his doctors are not fully
aware of the recent developments in his case, and how they
may be affecting my husband's condition.
He feels he's ready to go back to work, and I
don't think he should return to work at this time.
Nonetheless when he sees his doctors next week they will
probably clear him to return to work. So he will go just
because he trusts his doctors. But his doctors don't live
with him, I do.
This is the third time my husband has had to take off work
for his illness. Every time my husband has returned to work,
he has been harassed and treated unfairly and forced to take
off work again. Now he has an EEOC case pending, in order to
determine if his allegations are true. My fear is that my
husband will suffer some type of Mental or Physical breakdown
if he returns to work right now, simply because your
managers are not going to change how they do things for my
husband's sake. I would appreciate it if you would use
your authority to place him on administrative leave until his
case is resolved. Because if the past is any kind of
indication of what we can expect in the future, then my
husband should not be allowed back to work until the truth is
Please don't misunderstand me. My husband is not a
trouble maker, but he does have a Mental Condition. A Mental
Condition for which there is no cure for, which makes him
mentally unstable at all times. I hope I don't
have to explain to you why you should not allow a mentally
unstable individual to continue working in an environment
he/she deems hostile. It doesn't matter whether the
environment is hostile or not. What matters is that the
mentally unstable individual believes it to be hostile. My
husband on several levels is in denial about his Mental
Condition. Psychotherapy was not his idea, it was mine. I
suggested it to him after doing extensive research on job
related stress, once I seen he exhibited symptoms.
I am not a doctor. I am just a concerned wife. I would try to
convince my husband to abandon his case if I thought his case
was invalid. But as it turns out my husband is telling the
truth about the unfair treatment and harassment that is going
on at the George W. Young facility where he works.
Rest assured that this will be only time I will contact you
Mrs. Feindt. So what you do with this letter is completely us
to you. I am hoping that you do the right thing.
But if you choose not to do what I have asked of you, then
you personally assume responsibility for anything that
happens to my ...