Madison - St. Clair Record

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Herndon dismisses USPS worker's disability retirement claim

By Stacey O'Connor | Mar 1, 2018

General court 07

BENTON –U.S. District Judge David Herndon has dismissed a former U.S. Postal Service worker's disability claim.  

Madelaine Sattlefield had filed a second amended complaint in response to the Office of Personnel Management's motion to dismiss, claiming the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois has jurisdiction through the Administrative Procedures Act.

The case stems from Sattlefield's claims that the OPM denied her application for disability retirement and violated her constitutional rights.

According to the memorandum and order, Sattlefield first filed for disability retirement in 2012. She began working for the postal service in 2000. In 2009, Sattlefield sustained a rotator cuff injury while working in St. Louis. She underwent surgery in 2010, and although her doctor suggested it would take six to eight weeks for a full recovery, Sattlefield claims it took her months to recover fully. 

Due to her injuries and subsequent pain, she alleged that she was unable to regularly attend work. Sattlefield was subsequently fired from her position as a postal worker for poor attendance, the order states. 

In 2012, Sattlefield began filing for disability retirement based on the rotator cuff injury she received while on the job in addition to other medical issues she acquired.

Her request was denied, first by the OPM, and then through an appeal through the Merit Systems Protection Board. 

The board found that “the evidence was insufficient to establish that Sattlefield’s various medical conditions, alone or together, rendered her disabled for purposes of disability retirement eligibility."

In 2014, the board issued its final order denying Sattlefield’s request, which prompted Sattlefield to file a second request with the OPM. Her claims were referred to the U.S. Court of Appeals. 

Sattlefield claimed that the OPM and board decisions should be reversed because they were arbitrary and unsupported by the evidence and that her case was unjustly and unfairly dismissed, the order states

After reviewing Sattlefield’s claim, Herndon also denied her request due to a lack of subject matter jurisdiction. 

“Therefore, because Sattlefield asks this court to review OPM and MSPB decisions arising out of her federal employment, and because Congress has committed such review exclusively to the jurisdiction of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, this court lacks subject matter jurisdiction and must dismiss,” the order states.

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U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois