Tritz v. United States Postal Service

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Civil Procedure
  • Date Filed: 07-09-2013
  • Case #: 10-56967
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Thomas for the Court; Circuit Judges Schroeder and Silverman
  • Full Text Opinion

Under the "Postal Reorganization Act" 39 U.S.C. §§ 401 and 409, and the "The Tucker Act" 28 U.S.C. § 1491(a)(1), district courts and the Court of Federal Claims have concurrent jurisdiction over claims against the United States Postal Service in which more than $10,000 is in controversy.

Irene Tritz filed several complaints against her employer the United States Postal Service (“Postal Service”). In 1991, she won a claim for gender discrimination. In 2005, Tritz brought a pro se claim against the Postal Service for a ‘hostile work environment’. After the jury found for Tritz, the parties entered into a second settlement (“2006 Settlement”). In the 2006 Settlement, Tritz released all claims, known and unknown, against the Postal Service. In 2010, Tritz brought a pro se claim against the Postal Service for breach of both settlement agreements, and that the 2006 Settlement was void because of "undue influence and fraudulent misrepresentation." The district court dismissed Tritz’s case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction under the Tucker Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1491(a)(1), holding that the Court of Federal Claims had exclusive jurisdiction for all breach of contract cases against the Postal Service in which more than $10,000 is in controversy. The Ninth Circuit upheld the dismissal of Tritz’s claims, but on different grounds. The panel held that the Tucker Act granted the Court of Federal Claims exclusive jurisdiction “only to the extent that Congress has not granted any other court authority to hear the claims that may not be decided by the Claims Court” following the United States Supreme Court’s analysis in Bowen v. Massachusetts. The panel held that because the Postal Reorganization Act, 39 U.S.C. §§ 401 and 409, grants district courts original jurisdiction over all actions against the Postal Service, the Federal Claims Court did not have exclusive jurisdiction. However, several of Tritz’s claims against the Postal Service were undermined by the very documents attached to the complaint. Because Tritz had failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted the Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal. AFFIRMED.

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