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Doolan v. City of Reinbeck

United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Cedar Rapids Division

January 27, 2014

WILLIAM DOOLAN, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF REINBECK, IOWA, Defendant.

RULING ON MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

JON STUART SCOLES, Chief Magistrate Judge.

This matter comes before the Court on the Motion for Summary Judgment (docket number 10) filed by the Plaintiff on November 25, 2013, and the Resistance (docket number 12) filed by the Defendant on December 16. Pursuant to Local Rule 7.c, the motion will be decided without oral argument.

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On August 29, 2012, Plaintiff William Doolan filed a complaint against Defendant City of Reinbeck, claiming that Reinbeck failed to reemploy him after his return from military service, in violation of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act ("USERRA"). Reinbeck filed its answer on October 9, denying the material allegations and asserting certain affirmative defenses.

On January 22, 2013, the Court adopted a proposed Scheduling Order and Discovery Plan submitted by the parties. In accordance with 28 U.S.C. ยง 636(c) and the consent of the parties, the case was referred to me for the conduct of all further proceedings. After consulting with counsel, trial was scheduled to begin on April 21, 2014.

On November 25, 2013, Doolan timely filed the instant motion for summary judgment.

II. RELEVANT FACTS

Plaintiff William Doolan enlisted in the United States Navy in 1984. He remained on active duty until 1988. After that time, Doolan served three years with the Navy Reserves. Doolan then joined the National Guard in 1993. In 2002, Doolan attended Officers Candidate School ("OCS") and was commissioned as an officer in 2003.

In November 2005, Doolan started his employment with the City of Reinbeck ("Reinbeck" or "the City"). Initially, Doolan was employed full time as a telecommunications technician, "taking care of the cable and telephone systems around here and Internet, installing, servicing in the houses." Doolan's employment was reduced to part time (20 hours per week) in June 2009.

While he was employed by Reinbeck, Doolan remained in the Iowa Army National Guard. Recently, however, Doolan obtained a position with the U.S. Army Reserves, holding the rank of captain. Generally, Doolan's service in the National Guard and Reserves required a commitment of one weekend a month and two weeks during the summer.

In 2008, Doolan took command of a company with the National Guard. Accordingly, he went on "active service" for six months. During that time - March to September, 2008 - Doolan did not work at his job with Reinbeck. While the record is somewhat imprecise, Doolan apparently went back on active service for a second period, returning to his job in Reinbeck in April 2009. It was shortly after that time that his employment was reduced to 20 hours per week.

In March 2010, Doolan went on active duty at the National Maintenance Training Center at Camp Dodge in Iowa. Initially, the duty was intended to be for six months, but it was later extended to one year. When Doolan attempted to return to work with the City in March 2011, he was told that the job was not available to him.

The fighting issue in this case appears to be whether Doolan gave the City advance notice of his intent to report to military service in March 2010. Doolan claims that he told the city administrator, Quentin Mayberry, of his military obligation. Doolan's calendar has a notation on March 16, 2010, stating: "Told Quentin ADOS starts 18 March 10."[1] Another entry on the left side of the calendar for March (under a "notes" heading) reads: "16MAR10 1032 told Quentin that going on ADOS on 18 Mar 10, length unknown."[2]

In his deposition, Mayberry testified that he remembered having a conversation with Scott Cooper - another Reinbeck city employee - within two to four weeks prior to Doolan's departure in March 2010. According to Mayberry, Cooper and Doolan came into his office and Doolan ...


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