Punch v. Bridenstine, No. 18-40580 (5th Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
This case stemmed from plaintiff's action alleging that NASA discriminated against her. The Fifth Circuit held that plaintiff pleaded her way out of federal court by attempting to litigate her claims in several mutually exclusive forums. In this case, plaintiff pleaded her way out of the Federal Circuit by attempting to bifurcate her discrimination and non-discrimination claims.
Plaintiff first chose to pursue her mixed case before the MSPB rather than filed an EEO complaint with NASA ODEO. After the MSPB rejected her mixed case, she could have sought review in federal district court, but could not go back and choose to file an EEO complaint. The court explained that plaintiff could have then dropped her mixed case and pursued only the Civil Service Reform Act (CSRA) claim before the Federal Circuit; pursued the mixed case in federal district court; or pursued the mixed case in the EEOC. Although federal law allowed plaintiff to choose one of these options, she tried to choose all three. Consequently, the court held that plaintiff deprived any court of subject-matter jurisdiction over her appeal from the MSPB; she pleaded her way out of the Federal Circuit; and she missed the deadline to file in district court