Link to Opinion of the Court by Senior United States District Judge Victor Marrero of the Southern District of New York in Mondaire Jones, et al, Plaintiffs, v United States Postal Service, et al, Defendants.
Below is the order that will fall upon the USPS on September 25 if it doesn’t reach a settlement with the Plaintiffs by then.
This is the second such decision against the USPS, the first having come out of the Eastern District of Washington which I posted about a few days ago.
Judge Marrero is clearly not playing games with these clowns.
Accordingly, it is hereby
ORDERED that Plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction (Dkt. No. 19) is GRANTED IN PART. Plaintiffs are directed to submit a proposed second amended complaint as discussed above; and it is further
ORDERED that by not later than noon on September 25, 2020 the parties shall settle an Order providing Plaintiffs appropriate relief consistent with this opinion and notify the Court of such settlement. In the event the parties fail to file such notice by that date the terms of the following Order shall take effect without further action by this Court:
- The United States Postal Service (“USPS”) shall, to the extent that excess capacity permits, treat all Election Mail as First-Class Mail or Priority Mail Express.
a. For purposes of this Order, the term “Election Mail” shall refer to any item mailed to or from authorized election officials that enables citizens to participate in the voting process, including voter registration materials, absentee or mail-in ballot applications, polling place notifications, blank ballots, and completed ballots.
No later than September 25, 2020, USPS shall provide to this Court and Plaintiffs a cost estimate for treating all Election Mail as First-Class Mail beginning on October 15, 2020.
USPS shall pre-approve all overtime that has been or will be requested for the time period beginning October 26, 2020 and continuing through November 6, 2020.
No later than October 1, 2020, USPS shall submit to the Court a list of steps necessary to restore First-Class Mail and Marketing Mail on-time delivery scores to the highest score each respective class of mail has received in 2020, which are 93.88 percent for First-Class Mail and 93.69 percent for Marketing Mail, and shall thereafter make a good faith effort to fully implement the listed steps.
No later than September 25, 2020, USPS shall submit to the Court a list of all USPS recommended practices concerning of the treatment of Election Mail that are not binding policies.
USPS shall provide this Court and Plaintiffs with a weekly update that includes:
a. The same weekly update USPS is providing Congress; and
b. Separate, unmerged 2-day and 3-5 day weekly service reports and variance reports; and
c. A summary, not to exceed 10 pages in length, of any and all data and information collected regarding USPS’s handling of Election Mail and compliance with the USPS policies regarding Election Mail, USPS recommended practices regarding Election Mail, and the terms of this Order specifically pertaining to Election Mail.
- No later than September 29, 2020, USPS shall submit to the Court and Plaintiffs a proposed memorandum to all USPS managerial staff (the “Guidance Memorandum”). The proposed Guidance Memorandum shall in clear terms and with the aid of examples:
a. Identify and explain all USPS policy requirements concerning the treatment of Election Mail;
b. Identify and explain all USPS recommended practices concerning the treatment of Election Mail;
c. Clarify that late and extra trips are not banned, do not require pre-approval, and will not result in disciplinary action;
d. Clarify that late and extra trips that facilitate the prompt delivery of Election Mail are encouraged;
e. Explain that, pursuant to this Court’s Order, to the extent excess capacity is available, Election Mail shall be treated as First-Class Mail or Priority Mail Express;
f. Explain that USPS has pre-approved all overtime that has been or will be requested for the time period beginning October 26, 2020 and continuing through November 6, 2020;
g. Direct managers to explain to each of their direct reports the policies and practices described in the Guidance Memorandum that are relevant to each direct report, taking into account their individual responsibilities;
h. Provide contact information for persons available to answer questions concerning the Guidance Memorandum; and
i. Provide contact information for persons responsible for tracking and responding to reports of violations of USPS policies and recommended practices concerning the treatment of Election Mail and direct personnel to contact this person in the event of any such violation.
No later than October 1, 2020, Plaintiffs shall submit any comments concerning the Guidance Memorandum to this Court. Plaintiffs shall attach a copy of Defendants’ proposed Guidance Memorandum containing any of Plaintiffs’ suggested edits in track changes.
Within 7 days of the date of an Order of this Court approving the Guidance Memorandum, USPS shall certify to this Court whether all USPS managerial staff members have certified that they have read, reviewed, and understand the Guidance Memorandum; to the extent any managerial staff member has not yet certified that they have read, reviewed, and understand the Guidance Memorandum, USPS shall describe each attempt it has made to contact the relevant managerial staff member.
Dated: New York, New York, 21 September 2020