I once again am going to make an internet plea for help. Here is a just-the-facts story, but the bottom line is that my Kitten needs a lawyer – or a team of lawyers. We have already done the work we just need someone who knows the law to help us out. So here are the facts of the case(s).
Kitten works for the United States Post Office (USPS) as a mail carrier. In 2008 she had an injury to her foot and ankle. One that if treated correctly would have resulted in minimal time out of work. Unfortunately – she was not treated correctly and the problem got worse. In 2009 she found a new doctor who proceeded to perform two surgeries on her foot and ankle (one of those for a ruptured Achilles tendon). She went back to work after about a year of recovery and then during hurricane Irene – she injured it again. Her tendon simply can’t not support her ankle for long periods of time or walking on uneven surfaces (she trips and her ankle gives way). After the second injury she was put back out of work and her doctor told her she would not be able to perform the duties of her job EVER without further injuring herself.
She asked for transfers, different jobs to perform, and even had an opportunity to work as a supervisor. In March of 2012 her doctor released her to work limited/light duty with restrictions and the post office stated that they had no work for her within those resections. They denied all these opportunities for her to return to work even on a limited duty basis. The nurse assigned to her case from the Office of Workman’s Compensation (OWCP) recommended vocational training and recommended she be put on “periodic rolls’ (which means OWCP pays her and not the post office and the post office is pretty much done with her).
Once she was put on the periodic roll, the USPS – Office of Inspector General (OIG) decided to investigate her for fraud. They had her under surveillance for about two months, in which they produced a 40 minute video claiming to prove that she was in fact defrauding the government. They showed this video to her doctor who we assume was intimidated (or he’s just an asshole coward with no conscience) said, “Oh yeah, she looks fine, she could have been working this whole time. She misrepresented herself to me” I guess he forgot that he had already returned her to work and that she wasn’t working not because of fraud, but because the Post Office had no duties for her to perform within the restrictions that HE ordered.
Now we JUST got the video today – we have been requesting it since July 3rd of 2012 when Kitten received a letter in the mail stating that her doctor had returned her to work full duty with no restrictions because of this video and OIG investigation. On July 3rd – Kitten’s life was forever changed, ruined in fact. Those details are unimportant here though…
What IS important is the fact that the entire time they took this video of her – she was released to work. What they caught on the video you ask? Shopping. Grocery shopping. A trip to Home Depot. A nice view of her placing a plantar of flowers in front of our house. Getting into and out of her car. You know – stuff you do when you live in a first world country. Nothing on the video reflects her job in any way, and NOTHING on the video is in excess of her restrictions. Oh yeah – to reiterate the point here, she had been returned to work and the post office denied her work. She never said she couldn’t do anything, and her goal since the very first injury was to go back to work.
So this video was used to prove that SHE was fraudulent. The last time she saw her doctor, she left his office thinking vocational training and had certain restrictions in what she could and could not do. After OIG visited her doctor and showed him this video, he returned her to work and filled out paperwork that her diagnosis had changed in less than a month from no more mail carrier to returning to work full duty with no restrictions. He never had an office visit with her and he never even called to tell her that her orders had been changed (the orders say, “per video”). The only way she knew her diagnosis was changed was because she received a return to work letter from the post office. When she tried to contact him [her doctor], he ignored her. She received a letter shortly after that he would no longer be her treating physician. Again – he performed two very invasive surgeries on her, and had been treating her for about 4 years.
When she didn’t return to work because the second and third doctor told her she couldn’t without further injury, the post office is now trying to fire her for improper conduct based SOLEY on the OIG video, without looking at further (or at any) medical evidence. OWCP cut off her pay – she has not been paid since July 9th of 2012 she requested an independent medical exam from OWCP and was denied based on the fact that her own doctor returned her to work based on the OIG investigation and nothing else. She can’t go back to work, and she is being fired for something she is not guilty of; the video being used against her and the numerous doctors reports, MRI’s and X-rays proves this fact. The emails between the OWCP nurse, the OWCP claims examiner, and the USPS HR Department all say that the post office denied her work during the times she was released to resume working which happens to be during the same time this video was taken. Another point – OIG insisted that Kitten was asking for full disability – which was NEVER the case. She has tons of documentation to prove this.
There is a TON more to this story. These are just the very basic facts of the case and any lawyer (even one that graduated at the bottom of his/her class) could win this for us. We just need someone to take the case who understands the court system, filing requirements, and legal rules for how she needs to proceed. We went to one lawyer to discuss just the Doctor and his conduct and were completely betrayed by the lawyer himself (turns out a partner in his office is married to the head of Podiatry at the University of Penn and is friends with the doctor in question and called him to ‘warn’ him of a possible pending lawsuit against him). I’m pretty sure we have a case against them too.
So we need a lawyer(s) who is willing and able to take on cases that look like this:
Kitten v. United States Post Office
Kitten v. USPS – Office of Inspector General
Kitten v. Dr. Sheldon Jeffery Siegel
Kitten v. Office of Workman’s Compensation
Kitten v. Messa and Associates
She has filed congressional inquiries into all agencies. She has used Freedom of Information Act requests to try and gather information from OIG (all were denied). She has written appeal letters and emails to all the agencies involved. She has opened and is currently pursuing an EEO complaint (open and pending a hearing before an administrative judge). She has affidavits filled with lies that she has documentation to show that these people have perjured themselves. She has also filed a formal compliant with the State of PA to take action against her former doctors license because he changed her medical records to conform to what OIG needed them to say (investigation pending).
Would a guilty person do all this? Would someone who is intentionally trying to commit some sort of fraud against the government bring all this attention to herself?
Again – she has binders FULL of documentation. She has legally recorded phone calls. She has the video (finally) as well as the communications between offices saying she was released to work during the time of surveillance. She has the rules that say OWCP needs to conduct their own investigation before closing a case solely due to an OIG investigation.
So if you know any lawyers who can face the government, or doctors, and have even half a heart – she could use the help. The yellow pages just aren’t cutting it and no one will look at the entire story. It is complicated and many agencies are involved. We would even be happy with a lawyer just out of law school who wants to prove themselves. It should be a pretty easy case to win if we can just get it into the court system.
What does Kitten want out of all this for herself? Her name cleared. Her job back (or a job that she can do within her limitations -vocational training), medical coverage, back pay, and for those who have lied and covered up to be held accountable for their actions. She wants to sue the pants off of her former doctor because his actions alone led to all this and his unethical and ILLEGAL actions he has taken since OIG walked into his office. She wants OIG held responsible for not even looking at ONE simple piece of paper that would have made their entire investigation unnecessary (just think of all your tax dollars that are wasted on this investigation and ongoing BS associated with this). She wants all the lies revealed and the people held accountable who told and perpetuated them.
Most of all, she wants to send a message that the government doesn’t get to bully it’s citizens. She wants to help others who don’t have the strength to fight these agencies. She wants justice for herself, but also for the hundreds of thousands of post office employees who are discriminated against and wrongly terminated and persecuted and discriminated against because their job injured them.
Just for fun, here is a video of Kittens foot. She gets these cramps that come from out of nowhere (usually when she is driving – it’s her right foot) – when I shot this video we were just sitting on the couch it doesn’t even take a doctor to tell that she can’t walk all day with 85lbs or so on her shoulder, with stuff in her hands, while walking on peoples lawns, climbing retaining walls, etc…
I know there is insane power in the internet. If an old lady on a school bus getting picked on by a 7th grader can get over a million dollars of support from strangers, I think we should be able to find a lawyer willing to help us. This has seriously ruined our lives in more ways than one. We just need someone who can help and is willing to listen and look at the evidence.
So do you know any lawyers? Are you a lawyer and know someone who would be willing and able to take this case on? Do you understand the legal system and are willing to offer us some advice on where to go from here? Can you PLEASE forward this blog to anyone you can? Share it on your Facebook, and anything else so as many people see it as possible? We have done all we can on our own. Thank you!