Lawsuits against the Peace Corps

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Pailes v. United States Peace Corps (2009)


Plaintiff alleges that he sustained an injury in March 1989 while working in Mali as a volunteer with the United States Peace Corps ("Peace Corps"). See Compl. at 3, 23. Generally, he alleges that the Peace Corps failed to provide him adequate medical treatment and subsequently inserted false information into his medical file pertaining to his diagnosis, see id. at 3, 22-23, placing his "record in false light before the public and within the agency," id. at 28, and "besmirching and impugning [his] character," id. at 27. For reasons that are not clearly articulated in the complaint, plaintiff alleges that he was "officially coercively discharged with an inaccurate medical separation." Id. at 27; see id. at 55. The false information in the medical file allegedly prevents him from securing employment, particularly employment with the federal government or a government contractor. See id. at 23-25, 72.

It appears that plaintiff brings this action against the Peace Corps under the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 794, the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. § 12111, et seq., the Federal Employment Compensation Act ("FECA"), 5 U.S.C. § 8101 et seq., the Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA"), 5 U.S.C. § 552, the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552a, and the Federal Tort Claims Act ("FTCA"), 28 U.S.C. § 2671, et seq. Among other relief, plaintiff demands compensatory damages and injunctive relief. Compl. at 59, 63, 65-67.

Horowitz v. Peace Corps (2005)


After choosing to resign from his position as a Peace Corps volunteer and thereby avoid the filing of an Administrative Separation Report (ASR) detailing allegations of sexual misconduct, pro se appellant Dr. Michael Horowitz challenges the district court's order allowing the Peace Corps to withhold the draft ASR from release under Exemption 5 of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Horowitz also appeals the district court's denial of his request for access to the same document under the Privacy Act. Finally, the Peace Corps appeals the denial of its attempt to protect the name of the complainant under FOIA Exemption 6.

We conclude the district court properly exempted the draft document from release under FOIA Exemption 5 and properly found the document was not part of a system of records subject to disclosure under the Privacy Act. However, we conclude FOIA Exemption 6 also applies; therefore, the name of the alleged victim is not subject to release as a segregable fact.

Jeanette M. Rebuth v. United States Peace Corps (1991)


Jeanette M. Rebuth appeals pro se the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of her former employer. She contends that the district court erred in concluding that she failed to establish a prima facie case of discrimination or retaliation under Title VII, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e-5 (1988) (Title VII), or age discrimination under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 621-634 (1988) (ADEA). She also contends that the district court erred by granting summary judgment on her due process claims and her claims under the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552a (1988). Finally, she asserts that the district court should have appointed her counsel and should have fully allowed her motions to compel discovery. We reject all of these contentions and we affirm.

Wood v. Ruppe (1987)

"Peace Corps policy does not prohibit private speech by its volunteers on matters of political expression, although volunteers are admonished to portray their opinions as their own, and not as representative of the Peace Corps or the U.S. Government's position. ... It is only in situations ... where there has been a direct threat to the interest of the Peace Corps, that speech is prohibited; thus, the policy is narrowly tailored to restrict speech no more than is necessary to protect a compelling government interest."