Susan McGuire Smith

Susan McGuire Smith spent most of her federal legal career with NASA, serving as Chief Counsel at Marshall Space Flight Center for 14 years. Her expertise is in government contracts, ethics, and personnel law.

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Poor Customer Service Leads to Removal

By on August 17, 2016 in Court Cases with 27 Comments
Poor Customer Service Leads to Removal

An IRS employee who cursed out a taxpayer in front of several witnesses could not persuade the court that his removal was unwarranted.

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She Fought the Law and She Won

By on August 11, 2016 in Court Cases with 6 Comments

A PhD candidate at University of Virginia fought back when the Defense Department ruled she did not qualify for the education reduced fee exemption under the FOIA and therefore would have to pay the full $900 due in fees for the agency’s efforts. She won at the influential U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. She not only gets the reduced fee, her case sets a precedent that should affect how all agencies handle FOIA requests from students in the future.

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When Private Emails Are Official Government Records

By on August 9, 2016 in Court Cases with 142 Comments

A Federal appeals court has ruled that an agency head’s email records that are stored on a private, non-government server are nevertheless official agency records reachable by a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

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Don't Just Look For the Management Label

By on July 19, 2016 in Court Cases, News with 6 Comments

The appeals court agrees with the Merit Systems Protection Board that just because an HR Specialist had access to confidential personnel databases and was labeled a manager by her agency does not mean that she was in a management position or one that otherwise gave the Board jurisdiction over her adverse action (demotion) appeal.

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Fired Employee Convinces Court to Throw Out MSPB Decision

By on July 4, 2016 in Court Cases, News with 17 Comments

A DFAS (Defense Finance and Accounting Service) employee removed for being found ineligible for a sensitive position due to numerous outstanding debts won a reprieve from the federal appeals court when it threw out the decision of the Merit Systems Protection Board and sent the case back for another look.

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Mama Bear's Efforts to Save Her Son's Job Added Up to Nepotism

By on June 28, 2016 in Court Cases, News with 35 Comments

A Supervisory Patent Examiner who retired rather than be busted down to a non-supervisory position for the offense of nepotism was unable to persuade the Merit Systems Protection Board, and now the appeals court, to hear her case.

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Keep the Money, and Run!

By on June 8, 2016 in Court Cases, News with 19 Comments

A divorced spouse relied on an inaccurate version of a 20-year-old divorce decree to get OPM to award her a survivor annuity on the death of her former husband. When presented with the accurate version of the decree, OPM revoked the annuity and demanded repayment. See what happened.

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Retroactive Restoration and the TSP Account

By on May 31, 2016 in Court Cases, News with 8 Comments

A VA employee ordered retroactively restored when his removal was cancelled by the MSPB argues with the agency’s handling of his account with the Thrift Savings Plan.

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He Said, They Said

By on May 18, 2016 in Court Cases, News with 6 Comments

An instructor at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC), fired as the result of allegations he fraternized with female students, tried unsuccessfully to argue that poor witness credibility decisions amounted to error on the part of the review board that has upheld his removal.

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Federal District Court Orders Discovery Against White House Agency in a FOIA Case

By on May 10, 2016 in Court Cases, News with 25 Comments

The district court has ordered discovery in another Freedom of Information Act case where the actions of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, part of the White House, in responding to a document request are characterized by the court as “inconsistent” and a “rare case where discovery is warranted.”

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