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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A Federal Internship Does Not Guarantee a Permanent Position

By on August 14, 2017 in Court Cases with 0 Comments
A Federal Internship Does Not Guarantee a Permanent Position

Does the Merit Systems Protection Board have jurisdiction to review an agency’s decision not to convert an intern position to a permanent appointment? The MSPB says no and the appeals court now agrees.

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DOD Budget Sequestration Furlough in 2013 Affirmed

By on August 8, 2017 in Court Cases with 0 Comments
DOD Budget Sequestration Furlough in 2013 Affirmed

In one of many appeals brought by furloughed Defense employees as the result of the 2013 budget sequestration process, the appeals court has found no error in the handling of one employee’s appeal.

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Union Official Sues AFGE for Defamation

By on July 25, 2017 in Court Cases with 0 Comments
Union Official Sues AFGE for Defamation

A district court has refused to dismiss a defamation action brought by a local union official against the union and at least one AFGE representative, thus giving this aggrieved union member, a former local AFGE official, a day in court.

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This Widow Does Not Meet the Legal Definition of ‘Widow’ for Federal Retirement Purposes

By on July 5, 2017 in Court Cases with 0 Comments
This Widow Does Not Meet the Legal Definition of ‘Widow’ for Federal Retirement Purposes

The widow of an FBI employee is ruled not eligible for a FERS annuity survivor’s benefit since the length of her marriage was less than 9 months at the time of her husband’s death.

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Supreme Court Decides Federal Employee ‘Mixed Case’ Court Jurisdiction Issue

By on June 26, 2017 in Court Cases with 0 Comments
Supreme Court Decides Federal Employee ‘Mixed Case’ Court Jurisdiction Issue

Confronted with the question which court (Federal Circuit Court of Appeals or the U.S. District Court) is the proper forum for challenging a MSPB decision dismissing a federal employee’s appeal for lack of jurisdiction in a so-called “mixed case,” the U.S. Supreme Court has stepped in and settled the matter.

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Unprotected Whistleblowing Will Not Undo Removal of Federal Employee

By on May 25, 2017 in Court Cases with 0 Comments
Unprotected Whistleblowing Will Not Undo Removal of Federal Employee

A Department of Education employee removed for various misconduct reasons tried to thwart the agency’s action by pointing to his whistleblowing activity. Since he could not prove it was protected whistleblowing and the agency could prove it would fire him even if it had been, he lost out on his appeal.

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U.S. Supreme Court Decides Divorce Dispute Over Air Force Retirement Pay

By on May 20, 2017 in Court Cases with 0 Comments
U.S. Supreme Court Decides Divorce Dispute Over Air Force Retirement Pay

The U. S. Supreme Court slapped down a decision by the Arizona state courts that held the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act did not pre-empt the Arizona family court’s order requiring that a military retiree make up for a portion of his annuity lost by his ex-wife by operation of federal law.

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Appeals Court Rules on Former VA Director’s Termination

Appeals Court Rules on Former VA Director’s Termination

In an early test of the new law designed to make it easier to fire DVA senior executives and to streamline the appeals process, the appeals court has handed down a significant ruling that presents a mixed bag.

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Whistleblowing or Failure to Communicate Properly With Supervisors?

By on May 9, 2017 in Court Cases with 0 Comments
Whistleblowing or Failure to Communicate Properly With Supervisors?

Here’s a situation where a federal employee received a “counseling memo” following what he apparently considered as a whistleblowing complaint to his agency chain of command. He tried to challenge the informal discipline as retaliation for protected whistleblowing and eventually his case went to the federal appeals court.

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Who Says You Cannot Fire a Federal Employee?

By on April 10, 2017 in Court Cases with 0 Comments
Who Says You Cannot Fire a Federal Employee?

When a deciding official cited an extraordinary lack of productivity in addition to the four reasons laid out in the notice of an employee’s proposed removal, the agency spent nine years cleaning up the mess and finally effecting and defending a removal action.

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