Editor’s Note: La Jicarita continues to follow New Mexico’s homegrown whistleblower, Anthony Rivera, who, as we’ve previously reported, exposed unsafe working conditions at Livermore National Laboratory, LANL’s weapons lab sister in California. After revealing safety and management abuses at the Lab he was fired by the new contractor, Lawrence Livermore National Security (LLNS) in 2013. In January of 2014 he filed a Department of Energy (DOE) 708 Whistleblower complaint against LLNS, which alleges LLNS retaliation for his complaints. After a year of waiting for DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz to review his whistleblower complaint, he filed a lawsuit on January 19, 2016 against the LLNS and two Department of Energy officials. The DOE agreed to hear Rivera’s whistleblower case but after failing to have his petition reviewed by former Secretary Moniz or his successor Secretary Perry he took his case to the court of appeals. This is the latest action in the case that has dragged on for too many years. Because court of appeals cases take one to two years to complete, Rivera is appearing pro-se (self representing) to avoid ongoing legal costs.
By ANTHONY RIVERA
On Thursday, February 18, 2021 as a “Pro Se” (self-representing) plaintiff, I filed my Opening Brief in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in case # 20-16012, “Anthony T. Rivera v. U.S. Department of Energy.” This case is in response to DOE/NNSA actions and inactions related to my whistleblower claims at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) managed by Lawrence Livermore National Security (LLNS).
Please note that as early as October 2013 my request to LLNS was to simply reacquire my former LLNS job title with a comparable assignment and to be made whole. As my 35 page Opening Brief and 11 attachments to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals detail, there was simply no incentive whatsoever for LLNS to consider such an informal resolution given the low threshold financial support of the DOE/NNSA to defend LLNS against me a whistleblower, and given the grossly and perhaps purposely under-defined DOE OHA whistleblower definitions and examples.
Section 2: “Problem/Impact/Solution” of my Opening Brief details the landscape I as a contractor whistleblower employee had to navigate. Section 2: “Problem/Impact/Solution” shows that DOE/NNSA contractors, among other factors, are actually financially incentivized to retaliate or fire whistleblower employees at will with DOE/NNSA approval, in support and protection of contractor annual award fees.
Section 3 of my Opening Brief covers specifically what happened to me as a LLNS whistleblower. I remain hopeful that the Biden/Harris Administration will view my situation differently than the last Administration.