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Supreme Court hears personal injury case against Postal Service

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] on Monday heard oral arguments in Dolan v. US Postal Service [Duke Law case backgrounder; merit briefs], where it will decide whether the US Third Circuit Court of Appeals construed a provision of the Federal Tort Claims Act(FTCA) [text] too narrowly in dismissing a personal injury claim against the Post Office. Barbara Dolan was injured when she slipped on a pile of mail that she claims was negligently put on her front porch rather than in her mailbox; the FTCA bars claims arising out of "the negligent transmission of letters or postal matter." Dolan's attorney argued that the statute was intended to prevent litigation arising out of damage to mail, not to personal injuries sustained through the delivery of mail. Federal courts are in conflict over the definition of negligent transmission. Federal courts in Pennsylvania, where Dolan lives, define transmission broadly as ending when the mail was delivered to Dolan's porch, barring the claim. but federal courts in New York limit negligent transmission to the loss or miscarriage of mail, which would seem to allow a claim like Dolan's. AP has more.

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