The US Supreme Court has ruled that the US Postal Service is not immune under federal law from personal injury lawsuits. The decision reverses conventional thinking to this point regarding the Postal Service’s liability for the negligence of mail carriers. In the opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy disregarded government concerns that a tidal wave of frivolous slip-and-fall claims would follow.
The suit in question was filed in federal district court in Pennsylvania by Barbara Dolan. Ms. Dolan’s suit alleges that she suffered injury after tripping over mail that had been left on her porch by her mail carrier. The suit was dismissed by the federal district judge and refused by the federal appeals court located in Philadelphia.
The 7 to 1 Supreme Court decision allows Ms. Dolan to proceed with her suit. Justice Clarence Thomas was the only dissenting opinion. Justice Samuel Alito did not participate.