Court Opinion: 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion for Dec. 13

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals

Editor’s Note: Law Week Colorado edits court opinion summaries for style and, when necessary, length.

Huggins v. United States Postal Service

Paul Huggins filed a pro se lawsuit against the U.S. Postal Service in Colorado because the Postal Service allegedly failed to return certified mail receipts to him. Huggins’ lawsuit alleged the Postal Service “inhibited the right of any persons to receive … any information that they wished to receive.” 

The Postal Service removed the lawsuit to federal district court. Then, the Postal Service moved to dismiss on the grounds that Huggins’ complaint must be brought before the Postal Regulatory Commission per 39 U.S.C. 3662(a), which allows any interested person to lodge a complaint who believes the Postal Service is not operating lawfully.

The district court cited the decision in Bovard v. U.S. Post Office that “a postal customer’s remedy for unsatisfactory service lies with the Postal Rate Commission, …and . . . Congress did not intend to create a private right of action for service complaints” to grant the PRC exclusive jurisdiction. While the appeals court indicated the Bovard decision may no longer have persuasive value because the postal code has been significantly amended, Huggins’ brief didn’t attack the district court’s reliance on Bovard and doesn’t explain why his lawsuit’s removal from state court was improper.  

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s decision that the PRC has exclusive jurisdiction over the type of complaint in question and granted the Postal Service’s motion to dismiss the case. Huggins must file his complaint with the PRC.

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