Does the Federal Tort Claims Act's exception for "negligent transmission" of mail by employees of the United States Postal Service apply to claims of physical harm to individuals due to employee negligence in delivering mail, or is it limited to claims of mail damaged by employee negligence?
Petitioner Barbara Dolan sustained serious injuries when she tripped over a stack of letters, packages, and other mail that an employee of the United States Postal Service left on her porch. She sued the United States Postal Service and the United States in federal court under the Federal Tort Claims Act, alleging that the United States Postal Service employee's negligence that led to her fall made them responsible for her injuries. The district court dismissed Dolan's complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and found that the "negligent transmission" exception to the Federal Tort Claims Act barred claims for physical injury, as well as those for damaged or delayed mail. In granting certiorari, the United States Supreme Court must determine the scope of the statutory exception to the Federal Tort Claims Act, and whether it truly extends to "any claim" arising out of negligent transmission, including those for physical injury to individuals, or whether it is limited to claims for damaged mail.
Questions as Framed for the Court by the Parties
Does not this case – which involved a determination of whether the district court had jurisdiction over the claim of plaintiff when her injury was caused by the negligent placement of mail at the place of delivery – call for an exercise of this Court's supervisory power where there is a dispute between the circuits of the Court of Appeals as to whether the exception to the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. ? 2680(b) barred this lawsuit and where the Third Circuit narrowly construed the Act?