PHILADELPHIA – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit says a man who alleged his local post office violated his property and due process rights had filed a case which failed to state a claim.

On Sept. 28, Third Circuit judges Patty Shwartz, Robert E. Cowen and Julio M. Fuentes ruled to dismiss the action brought by plaintiff Jamie Elliott of Philadelphia.

Elliott filed a complaint against the Point Breeze Station Mail Department located on Snyder Avenue in Philadelphia, a United States Post Office, seeking money damages, though the factual allegations in the complaint are “unintelligible," according to a federal court.

Elliott avers in 2011, he was the victim of “mail errors.” Elliott appeared to claim violations of his property rights, his due process rights, and his right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment.

The District Court decided it did not appear that Elliott had “a timely, plausible basis for a non-frivolous claim” and had issues in discerning its substance. Based on the complaint and Elliott’s filings in other actions, the District Court ruled that “further amendment of the complaint would be futile.”

Elliott filed a motion for reconsideration, asserting his complaint was based “on the fact that the mail station does not put his mail in a legal mail box and always delivers the mail late.”

The District Court denied that motion.

In its rationale, the District Court explained, “to the extent Elliott sought to bring claims based on errors in the delivery of his mail, there is no legal basis for such claims because the waiver of sovereign immunity under the Federal Tort Claims Act does not apply.”

Elliott proceeded to appeal the federal court’s determination and denial.

“Elliott has not developed any arguments on appeal as to how the District Court erred in dismissing his complaint…the factual basis set forth in the complaint for Elliott’s claims is indecipherable and insufficient to state a plausible claim. We also find no error in the District Court’s dismissal of the complaint without leave to amend where the complaint did not suggest that Elliott might be able to plead a plausible claim,” the Third Circuit said.

“The District Court also did not err in denying Elliott’s motion for reconsideration. As noted above, Elliott stated that his complaint was based on a failure to place his mail in the mail box and on late mail delivery, but, as recognized by the District Court, the Postal Service has federal sovereign immunity absent a waiver, and the waiver to immunity under the Federal Tort Claims Act does not apply to such claims,” the Third Circuit stated.

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit case 17-1326

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania case 2:17-cv-00257

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at

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