J anuary 31, 2013

VIA FEDERAL EXPRESS AND FACSIMILE: (215) 351-3852

Ms. J ennifer Breslin
Senior Litigation Counsel
United States Postal Service
Eastern Area Law Office
3190 South 70
th
Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19153

RE: Automated Traffic Control Violation Notices Nos.: 2181200882419,
2181200882724, 2181200882930, 2181200888705, 2181300000276,
2181200858856, and 2181200856231

Dear Ms. Breslin:

Please accept this letter in response to your correspondence dated J anuary 22, 2013, wherein
you addressed several traffic citations United States Postal Service (“USPS”) employees(s)
received while in the course of performing their job duties in the City of East Cleveland, Ohio.

To begin, we must admit our surprise upon reading your letter. Please understand that as a
photo traffic safety company we have grown accustomed to receiving letters from citizens and
entities asserting traffic laws do not apply to them. However, we never expected to receive
such a letter from the USPS. The crux of your argument appears to be that due to its status as
an “independent establishment of the executive branch of the Government of the United States”
the USPS and all its drivers are rendered virtually untouchable by state and local laws.

Unfortunately for the USPS, this proposition is completely contrary to the case law, is in direct
conflict with the instructions set forth in the Postal Employee’s Guide to Safety Manual, and
contradicts other instances where the USPS has paid similar photo enforcement violations.

Although the United States government is free from state regulation in the absence of
congressional mandate to the contrary, Hancock v. Train, 426 U.S. 167, 178–81 (1976), the
USPS's immunity does not shield its employees from civil fines for violations of statutes,
regulations, or ordinances relating to the safe operation of motor vehicles. See Commonwealth
of Virginia v. Stiff, 144 F.Supp. 169 (W.D. Va. 1956); State of Oklahoma v. Willingham, 143
F.Supp. 445 (E.D. Okla. 1956). In Commonwealth v. Closson, the court held that the driver of a
vehicle transporting United States mail is not exempt from the operation of state statutes and
municipal ordinances regulating traffic on the highways. 229 Mass. 329, 118 N.E. 653, (1918).
Thus, a fine for a violation committed while using a government vehicle is the personal
responsibility of an employee.

Here, the East Cleveland ordinance establishing its photo enforcement program imposes liability
for red-light violations on the owner of the vehicle. East Cleveland Ordinance No. 07-06,
Section 1(c)(1). Pursuant to the statute, the owner of the vehicle may transfer liability to the
Letter to J ennifer S. Breslin
J anuary 31, 2013
Page 2

operator of the vehicle by providing an affidavit identifying the operator. East Cleveland
Ordinance No. 07-06, Section 1(c)(4)i. Rather than asserting immunity and demonstrating to its
employees and the public that USPS postal carriers can drive recklessly without penalty, the
USPS would be better served to simply transfer liability to the driver committing the violation so
that the employee may take personal responsibility, as the City of East Cleveland ordinance
contemplates.

Furthermore, such a course of action is consistent with the Postal Employee’s Guide to Safety
Manual (“Employee Safety Guide”) (http://www.nalc.org/depart/cau/pdf/manuals/EL-
814%20(2006-Aug).pdf), presumably issued to all postal service employees, which states that
employees must “obey all state and local traffic laws when driving any Postal Service vehicle.”
Employees “will receive no special privileges or rights as a postal driver.” The Employee Safety
Guide clearly makes “citations for traffic violations” the personal responsibility of the employee.
See Employee Safety Guide, Section X, Motor Vehicles, Section B. It is disturbing, to say the
least, to think that the USPS would not only permit, but actually assist its employees to avoid
personal responsibility by attempting to shield them with an assertion of USPS immunity rather
than transferring liability to them so that they can be held personally responsible for their poor
driving.

It’s evident that the case law is settled on the side of liability for traffic infractions, and the
Employee Safety Guide imposes personal responsibility for civil infractions on each and every
USPS employee. Yet, you as counsel for the USPS, write to us to inform us that instead, the
USPS is only obligated to “work within local and state laws and regulations, when feasible.”
Surely you are not arguing that the drafters of the statutory language envisioned carving out
protection for the irresponsible and dangerous driving habits of USPS drivers.

Finally, please allow me to remind you of just a few examples where the driving and non-driving
habits of various USPS carriers resulted in well publicized legal consequences which were
found to be in conflict with USPS’ mission “of providing prompt, reliable and efficient mail
services to all communities…” My first example is out of New Mexico, where a USPS truck
rolled over after colliding with another vehicle. The driver was cited for running a red-light at the
intersection and causing the accident. Our second example is from Massachusetts, where a
USPS truck driver was cited with failure to yield for a bicyclist after he struck a four-year old girl
on a bicycle. In Wisconsin, a USPS truck driver was cited for operating a vehicle while
intoxicated on the job. My last and favorite example is of the USPS truck driver delivering mail
while naked. He was arrested for lewd and lascivious behavior.

The tickets you disclaimed liability for in your J anuary 22, 2013 letter were received by the
USPS for its driver(s) running red-lights as well as speeding in school zones. By attempting to
hide behind an immunity claim, you are aiding and abetting your drivers in their blatant
disregard for the traffic laws in East Cleveland, which have endangered other drivers,
pedestrians and school children.

We suggest that you transfer the liability for the infractions to the USPS drivers who incurred
them, and instruct them that pursuant to Ohio law, as well as the USPS guidelines, the
infractions are their responsibility. If you choose to ignore the infractions, penalties and fines
will continue to accumulate.

Letter to J ennifer S. Breslin
J anuary 31, 2013
Page 3

In closing, in light of your immunity assertion, we have taken the liberty of crafting a revised
version of the Post Office Creed:

Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night, nor traffic
lights stays these couriers from the swift completion of their
appointed rounds.

Sincerely,

American Traffic Solutions, Inc.



George J . Hittner
General Counsel and Corporate Secretary


Cc: Mr. Patrick Donahoe
Postmaster General and Chief Executive Officer
United States Postal Service

The Honorable Tom Carper
Chairman, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
United States Senate

The Honorable Tom Coburn
Ranking Member, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
United States Senate

The Honorable Darrell Issa
Chairman, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
House of Representatives

The Honorable Elijah Cummings
Ranking Member, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
House of Representatives


City of East Cleveland
14340 Euclid Ave
East Cleveland, OH 44112
DECLARATION/AFFIDAVIT
Document Number: 2181200882419 Date Created: 1/24/2013 10:28:50 AM
1/25/2013 9:35:13 AM Page 1 of 2
Received On: 112412013
By: KFIELDS
EASTERN AREA LAW OFFICE
PHILADELPHIA, PA
,0 UNITEDSTL1TES
POSTL1L SERVICE
January 22,2013
City Of East Cleveland
Automated Traffic Control Violation System
P.O. Box 742503
Cincinnati, OH 45274-2503
City of East Cleveland
Automated Traffic Control Violation
System
P.O. Box 22091
Tempe, AZ 85285-2091
RE: Automated Traffic Control Violation Notice
Notice Nos.: 2181200882419
2181200882724
2181200882930
2181200888705
2181300000276
2181200858856
2181200856231
To Whom It May Concern:
Please accept this letter in response to your Notice of Liability sent to the United
States Postal Service facility at 1801 Broadway Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44101-
9000, seeking payment of the above-referenced citation.
As an initial matter, you should know that the United States Postal Service is proud
to serve the many thousands of communities across the country, including those in
Cleveland, Ohio. With over 27,500 post offices delivering well over 200 billion
pieces of mail annually, the Postal Service continues to meet its mission of providing
prompt, reliable, and efficient mail services to all communities, as it has done for
over two centuries.
In providing mail service across the country, the Postal Service attempts to work
within local and state laws and regulations, when feasible. However, as you are
probably aware, the Postal Service enjoys federal immunity from state and local
regulation.
The Constitution of the United States authorizes Congress to establish Post Offices
and in 1775 the first Post Offices were founded. U.S. Canst. art. I §8, cl.7. In 1971,
Congress enacted the Postal Reorganization Act ("PRA") which established the
United States Postal Service as an "independent establishment of the executive
3190 SOUTH 70
TH
STREET
PHILADELPHIA, PA 19153
VOICE:  
FAX: 215-351-3852
City of East Cleveland
14340 Euclid Ave
East Cleveland, OH 44112
DECLARATION/AFFIDAVIT
Document Number: 2181200882419 Date Created: 1/24/2013 10:28:50 AM
1/25/2013 9:35:13 AM Page 2 of 2
Received On: 112412013
By: KFIELDS
-2-
branch of the Government of the United States." 39 U.S.C. §201.
The Postal Service requires its employees to obey all traffic laws and rules while
operating Postal Service vehicles and while operating a self-owned vehicle while
conducting Postal Service business activities. However, the state and/or local
ordinances imposing penalties and fines cannot be enforced as against the Postal
Service, and there is no statutory basis for doing so. Accordingly, the Postal Service
will not pay the civil penalties assessed against it in the above-referenced Notices of
Liability.
Should you have any questions or wish to discuss, please do not hesitate to contact
me.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Respectfully,

JENNIFER S. BRESLIN
Senior Litigation Counsel
Eastern Area Law Office
3190 South 70
th
Street
Philadelphia, PA 19153
(215) 351-3840
cc: Jill Miniard
Mark V. James
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