Court Affirms Dismissal of Postal Worker’s Personal Injury Suit Arising From Defective Mailbox

In Soto v. New Frontiers 2 Hope Hous. Dev. Fund Co. (decided June 10, 2014), the Appellate Division, First Department affirmed the dismissal of plaintiff’s complaint.

Plaintiff, a postal worker, was allegedly injured “when the mailbox receptacle unit in defendants’ building fell into the wall as she was closing the unit after placing the mail in the individual mail boxes.

The court held:

Defendants sustained their initial burden of demonstrating that they did not cause, create or have actual or constructive notice of a defect in the mailbox receptacle unit, that the defect was not visible or apparent, and that a reasonable inspection would not have revealed that the box was loose.

It also held that the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur was “inapplicable because defendants did not have exclusive access to the mailbox receptacle unit. It is undisputed that only postal employees, like plaintiff, were given a key.”