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Post office wins fruitcake suit was the headline that caught my eye.

When I came across this story carried by the Associated Press I thought it was a variation on the tort reform effort to label many lawsuits as frivolous. It turns out the lawsuit, although lost by the plaintiff, was a trip and fall claim based upon an alleged defect in the Post Office and the conduct of a postal clerk. The fruitcake, well…the fruitcake was real and not a comment on the nature of the claim or claimant.

A judge dismissed a Delaware woman’s suit against the U.S. Postal Service but agreed that a rude clerk didn’t help the post office’s “lamentable reputation.”

Lucille Greene, now 88, said in her lawsuit that she tripped and fell outside the Magnolia Post Office in December 2002 after leaving in tears when a clerk made fun of the Christmas fruitcakes she was mailing. The clerk accepted the packages but he also shook them and jokingly asked Greene if she was trying to send bombs.

After investigating falls at dozens of Post Offices throughout Florida over my career, I have come to the conclusion that many are the result of a hazard in the sidewalk or parking area. For reasons I cannot explain the building codes and standards which are applied to all other businesses are not always met at postal facilities.

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