United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
544 F.2d 1 (D.C. Cir. 1976)
Legille et al. (plaintiffs) mailed a package containing four patent applications from East Hartford, Connecticut to Dann, Commissioner, U.S. Patent Office (defendant) in Washington, DC on March 1, 1973. The package was addressed correctly, marked “Airmail,” and had sufficient postage to get to DC via airmail. The typical time for a package to go from East Hartford to DC via airmail was two days. However, the package was marked as received by the Patent Office on March 8, 1973. The Patent Office had a standard procedure for receiving mail including two different employees checking and stamping the date the mail was received. Both stamps indicated that the package was received on March 8. Due to this delay in receipt, three of the patent applications were denied as they had to have been received by March 6. Legille filed suit seeking a declaratory judgment that the package was received by the Patent Office no later than March 6. The district court granted summary judgment to Legille based on the presumption that that properly addressed, stamped, and deposited piece of mail was properly and promptly delivered to the addressee.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Robinson, J.)
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