admits that he is requesting reimbursement for the cost of obtaining the original documents which were lost. For example, in his Complaint, plaintiff states that he seeks reimbursement for "$ 600 invested in construction of the original documents lost in mail. . . ." Complaint at 3 (emphasis added).
Defendants argue, and this Court agrees, that the postal regulations provide for reimbursement only of the reasonable costs of reconstructing nonnegotiable documents, and not for the cost of obtaining the original documents. IMM § 935.1 states in part that: "Express Mail International Service (EMS) shipments are covered by document reconstruction and merchandise insurance in case of loss, damage, or rifling." (emphasis added). The specifics of indemnity for document reconstruction are laid out in DMM § S010.2.12. That section specifies that "indemnity is not paid for the cost of preparing the document mailed or for the mailer's time in preparing the document." DMM § S010.2.12(a)(1). Instead, only the reasonable cost of reconstructing exact duplicates are reimbursed. Id.
As stated above, plaintiff does not allege that the lost documents were ever reconstructed, and specifically argues for reimbursement of the costs associated with the original documents. Because plaintiff has not incurred expenses in reconstruction of the documents, his losses are purely consequential and not compensable under postal regulations. See DMM § S010.2.14(s).
Plaintiff argues, however, that defendants remain liable to him because the legal documents were not capable of reconstruction and therefore fall within an exception of the above postal regulations. Specifically, DMM § S010.2.12(a)(3) provides that indemnity is paid for "loss or damage to nonnegotiable documents that cannot be reconstructed, providing the sender establishes the value of the documents."
Plaintiff presents two theories to explain why the documents -- all "registered and stamped" by the Russian Consulate in New York and necessary for the addressee, Ms. Dmitrieva, to obtain a visa to visit the United States -- are not capable of being reconstructed. First, plaintiff argues that the validity of those originals expired after six months and therefore the Russian consulate could not reconstruct those documents after six months. Second, plaintiff argues that the documents cannot be reconstructed because Ms. Dmitrieva is now residing in New York as his wife, and there would be no purpose to reconstructing the documents.
Both of plaintiff's arguments are unavailing. Read in context, it is clear that DMM § S010.2.12(a)(3) is a narrow exception limited to documents which, by their very nature, are never capable of reconstruction and have intrinsic monetary value, such as certain types of bond certificates. Clearly, plaintiff's documents were of the type that could be reconstructed. Plaintiff himself implies that the lost documents were, at one point, capable of reconstruction. First, he points out that the Russian consulate could have reissued the documents within six months of issuing the originals. See Plaintiff's Notice of Opposition to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss at 1. Second, in a letter dated February 7, 1994, he specifically stated that he would not demand reimbursement if the USPS itself reconstructed the documents. Defs. Ex. F-6 (Plaintiff suggests that the USPS "provide a new document from mentioned above consulate and mail it to addressee . . . . [The USPS] can use the data consulate already possesses about me and the addressee, to fill out the appropriate application form for invitation document. If [the USPS] accomplish[es] this job [it has] nothing to refund.").
Because plaintiff never reconstructed the lost documents and because they do not fall within the exceptional category of documents that cannot be reconstructed, plaintiff fails to state a claim for reimbursement for his lost documents.
III. Plaintiff's Remaining Claims.
Plaintiff's remaining requests for reimbursement also fail to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. His claim for charges for long distance calls made in connection with the loss of the package is not reimbursable because the USPS regulations do not provide for reimbursement for the adverse effects or consequential losses resulting from the loss of mail. DMM § S010.2.14(s). Plaintiff's claims for personal suffering, punitive damages, filing fees, and other costs associated with this lawsuit are not payable for the same reason.
IV. Defendants' Motion to Strike Plaintiff's Jury Demand
Because defendants' motion to dismiss is granted, this Court need not address defendants' motion to strike plaintiff's jury demand.
For the foregoing reasons, Defendants' motion to dismiss plaintiff's claims is granted, and the Clerk of the Court is directed to close this case.
Sterling Johnson, Jr.
Dated: Brooklyn, New York
March 26, 1997