If my mail has been opened by my mail carrier or someone else before reach me, can I sue the post office?

UPDATED: Sep 13, 2011

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If my mail has been opened by my mail carrier or someone else before reach me, can I sue the post office?

Isn’t this a federal offense?

Asked on September 13, 2011 under General Practice, Oklahoma


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Tampering with the U.S. mail is a federal offense, and you can and should report this to the U.S. Post Office so they can look into it.

However, that does not necessarily mean you can the Post Office. There are a number of significant issues blocking your ability to impose liability--the Post Office's degree of culpability, which includes issues of fault; sovereign immunity to many causes of action, which may include this one; the issue of whether you have actually been damaged (suffered some loss)  in such way that you could obtain compensation or recovery; etc. Not every violation of law results in a lawsuit; for example, if someone is speeding, you could potentially call the police so they can watch out for him or her--but you can't sue the driver for the violation.

If you ever determine a specific person who is doing the tampering and you have suffered some loss thereby, then you may have a legal action.

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