Soldier's mother sues over letter stamped 'deceased'

Washington:  The mother of a US soldier deployed in Iraq is suing the US Postal Service after a letter she sent to her son was returned wrongly stamped "deceased" on the envelope.

Joan Najbar of Duluth, Minnesota sent a letter in September 2006 to her son, who spent a total of 22 months deployed in Iraq.

Two weeks later, the USPS returned the letter marked with a red "deceased" stamp, indicating it was undeliverable because the recipient was dead.

Having heard nothing from her son, Najbar contacted the American Red Cross, who informed her that he was still very much alive and had not been killed in combat as she had feared.

"Stamping 'deceased' on a soldier's mail and returning the mail to the soldier's family when, in fact, the soldier is not dead constitutes extreme and outrageous conduct and exceeds the boundaries of decency," she said in her lawsuit filed last month in US District Court in Minneapolis.

Najbar filed a claim with USPS in July 2008 citing "the emotional distress with physical manifestations" she suffered after receiving the stamped letter.
That claim was denied, with the Postal Service responding that "there was no evidence of a negligent act or omission by the USPS or its employees."

According to Najbar's court filing, she has "never received an apology from the USPS, not has she ever received an explanation as to why the letter to her son in Iraq was stamped 'deceased' in red when, in fact, he was alive."

Story First Published: December 03, 2009 09:17 IST

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