Postal Updates

By Bill McAllister, Washington Correspondent

Appeals court rejects PRC decision in postal rate case

May 12, 2015 12:10 PM

A long-awaited decision by a United States federal appeals court has failed to end a dispute over the last postal rate increase.

The appeals court sent the dispute back to the Postal Regulatory Commission, calling its decision in a rate case that was filed in September 2013 "arbitrary and capricious for lack of reasoned decision making."

It told the commission in a May 12 ruling that it must rewrite the decision "to enunciate an intelligible standard and then reconsider its decision in light of that standard."

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia also rejected many of the U.S. Postal Service's arguments against the commission's ruling in the case.

It said the case has revolved around whether or not the commission had authority to rule that mail preparation requirements were "changes in rates."

The Postal Service argued that it — not the commission — is empowered to make such changes.

The appeals court rejected that reasoning.

"We therefore reject the Postal Service's claim that the 'plain meaning' of the [postal] Act and regulations positively forbid the Commission from counting an operational change that has rate effects as a 'change in rates,'" the three-judge panel said.

A USPS spokeswoman said the agency was reviewing the ruling.