DC Circuit Court Rejects Appeals

Released November 17, 2021

The DC Circuit Court of Appeals released a decision on late Friday, 11/12 -- rejecting appeals both from Mailers (i.e. Mail Owners, Mail Service Providers) and the Postal Service challenging the PRC 10-Year review decision from opposite poles.

As previously described in the PAA of July 10, 2021 -- the 10-Year Review decision provided the Postal Service with additional Pricing authority beyond CPI (Consumer Price Increase).

Dropping a letter in the mail

Regarding the PRC (Postal Regulatory Commission)

The court found that the PRC’s interpretation of Postal Law’s (PAEA) rate setting provisions was reasonable. Furthermore, it also found that the PRC had not gone beyond its constitutional delegation authority, because PAEA included a standard that provided rational principles to guide them.

Regarding the Mailers

The court disagreed with the Mailers that the “Rate Cap at CPI” was mandatory, and walked through their view of how the legislation applied, which allowed for the PRC’s result.

The Court went on to reject all of the various assertions of arbitrariness and capriciousness that had been raised in the Mailer’s brief. It did so on the judicially-confirmed principle of deference to an expert regulatory body, finding that all the decisions complained about had rational bases.

Regarding the Postal Service

Finally, the Court rejected the Postal Service’s claims that the PRC failed to provide enough pricing authority on postal rates.

While the decision was unfortunate and disappointing to the industry -- it was anticipated that it could happen. Mailing Industry Associations have been conferring this week to determine the best course of action to recommend from here. There are really only three possibilities:

  1. Ask for a rehearing by the DC Circuit before all judges of the Circuit court, and not just the three who decided the case; or
  2. Petition the US Supreme Court to accept the case for review; or
  3. Do nothing further on this case.

RRD Postal Affairs will continue to provide you with important updates as they become available. For questions, please contact Postal.Affairs@rrd.com.

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