WASHINGTON (CN) – A federal judge ruled that no contract ever existed between the U.S. Postal Service and postage meter manufacturers, laying waste to the manufacturers’ claims that the Postal Service’s new regulations destroyed their businesses and deprived them of more than $80 million.
The postage meter companies, including Ascom Hasler Mailing Systems and Neopost said the Postal Service violated their contractual and constitutionally protected property rights by adopting new regulations that required all postage payments be sent directly to the Postal Service.
“Under the old regulations, postage meter customers were required to send their postage payments to the meter companies, who then paid the monies to the U.S. Postal Service after the customer checks cleared their banks,” the Justice Department said in a statement. “The new regulations removed the postage meter middle-man, and required that all postage payment be sent directly to the U.S. Postal Service. As a result, the postage meter companies claimed that they were deprived of over $80 million in interest on the monies held in their trust accounts.”
U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman ended the 12-year engagement by ruling that no contract existed between meter manufacturers and Postal Service that protect the manufacturers’ right to earn interest, and that the regulation “did not amount to an unconstitutional taking of property because it did not deprive the manufacturers of the value or profitability in the meter manufacturing business.”