United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
SHEILA COLIHAN, PLAINTIFF: LLOYD R. HAMPTON, HAMPTON AND
HAMPTON, ASHLAND, PA USA.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, DEFENDANT: NADINE M. OVERTON, U.S.
ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, PHILA, PA USA. For UNITED STATES
POSTAL SERVICE, DEFENDANT: JAMES G. SHEEHAN, ASSISTANT U.S.
ATTORNEY-CIVIL DIVISION, PHILA, PA USA.
UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE, THIRD-PARTY PLAINTIFF: JAMES G.
SHEEHAN, ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY-CIVIL DIVISION, PHILA, PA
JUDGES: JAMES R. MELINSON, U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
R. MELINSON, U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
a tort action against the United States of America alleging
the negligence of United States Postal Service employees
while acting within the scope of their employment. Plaintiff,
Sheila Colihan, initiated this civil action as a result of
injuries sustained from a fall that occurred on February 16,
1994, on the sidewalk outside the United States Post Office
located in Ashland, Pennsylvania. Colihan is employed as a
staff nurse in the Emergency Room at Good Samaritan Regional
Medical Center in Pottsville, Pennsylvania. At the time of
the fall, Colihan was thirty years old.
seeks to recover money damages for past and future lost
wages, medical expenses, and past, present and future pain
and suffering from the defendant, the United States Postal
case was tried before this court without a jury on January
15, 1997. After carefully considering all the evidence
presented at trial and the proposed findings of fact and
conclusions of law filed by the parties, this court makes the
following findings of fact and conclusions of law as required
by Rule 52 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
February 11, 1994, Ashland, Pennsylvania was stricken by a
snowstorm that left an average of 21 to 25 inches of snow and
ice. During the following days, the temperatures varied and
resulted in the repeated melting and freezing of the snow and
ice. As the result of this significant snowfall, employees of
the post office shovelled a walkway from the parking lot to
the building for the use of the patrons of the post office.
morning of February 16, 1994, Alan McCormick, a supervisor at
the Ashland Post Office, arrived at 5:45 a.m. to ready the
post office for the day's business. At approximately 6:00
a.m., and again at approximately 7:45 a.m., calcium chloride,
a melting agent, was applied to the sidewalk outside the Post
Office by McCormick and his fellow employee, Walter Tedrick.
At a corner of the building nearest Colihan's fall there
was an approximately 38 inch accumulation snow. This
accumulation was the result of snow drifting off the roof and
snow shoveled from the sidewalk to clear a walkway to the
Post Office. The walkway was shoveled by post office
employees. A yellow sawhorse was placed beside the sidewalk
in front of the snow accumulation as a warning to patrons of
the post office that a dangerous condition existed.
maintains a post office box at the Ashland Post Office. On
the morning of February 16, 1994, she arrived there at
approximately 8:45 a.m. to pick up her mail. Colihan had just
dropped her daughter off at school, and decided to stop at
the post office on her way back home. She was wearing sweat
pants, a sweat shirt with a night shirt underneath, a
hip-length jacket, and cross-trainer sneakers. She left the
car engine running to keep it warm in the cold ...