Virginia Lawyers Weekly//January 10, 2022
Virginia Lawyers Weekly//January 10, 2022//
Type of action: Federal Tort Claims Act, personal injury
Injuries alleged: Injury resulting in a permanent deformity of the pinky finger, disability
Name of case: Blanco v. United States
Court: U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Norfolk Division
Case no.: 2:19cv137
Tried before: Judge
Name of judge or mediator: Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen
Date resolved: 7/15/2021
Special damages: $22,966.61 in medical bills
Verdict or settlement: Verdict
Amount: $0 (defense)
Attorney for defendant (and city): Virginia Van Valkenburg, Norfolk
Description of case: Plaintiff Stephanie Blanco had an argument with a postal worker at a U.S. Post Office. Ms. Blanco claimed that, during the argument, the postal worker “negligently slammed” her finger in the top half of a Dutch door, causing injury to her middle finger, ring finger and pinky finger on her left hand. She claimed that her injuries required surgery to her pinky finger, as well as several rounds of physical therapy.
Ms. Blanco claimed permanent injury and disability to her pinky finger, including deformity and diminished grip strength. She testified that she was no longer able to perform certain household chores, and that the disability prevented her from working at her calling as a veterinarian technician.
The United States disputed that Ms. Blanco’s hand was slammed in a door at the post office.
Judge Allen found that the postal worker responded to an upset customer in a reasonable and safe manner, and did not breach any duty to Ms. Blanco. The court further found that even under Ms. Blanco’s version of events, that if the postal worker had been found negligent, Ms. Blanco would have been found contributorily negligent. Lastly, Judge Allen found that Ms. Blanco failed to establish the reasonableness, medical necessity and causal relationship between the proffered medical bills and the alleged incident at the post office.
Verdict for the United States.