668 Legal Assistance Provided by the Postal Service

668.1 Representation of Postal Service Employees by the Department of Justice in Civil and Criminal Cases

668.11 General

Under the following procedures, an employee (hereby defined to include present and former employees or their estates) may be provided representation in civil proceedings and in state criminal proceedings in which they are sued, subpoenaed, or charged in their official capacity, when the actions for which representation is requested reasonably appear to have been performed within the scope of their employment, and providing representation would be in the interest of the United States.

A provision of the Federal Tort Claims Act prohibits suits against individual Government employees (including Postal Service employees) for loss, damage, or destruction of property or personal injury or death when caused by the negligent or wrongful act or omission of the employee while acting within the scope of his or her employment (Title 28, U.S.C. Section 2679).

668.12 Procedure for Requesting Legal Representation by the Department of Justice
668.121 Employee Responsibilities

An employee who believes he or she is entitled to representation by the Department of Justice in a proceeding must promptly submit a written request for that representation, together with all process and pleadings served, to the employee’s installation head. Failure to submit a request promptly may prevent the processing necessary to obtain approval of the employee’s request. In order to give a request proper consideration, it must contain a detailed statement from the employee of his or her knowledge of the subject matter of the proceeding and be accompanied by all pertinent documents. The Department of Justice asks that the letter requesting representation be addressed to the:

ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL CIVIL DIVISION
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
WASHINGTON DC 20530–0001

but that the request letter not be sent directly to the Assistant Attorney General. The request is to be sent directly to the employee’s installation head, who will in turn forward the request in accordance with 668.122. The Department of Justice requires that the request contain:

  1. The date the employee was served.
  2. The date on which the employee must respond or appear at a proceeding.
  3. A statement that the employee has read the complaint; that all conduct related to the allegations in the complaint occurred within the scope of the employee’s official duties; and that such conduct was done in the good faith belief that it was proper.
  4. A statement describing in detail the employee’s knowledge of the subject matter of the complaint. Failure to provide a detailed statement of the facts may prevent the processing necessary to obtain approval of the request.
668.122 Installation Head or Higher Level Official Responsibilities

The installation head or next higher level or other designated official must:

  1. Add to the employee’s request a separate statement indicating whether they believe the employee was acting within the scope of his or her employment at the time of the conduct which is the focus of the suit, subpoena, or citation.
  2. Forward the request without delay to the managing counsel for the area in which the proceeding arose.
  3. Submit a covering transmittal memorandum to the managing counsel containing a recommendation as to whether providing the employee representation would be in the best interests of the Postal Service and a statement detailing the installation head’s or appropriate designee’s knowledge of the subject matter of the case.
668.123 Postal Inspection Service and Office of Inspector General

Postal Inspection Service personnel and Office of Inspector General personnel should follow procedures established by the chief postal inspector and inspector general respectively to request representation by the Department of Justice rather than follow the procedures set forth in this section.

668.124 Criteria for Granting Representation

The Department of Justice provides representation at its discretion and only after it determines that the employee acted within the scope of his or her authority and that such representation would be in the best interest of the United States.

668.125 Department of Justice Representation

Upon determination by the Department of Justice that an attorney will represent an employee, the employee will be so notified, and will be provided information about the nature of Department of Justice representation.

668.2 Reimbursement of Employees for Legal Fees, Judgments, and Settlements

668.21 Legal Fees

An employee whose request under 668.12 has been denied for any reason may request reimbursement for legal fees incurred by his or her use of private counsel through the appropriate managing counsel.

668.22 Judgments and Settlements

An employee who has filed a request for representation under 668.12 may file a request for payment of any adverse judgment or settlement with the appropriate managing counsel.

668.23 Criteria for Reimbursement

Each request for reimbursement for legal fees, judgments, or settlements will be considered by the managing counsel on its individual merits after the case is concluded. Generally, reimbursement will be made if:

  1. It is equitable and fair to do so.
  2. The employee acted reasonably, within the scope of his or her authority, and not recklessly, in bad faith, or with obvious indifference to instructions.
  3. The amount requested is reasonable, and reimbursement is deemed to be in the best interest of the Postal Service.

668.3 USPS Governors and Officers

668.31 Requests for Legal Representation

The provisions of 668 apply also to the governors and officers and inspector general of the Postal Service. If such persons are named as defendants and desire to be represented by the Department of Justice, they must submit their requests in accordance with 668.12 to the general counsel. However, the Chairman of the Board of Governors and the postmaster general submit their requests directly to the General Counsel. The Inspector General submits the request through the OIG General Counsel to the USPS General Counsel.

668.32 Legal Fees

A person covered by 668.3 who is represented by private counsel may apply to the general counsel for payment or reimbursement for legal fees. The general counsel will exercise discretion according to the criteria in 668.23.

668.33 Judgments and Settlements

A person covered by 668.3 may apply to the general counsel for payment or reimbursement for any adverse judgment or settlement. The general counsel will exercise discretion according to the criteria in 668.23.