Plaintiff filed suit against the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. 2675(a), after surgery at a VA medical center rendered him quadriplegic. The district court found the VA liable for plaintiff's injuries and awarded him $4,468,859.91 in damages. Both parties appealed. The court vacated the district court's decision insofar as it offset the award for future medical care and supplies, holding that federal law does not require that a veteran injured as a result of the VA’s malpractice be forced to continue under VA care or lack of financial resources and be subject to a concomitant offset, and New York state law does not warrant such an offset. The court also held that the district court failed to provide adequate analysis to support both its denial of plaintiff’s motion to increase the ad damnum and its decision to set the award for past and future pain and suffering at $2 million, and the court remanded with directions that the district court consider anew plaintiff’s motion to increase the ad damnum, taking into account the testimony of plaintiff's treating physician, and determine damages without an offset for future receipt of medical care and supplies from the VA, consistent with this opinion. Finally, the court affirmed the district court’s decision not to further offset the award for future home health services on the ground that the provision of such services going forward is not reasonably certain. View "Malmberg v. United States" on Justia Law
Plaintiff, as the administrator of his sister's estate, sued defendant in Connecticut state court, alleging that it negligently failed to timely diagnose the colon cancer that caused her death. Defendant removed the case to federal court. On appeal, plaintiff challenged the district court's dismissal of his medical malpractice claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The court concluded that the district court may have mistakenly interpreted its precedent in A.Q.C. ex rel. Castillo v. United States, which held that it was not an abuse of discretion to deny equitable tolling to a plaintiff whose law firm did "literally nothing" to determine the federal status of plaintiff's health care provider; the district court did not fully consider whether, despite the differences between this case and A.Q.C., plaintiff's lawyers had reason to know that they should have investigated defendant's federal status; and, therefore, the court remanded for reconsideration because it could not be certain on the present record whether the district court's decision should be affirmed under the correct legal standard. View "Phillips v. Generations Family Health Center" on Justia Law
This case arose when plaintiff, by her mother and natural guardian, brought a medical malpractice action under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. 1346, 2401, 2671-2680, claiming that the injury plaintiff sustained at birth might have been caused by her doctor. At issue was whether plaintiff's claim was "forever barred" by the FTCA's two-year statute of limitations period. The court held that, because plaintiff failed to comply with the two-year limitations period set out in section 2401(b) and because equitable tolling, even if available, was unwarranted, the judgment of the district court dismissing the complaint as untimely was affirmed.