The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's tort action against the United States for the tragic death of his wife. Plaintiff's wife was a lieutenant in the Navy and she died due to a complication following childbirth. The panel held that plaintiff's medical malpractice claims were barred under the Feres doctrine, which provided governmental immunity from tort claims involving injuries to service members that were incident to military service. View "Daniel v. United States" on Justia Law
The district court erred in dismissing for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction plaintiff's administratively exhausted Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. 1346, claim following the United States' second removal. In this case, plaintiff filed a medical malpractice suit against his medical providers, alleging that his mother had died of postpartum hemmorhage shortly after giving birth to him. The district court concluded that it lacked subject-matter jurisdiction over plaintiff's claims arising from Dr. Bencomo's actions, dismissed those claims without prejudice, and once again remanded the state claims against the individual defendants. The Ninth Circuit held that plaintiff's initial failure to exhaust his administrative remedies as to Dr. Bencomo whom plaintiff reasonably did not know was covered by the FTCA deprived the federal courts of subject-matter jurisdiction over plaintiff's FTCA claim even after plaintiff dismissed his initial suit against Dr. Bencomo, and then exhausted his administrative remedies before amending his complaint in state court to add Dr. Bencomo again. View "D. L. V. United States" on Justia Law
Brian Fitzgerald appealed for a second time the district court's award to him of $33,333 in quantum meruit - for his services in a medical malpractice case appellee had settled on behalf of Wende Nostro, a client Fitzgerald had referred to appellee - based on the unjust enrichment he conferred on appellee. The court held that the initial measure of Fitzgerald's quantum meruit award was one-third of appellee's $500,000 recovery from the Nostro settlement, or $166,666. The court further held that the $166,666 amount should be reduced to the extent Fitzgerald decreased the overall value to appellee of the Nostro case. Accordingly, the court vacated the district court's order and remanded with instructions that the district court enter a final quantum meruit award of $100,000 for Fitzgerald.
After his unsuccessful cataract surgery, plaintiff brought a claim for battery against the United States government and his United States Navy surgeon. The United States invoked the Gonzalez Act, 10 U.S.C. 1089, immunizing individual military medical personnel from malpractice liability. At issue was whether section 1089(e) waived the government's sovereign immunity for common law battery claims. The court held that it did not and affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's complaint for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. The court did not address plaintiff's remaining claims.
Posted in: Government & Administrative Law, Injury Law, Medical Malpractice, Military Law, U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals