Court: US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
Opinion Date: July 21, 2021
Judge: Pamela Harris
Areas of Law: Civil Rights, Constitutional Law, Personal Injury
Plaintiff filed suit alleging that prison officials ignored his repeated medical complaints and denied him meaningful treatment, leading to his collapse and major surgery. Plaintiff alleged a Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) claim against the United States for medical negligence, as well as a Bivens claim against certain individuals involved in his care for deliberate indifference in violation of the Eighth Amendment.
The Fourth Circuit concluded that the district court erroneously dismissed the FTCA claim because the plaintiff did not secure a certification from a medical expert before filing suit, as required by West Virginia law. As two of its sister circuits have concluded, state-law certification requirements like West Virginia’s are inconsistent with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and thus displaced by those rules in federal court. Accordingly, the court reversed the district court’s dismissal of the FTCA claim.
The court vacated the district court’s grant of summary judgment to individual defendants on the plaintiff’s Bivens claims. The district court reasoned that plaintiff could not establish deliberate indifference as a matter of law. However, the court concluded that the district court did not first provide the plaintiff, who proceeded pro se, with proper notice of his obligation to support his claims or an opportunity to seek discovery. Accordingly, the court vacated this portion of the district court’s judgment and remanded for further proceedings on the Bivens claims.
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1 thought on “Pledger v. Lynch, No. 18-2213”
I believe it was a great post. I have an open FTCA claim as well. I argued the same thing that the state certificate of merit conflicts with the federal rules of civil procedure. Last year the district court dismissed my case due to my failure to comply with a COM. I appealed it to the 4th circuit and I was surprised the judgement was affirmed. How ever I just knew they were wrong. So I filed a petition for rehearing and explained why. Two months ago the appeals court placed my case in abeyance until Fletcher v lunch would be resolved. I’m still awaiting the order but I know I’ll win to get my case vacated.
Thanks for the post because it’s now time for inmates (that has no clue what a COM is) to perhaps get further in their lawsuit because the BOP medical is trash, and they know they can treat us like shit and hide behind their qualified and in some cases absolute immunity. These BOP officials need to be held accountable.