Malmberg v. United States, No. 14-3555 (2d Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
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.