Rodas v. Seidlin, No. 09-3760 (7th Cir. 2011)Annotate this Case
In 2001 plaintiff received prenatal care from a clinic that receives federal funds. Its physicians and the clinic are deemed federal employees for purposes of malpractice liability, so that the United States could be substituted as a party to a suit. 28 U.S.C. 2679(d)(1); claims would be governed by the Federal Tort Claims Act, and neither would face liability. For complex situations, the clinic contracted with UIC for specialists. Plaintiff's baby died following a difficult delivery. She sued the clinic, its doctor, the delivery hospital, and two UIC physicians who assisted. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services denied claims for damages. The district court entered summary judgment for the UIC doctors under the Illinois Good Samaritan Act, which shields physicians who provide "emergency care without fee to a person," 745 ILCS 49/25, but declined to dismiss the case against the government, which had been substituted for the clinic. The Seventh Circuit reversed, first holding that the district court had derivative jurisdiction. Although the salaried UIC doctors did not receive a direct financial benefit from the delivery, their employer billed the clinic for services. There was evidence that one doctor submitted a billing form with respect to the delivery; the other made a "bad faith" decision not to bill.