Arroyo v. United States, No. 10-2311 (7th Cir. 2011)Annotate this Case
A newborn suffered severe brain damage because doctors failed to promptly diagnose and treat an infection contracted at his 2003 birth. He was born prematurely and certain tests, normally done during pregnancy, were not performed by the federally-subsidized clinic where the mother received care. The clinic and its doctors are deemed federal employees under the Federally Supported Health Centers Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. 233(g)-(n), and shielded from liability under the Federal Tort Claims Act. In 2005 the parents filed suit in state court and, in 2006, HHS denied an administrative claim for damages. Within six months of the denial the case was removed to federal court. In 2010, the district court held that the claim was filed within the two year statute of limitations under the FTCA (28 U.S.C. 2401(b)) and awarded more than $29 million in damages against the government. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. A claim only accrues when a plaintiff obtains sufficient knowledge of the government-related cause of his injury; the plaintiffs were reasonably diligent.