Arteaga v. United States, No. 12-3189 (7th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
During her birth in 2004, the 11-pound baby became lodged in the mother’s pelvis, so that nerves in her shoulder were injured (brachial plexus injury), resulting in a limited range of movement in her right arm A few months later her mother consulted a lawyer, who recommended against suing. Fifteen months later the mother consulted another lawyer; he agreed to represent her, but 16 months later, he withdrew. Finally, in 2010, the mother filed a malpractice suit against the Erie Family Health Center and the Center’s nurse-midwives who had provided her prenatal care. Erie is a private enterprise, but it receives grant money from the U.S. Public Health Service, so that its employees are deemed federal employees, 42 U.S.C. 233(g)(1)(A),(g)(4) and tort suits against it or its employees can be maintained only under the Federal Tort Claims Act, 42 U.S.C. 233(a),(g)(1)(A). The district court found the claim time-barred. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. While the limitations period for a tort suit under Illinois law would be eight years for a minor, 735 ILCS 5/13-212(b), the extension of the statute of limitations for a child victim does not apply to claims governed by the Federal Tort Claims Act.