Augutis v. Uniited States, No. 12-3536 (7th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Augutis had reconstructive surgery on his foot at a VA hospital. Complications led to amputation of his leg. Augutis claims that the amputation was the result of negligent treatment and filed an administrative complaint with the Department of Veterans Affairs. The VA denied the claim. Augutis timely requested reconsideration on March 21, 2011. On October 3, the VA informed him that it had not completed reconsideration, but that suit could be filed or additional time could be permitted to allow it to reach a decision. The letter noted that Federal Tort Claims Act claims are governed by both federal and state law and that some state laws may bar a claim or suit. Days later, the VA denied reconsideration. The letter explained that a claim could be presented to a district court within six months, but again noted that state laws might bar suit. Augutis filed suit on April 3, 2012, more than five years after the surgery, but within six months of the VA’s final dismissal. The district court dismissed under Illinois’s statute of repose, 735 ILCS 5/13‐212(a), which requires that a medical malpractice claim be brought within four years of the date of the alleged malpractice. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, rejecting an argument that the state limitations period was preempted by the FTCA period.