Askew v. United States, No. 14-1205 (8th Cir. 2015)Annotate this Case
Askew, a military veteran and a former U.S. Postal Service employee, underwent a cardiac stent placement at the St. Louis Veterans Administration Medical Center. He was readmitted with an infection and the medical center responded negligently. As a result of the infection and attendant loss of blood, Askew suffered severe anoxic brain injury and amputation of his right leg. In Askew’s suit under the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. 2674, the government did not dispute liability. The government requested that the court structure an award for future medical damages as a trust to provide periodic payments to Askew, with a reversionary interest in favor of the government upon Askew’s death. The district court declined to order a reversionary trust, awarded $253,667 in past economic damages, $525,000 in past non-economic damages, $4,000,000 in future economic damages, and $2,000,000 in future non-economic damages to Dirk Askew. The court awarded $1,525,000 to Askew’s wife for loss of consortium. The Eighth Circuit vacated and remanded, describing the reversionary trust remedy as the most reasonable analogy to the relief available against a private individual in like circumstances under Missouri law.