YESENIA PACHECO, ET AL V. USA, No. 21-35175 (9th Cir. 2022)Annotate this Case
The United States appealed to the Ninth Circuit, contesting only the district court’s award of $10 million in extraordinary damages in an FTCA suit alleging negligence on the part of NeighborCare Health Center, a federally qualified community health center. The government argued that under Washington law, the federal government could not be held liable for the unforeseeable harm to plaintiff S.L.P., a minor child, who was born with a rare medical disability. The Ninth Circuit certified an unsettled issue of Washington law to the Washington Supreme Court.
The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s award of damages in a Federal Tort Claims Act (“FTCA”) action after receiving an answer to a certified question to the Washington Supreme Court. The Washington Supreme Court concluded: “[a]s a matter of Washington law, damages for negligent reproductive health care may include extraordinary costs associated with raising a child with birth defects, even if Plaintiff did not seek contraception to prevent conceiving a child later born with birth defects.” The panel held that Washington law was now clear, and it foreclosed the government’s arguments that the extraordinary damages awarded here were impermissible as a matter of law. The panel affirmed the district court’s award of damages in the amount of $10,042,294.81.
This opinion or order relates to an opinion or order originally issued on January 3, 2022.