Anderson v. United StatesAnnotate this Case
Appellant Angelia Anderson brought a medical malpractice action in the U.S. District Court against the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). The FTCA contains a two-year statute of limitations regarding the timeliness of bringing claims against the government. However, if there is substantive law in the state where the claim arose governing the timeliness of a similar claim, the state provision controls over the FTCA's statute of limitations. A state statute of repose is considered substantive law and prevails over the procedural FTCA statute of limitations. The district court granted the government's motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jursidiction. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals certified a question of law to the Maryland Supreme Court. At issue was whether Md. Code Ann. Cts. & Jud. Proc. 5-109(a)(1), which provides that the time period allowed for bringing a medical malpractice action is five years from the time the injury was committed, was a statute of limitation or a statute of repose. The Court held that the plain language of section 5-109(a)(1), confirmed by its legislative history, demonstrates that the statute is a statute of limitations, rather than repose.