Associate Josh Sultan Examines the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals’ Time-Barred Dismissal of Claims Under the Federal Tort Claims Act and Discovery Rule

May 2021

Based upon the Federal Tort Claims Act’s two-year statute of limitations, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently upheld a decision against Dominque Woodson who alleged negligent prenatal care for her minor child.

In Woodson v. U.S., Dominique Woodson received treatment from obstetrician Dr. Keith Ramsey at Indiana-based NorthShore Health Centers. After a delivery that was described as “traumatic,” Ms. Woodson immediately noticed a lack of movement in her newborn’s left arm. When these concerns were communicated to Dr. Ramsey, he advised the arm “may get better” and that the newborn “may grow into it.” Months later, the child’s condition was unchanged, and Ms. Woodson eventually sought legal counsel for the alleged negligent delivery. However, the Court held that the FTCA applied (NorthShore was a federally-funded clinic and Dr. Ramsey was a federal employee) and that the case was time-barred by the two-year statute of limitations set forth in the Act.

On appeal, plaintiffs argued the claims did not accrue until they retained counsel. The Seventh Circuit disagreed and held that the claims accrued on the day of the child’s birth.

To read Josh’s full analysis, click here.

Josh concentrates his practice in the defense of physicians, nurses, hospitals, nursing homes and other healthcare professionals in medical negligence actions. He also handles other types of civil litigation, including premises liability and product liability. Prior to joining Barker, Castro, Kuban & Steinbeck LLC, Josh worked at a boutique medical malpractice defense firm in Chicago.