United States District Court, District of Columbia
JEFFREY M. YOUNG-BEY, Plaintiff,
UNITY MEDICAL HEALTHCARE, et al., Defendants.
COLLEEN KOLLAR KOTELLY United States District Court Judge.
matter is before the Court on Defendant's Motion to
Dismiss, ECF No. 6. For the reasons discussed below, the
motion will be granted.
times relevant to the Complaint, Unity Health Care, Inc.
(“Unity”) was “a grantee of the Department
of Health & Human Services (‘HHS') by operation
of the Federally Supported Health Centers Assistance Act,
” Mem. of P. & A. in Support of Def.'s Mot. to
Dismiss, ECF No. 6-1 (“Defs.' Mem.”) at 1
(citing 42 U.S.C. § 233(g)-(n)), and provided medical
care for detainees at the D.C. Jail, see Compl.
¶ 3; Decl. of Meredith Torres, ECF No. 9 (“Torres
Decl.”) ¶ 6. Unity “was deemed eligible for
Federal Tort Claims Act malpractice coverage effective
January 1, 2014, and . . . its coverage has continued without
interruption since that time.” Torres Decl. ¶ 5.
Henry D. Marshall, M.D., Leslie Keck, M.D., and Genet Desta,
M.D., were Unity employees, id. ¶ 6, who acted
“within the scope of their respective employment as
deemed employees of the Public Health Service at the time of
the . . . incidents” alleged in the complaint, Notice
of Removal, ECF No. 1, Ex. A (Certification).
September 2, 2015, the United States Marshals Service
(“USMS”) transported plaintiff to the D.C. Jail
“pursuant to a ‘writ ad test' issued by the
Superior Court of the District of Columbia.” Compl.
¶ 8; see id. ¶¶ 2, 9. He remained in
the District's custody until October 6, 2015, when the
USMS transported him to a correctional facility in Jessup,
Maryland, where he was “held pending resolution of a
criminal matter in the . . . Superior Court.”
Defs.' Mem. at 2.
to plaintiff, he was experiencing “severe muscle spasms
in [his] left pelvic and thigh areas, ” and treatment
of his condition “with minor analgesic pain medicines
and muscle relaxers” was not successful. Compl. ¶
9. When plaintiff arrived at the D.C. Jail, he advised a
“triage Physician Assistant” of his symptoms.
Id. “During the ensuing days, [p]laintiff
repeatedly complained to [Unity staff] of severe pain and
muscle spasms.” Id. ¶ 10. He recounted an
incident on September 4, 2015, when his “pain was so
severe [he] was unable to walk for more than ten . . . steps,
could not sit upright for more than [two] minutes and could
not stand for more than [two to three] minutes without
experiencing muscle spasms in his left leg, groin area and
lower back.” Id. The pain allegedly caused
plaintiff to collapse on his way to the visiting area, and he
missed a meeting with his attorney. Id. ¶ 11.
When plaintiff was taken to the infirmary, Dr. Desta
allegedly “failed to physically examine [him], failed
to order any diagnostic tests and failed to diagnose any
cause for [his] severe muscle spasms[.]” Id.
¶ 13. Instead, Dr. Desta “prescribed . . .
[M]otrin, ” id. ¶ 14, which did not
relieve the pain, see id. ¶ 15.
September 8, 2015, Dr. Marshall “conducted a complete .
. . neurological examination of [p]laintiff's left leg,
thigh as well as the range of motion in both legs.”
Id. ¶ 16. In addition to Motrin, plaintiff was
prescribed Toradol and Flexeril, id., and x-rays
were taken of his left hip, pelvic region and lumbar spine.
Id. ¶ 17. At a follow-up clinic visit on
September 15, 2015, Dr. Keck reported the results of
plaintiff's x-rays, and prescribed Motrin, Flexeril,
aspirin and a muscle rub. Id. ¶ 18. Although
plaintiff continued to make requests for treatment, he
allegedly received nothing more than ineffective pain
relievers. See id. ¶¶ 19-20. On September
28, 2015, when plaintiff “suffered a muscle spasm in
his left leg, ” id. ¶ 21, he was taken on
a stretcher to the infirmary, was “given an . . .
intramuscular injection of some substance and . . . Benadryl,
” and the spasms abated within the hour, id.
¶ 2. Dr. Desta “opined that the muscle spasms
[p]laintiff was [experiencing] may [have been] due to an
imbalance in [p]laintiff's serum [p]otassium
levels[.]” Id. ¶ 23. No blood work was
done, and despite Dr. Desta's “suggest[ion] that an
‘MRI' might prove diagnostic[, no] other treatments
were provided, ” and plaintiff instead was instructed
“to place more sick-call requests . . . as symptoms
recur or persisted.” Id.
has made a claim under the Eighth Amendment to the United
States Constitution, see id. ¶¶ 26-30, and
a medical malpractice claim arising from the medical care and
treatment he received (or did not receive) at the D.C. Jail,
see id. ¶¶ 32-34, for which he demands
compensatory and punitive damages totaling $7.5 million,
id. ¶¶ 30, 34. He filed his complaint in
the Superior Court of the District of Columbia on November
24, 2015, and defendants removed the action on June 1, 2016,
under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1441, 1442(a)(1), 1446, 1346(b),
2401(b), and 2671-80. See Notice of Removal at 1.
move to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(1) for lack of subject matter jurisdiction on the
ground that plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative
remedies prior to filing his complaint. See
generally Defs.' Mem. at 5-7.
matter jurisdiction is a requirement of Article III of the
U.S. Constitution and by federal statute. See Wilson v.
U.S. Dep't of Transp., 759 F.Supp.2d 55, 62 (D.D.C.
2011). It is the plaintiff's burden to establish that the
Court has subject matter jurisdiction over his claim. See
Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 561
(1992). For purposes of a Rule 12(b)(1) motion, the Court
accepts the factual allegations of the complaint as true, and
it “may consider materials outside the pleadings in
deciding whether to grant a motion to dismiss for lack of
jurisdiction.” Jerome Stevens Pharm., Inc. v. Food
& Drug Admin., 402 F.3d 1249, 1253 (D.C. Cir. 2005).
is axiomatic that the United States may not be sued without
its consent and that the existence of consent is a
prerequisite for jurisdiction.” United States v.
Mitchell, 463 U.S. 206, 212 (1983). Under the doctrine
of sovereign immunity, the United States is immune from suit
unless Congress expressly has waived the defense of sovereign
immunity by statute. See id. The Federal Tort Claims
Act (“FTCA”), see 28 U.S.C. §§
2671-2680, operates as a limited waiver of sovereign
immunity, rendering the United States amenable to suit for
certain, but not all, tort claims. See, e.g., Richards v.
United States, 369 U.S. 1, 6 (1962). For example, the
United States has not waived sovereign immunity with respect
to constitutional tort claims, see FDIC v. Meyer,
510 U.S. 471, 475 (1994), and plaintiff's claim for money
damages arising from an alleged violation of the Eighth
Amendment must fail, see, e.g., Roman v. Nat'l
Reconnaissance Office, 952 F.Supp.2d 159, 163-64 (D.D.C.
2013). However, the FTCA renders the “United States . .
. liable . . . in the same manner and to the same extent as a
private individual under like circumstances, ” 28
U.S.C. § 2674, for medical malpractice, see, e.g.,
Williams v. United States, 932 F.Supp. 357, 360 (D.D.C.
1996) (treating allegations of complaint as six separate
claims of medical malpractice against the Veterans
Administration under the FTCA).
The United States of America Is ...