United States District Court, District of Columbia
KETANJI BROWN JACKSON United States District Judge.
matter is before the Court on Defendant Retina Group of
Washington's Motion for Summary Judgment, ECF No. 9. For
the reasons discussed below, the Court denies summary
judgment and dismisses this matter for lack of subject matter
Renee Ferebee "was told by two optometrist[s] that she
needed to see a specialist" because one of the
optometrists "noticed blood in plaintiffs eyes[.]"
Compl. at 1. In October 2015, Plaintiff allegedly underwent
an eye examination at the Retina Group of Washington, see
generally Id. at 1-2, "a large retinal and macular
practice with offices in Washington, DC, Virginia and
Maryland[, ]" Def. Reina Group of Washington's Reply
to Pl.'s Opp'n to Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J., Ex. A
(Neal Decl.) ¶ 3. Plaintiff's vision subsequently
worsened, see generally Compl. at 1-2, and she
brings this medical malpractice action against Retina Group,
id. at l. She "is seeking five hundred million
dollars, in negli[g]ence, wrong observation, tort [and]
punitive damages." Id. at 2.
District of Columbia law, a plaintiff must notify the
intended defendant to a medical malpractice action at least
90 days before she files her lawsuit:
(a) Any person who intends to file an action in the court
alleging medical malpractice against a healthcare provider
shall notify the intended defendant of his or her action not
less than 90 days prior to filing the action. Notice may
be given by service on an intended defendant at his or her
last known address registered with the appropriate licensing
authority. Upon a showing of a good faith effort to give the
required notice, the court may excuse the failure to give
notice within the time prescribed.
(b) The notice required in subsection (a) of this section
shall include sufficient information to put the defendant on
notice of the legal basis for the claim and the type and
extent of the loss sustained, including information regarding
the injuries suffered Nothing herein shall preclude the
person giving notice from adding additional theories of
liability based upon information obtained in court-conducted
discovery or adding injuries or loss which become known at a
(c) A legal action alleging medical malpractice shall not
be commenced in the court unless the requirements of this
section have been satisfied.
D.C. Code § 16-2802 (emphasis added).
Group "did not learn of [this] litigation until it was
served with the Complaint on or about November 17,
2016." Mem. of P. & A. in Support of Def.'s Mot.
for Summ. J., ECF No. 9 at 5. "At no time did . . .
Plaintiff serve . . . Retina Group . . . with a 90-day Notice
of Intent to Sue." Id.
makes no mention of the 90-day Notice in her Complaint. In
her opposition to Retina Group's motion, she claims to
have "met all requirements in doing her lawsuit in a
timely manner, court was given all information, and it was up
to the court to hand out plaintiff's arguments to the
opposing party." Filing Opposing Mot. Against Def.'s
Summ. J., ECF No. 11 at 2 (page numbers designated by ECF).
Plaintiff appears to be under the impression that the court
must notify a health care provider of potential litigation.
She is mistaken. Plaintiff is the "person who intend[ed]
to file an action . . . alleging medical malpractice, "
and she is obligated to notify "the intended defendant
of . . . her action not less than 90 days prior to filing the
action." D.C. Code § 2802(a).
neither alleges that she has complied with the mandatory
90-day notice requirement nor has made a showing of a good
faith effort to persuade the court that her failure to give
notice within the time prescribed should be excused. In these
circumstances, the Court is deprived of subject matter
jurisdiction over this medical malpractice case. See Ghee
v. Howard Univ. Hosp., Inc., 879 F.Supp.2d 96, 97
(D.D.C. 2012); Coleman v. Wash. Hosp. Center Corp.,
734 F.Supp.2 d 58, 62 (D.D.C. 2010); Lacek v. Wash. Hosp.
Ctr. Corp., 978 A.2d 1194 (D.C. 2009) (affirming
dismissal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction where
Plaintiff filed a medical malpractice action four days before
notifying hospital of her intent to sue). Therefore, the
court will dismiss this action without prejudice.
Order is issued separately.