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Waugh v. Medstar Georgetown University Hospital

Court of Appeals of The District of Columbia

March 14, 2019

Brian Keith Waugh, Appellant,
v.
Medstar Georgetown University Hospital, Appellee.

          Submitted January 7, 2019

          Appeal from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia (CAM-7831-17) (Hon. Robert R. Rigsby, Trial Judge)

          Brian Keith Waugh, pro se.

          Crystal S. Deese and Diona F. Howard-Nicolas were on the brief for appellee.

          Before Thompson and Easterly, Associate Judges, and Ruiz, Senior Judge.

          RUIZ, SENIOR JUDGE

         This appeal arises out of a medical malpractice action filed by pro se appellant Brian Keith Waugh against appellee MedStar Georgetown University Hospital (the "Hospital"). The trial court dismissed appellant's amended complaint on the alternative grounds that it was filed outside of the statutory three-year limitations period governing medical malpractice claims, and that appellant did not provide appellee with ninety days' pre-suit notice as required by statute. We affirm.

         I. Factual Background

         Appellant alleges that he received improper treatment at the Hospital between September 7-8, 2014, when two nurses went "fishing" for a vein in his right arm. The first nurse's attempt to insert the intravenous needle caused appellant's arm to "bleed[] significantly from the needle hole." And when a second nurse inserted the needle, appellant's "thumb felt funny." A radiology technician then "took out the needle in [appellant's] right arm and put one in the back of [his] right hand without a problem," but it "caused the back of [appellant's] hand to sting intensely," and appellant "screamed out, Ahhhhhh!" Appellant subsequently sought medical care related to the injury. His hand sometimes "feel[s] like it is going to sleep," and he occasionally experiences "prickly pains, or sharp pains in the back of [his] wrist."

         Appellant filed his complaint on November 22, 2017.[1] After the Hospital filed a motion to dismiss the complaint, appellant filed both a brief in opposition and an amended complaint. The Hospital filed a motion to dismiss the amended complaint, and appellant filed a motion to amend his brief in opposition to the Hospital's motion to dismiss the original complaint. Then, appellant filed a brief in opposition to the Hospital's motion to dismiss the amended complaint.

         The trial court issued an omnibus order resolving all outstanding motions on February 23, 2018. As relevant here, the trial court: (1) denied the Hospital's motion to dismiss the initial complaint as mooted by the amended complaint, (2) denied appellant's motion to amend his brief in opposition to that motion as also mooted by the amended complaint, [2] and (3) granted the Hospital's motion to dismiss the amended complaint on the grounds that appellant did not file his complaint within the three-year limitations period established by D.C. Code § 12-301(8) (2012 Repl.), and did not provide the Hospital with ninety days' pre-suit notice as required by D.C. Code § 16-2802 (2012 Repl.). This appeal followed.

         II. Standard of Review

         The trial court may dismiss a claim for failure to comply with the applicable statute of limitations under Super. Ct. Civ. R. 12(b)(6) if "the claim is time-barred on the face of the complaint." Logan v. LaSalle Bank Nat'l Ass'n, 80 A.3d 1014, 1020 (D.C. 2013). "We review de novo the trial court's dismissal of a complaint under Super. Ct. Civ. R. 12(b)(6)." Id. at 1019.

         III. ...


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