- Court: United States Supreme Court
- Area(s) of Law: Tort Law
- Date Filed: March 4, 2013
- Case #: 11-1351
- Judge(s)/Court Below: Ginsburg, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, which was unanimous except insofar as Scalia, J., did not join footnotes 6 and 7.
- Full Text Opinion
After consultation with a military doctor, Petitioner gave informed consent to receive cataract surgery from the Ophthalmology Department of the United States Naval Hospital on Guam. Petitioner was unsuccessful in his attempt to withdraw consent prior to surgery and suffered complications.
Petitioner sued the United States and the doctor who performed the surgery for medical malpractice and battery. The United States claimed that the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) expressly preserves sovereign immunity against battery claims under its intentional tort exception (28 U.S.C. §2680(h)). The district court agreed and dismissed the case. The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed.
The Supreme Court held that because the Gonzalez Act 28 U.S.C. §1089, contains a provision negating the FTCA's intentional tort exception for actions "arising out of a negligent or wrongful act or omission in the performance of medical, dental, or related health care functions” that the military doctor's sovereign immunity against intentional tort claims was negated and that Petitioner's tort claim should proceed.