Burton v. USA

Pretrial Order

In a Federal Tort Claims Act case, a plaintiff suing the government needs to look carefully at choice of law issues to maximize potential damages. In this case, the problem was that the cause of action for wrongful death arose from negligent conduct in the District of Columbia, which does not allow for damages for the survivors’ grief and loss of companionship. However, Maryland, where the widow and her husband had lived before his untimely death, did allow for such damages.

This pleading persuaded a federal judge in the District of Columbia to apply Maryland law to loss of consortium damages in a Federal Tort Claims Act case that arose from negligent medical treatment at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in the District of Columbia. The pleading outlines choice of law principles that argued for application of Maryland law, where the decedent and his wife were domiciled, and it explains the multiple-step choice of law analysis required by the FTCA. Also linked here are the plaintiff’s reply brief on choice of law, the court’s pretrial order ruling for plaintiffs on the choice of law issue, and the court’s ultimate decision on the case awarding over $2 million in damages in this wrongful death case for medical malpractice.

Please see full order below for more information.

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Published In: Civil Procedure Updates, Civil Remedies Updates, Conflict of Laws Updates, Personal Injury Updates, Professional Malpractice Updates

Reference Info:Decision | Federal, D.C. Circuit, D.C. | United States