Harvey v. United States

Petitioner Frances Leon Harvey's appeal before the Tenth Circuit stemmed from a Federal Tort Claims Act ("FTCA")lawsuit that he brought against the United States government for complications arising from an injury to his hand. Petitioner claimed that government employees injured him by: (1) misdiagnosing and delaying treatment of his hand fracture; and (2) performing negligent surgery on his hand. He argued that the district court erred in holding the misdiagnosis/delay-in treatment claim to be time-barred and in granting summary judgment on the negligent surgery claim for failure to produce expert evidence. Furthermore, Petitioner argued because Navajo law was the substantive law of this case, the district court failed to follow Navajo law when it dismissed his negligent surgery claim. Upon review, the Tenth Circuit held that the district court properly denied Petitioner's motion for default judgment. Although the Court disagreed with the district court's conclusion that the misdiagnosis claim was time-barred, the Court concluded that Petitioner's failure to provide expert evidence doomed both his misdiagnosis and surgical malpractice claims. Finally, although the parties disagreed about whether Arizona law or Navajo law applied, the Court did not reach the issue because the outcome would have been the same under both. View "Harvey v. United States" on Justia Law