Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Almquist v. United States

United States District Court, D. Kansas

September 25, 2017

NATHAN ALMQUIST, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and MARK WISNER, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          CARLOS MURGUIA United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Nathan Almquist brings this case against defendants United States of America and Mark Wisner, pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act (“FTCA”), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1346(b), 2671 and 38 U.S.C. § 7316(a), (f), alleging that Wisner conducted improper and/or unnecessary physical examinations of plaintiff and elicited unnecessary private information. Plaintiff also alleges several state law claims. This matter is before the court on defendant United States of America's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 16). Defendant argues that plaintiff's complaint should be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and because it fails to state a claim under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and (6). For the reasons set forth below, the court grants defendant's motion in part and denies it in part.

         I. Factual Background and Legal Standards

          Plaintiff is a veteran who sought treatment at the Dwight D. Eisenhower VA Medical Center (“VA”) located in Leavenworth, Kansas. Wisner treated and provided medical care for plaintiff. Wisner was a physician's assistant (“PA”) for the VA, and is a defendant in more than seventy pending civil suits before this court.

         The claims in this case are virtually identical to those in a number of other cases this court has considered. See, e.g., Anasazi v. United States, No. 16-2227-CM, 2017 WL 2264441, at *1-*2 (D. Kan. May 23, 2017); Doe v. United States, No. 16-2162-CM, 2017 WL 1908591, at *1-*2 (D. Kan. May 10, 2017). The court will not repeat the details of them here. Highly summarized, they are: (1) Count I: Negligence - Medical Malpractice; (2) Count II: Negligent Supervision, Retention and Hiring; (3) Count III: Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress; (4) Count IV: Outrage; (5) Count V: Battery; and (6) Count VI: Invasion of Privacy - Intrusion Upon Seclusion.

         Likewise, the court has set forth the governing legal standards in a number of other cases involving the same parties and claims. The court does not repeat them here, but applies them as it has in the past. See, e.g., Anasazi, 2017 WL 2264441, at *2; Doe, 2017 WL 1908591, at *2.

         II. Discussion

         Under the FTCA, the United States has waived its sovereign immunity for injuries caused by the “negligent or wrongful act or omission” of a federal government employee while that employee is “acting within the scope of his office or employment, under circumstances where the United States, if a private person, would be liable to the claimant in accordance with the law of the place where the act or omission occurred.” 28 U.S.C. § 1346(b).

         This court has repeatedly held that plaintiffs with similar allegations to those here have sufficiently alleged that Wisner's conduct was within the scope of his employment. See, e.g., Anasazi, 2017 WL 2264441, at *4; Doe, 2017 WL 1908591, at *4. The court also has held that plaintiffs with similar allegations have presented plausible claims that the VA Immunity Statute applies, allowing them to pursue remedies under the FTCA for claims arising out of a battery. See, e.g., Anasazi, 2017 WL 2264441, at *5; Doe, 2017 WL 1908591, at *4.

         Defendant does not rehash the same arguments that it made in previous cases about scope of employment and the VA Immunity Statute. But defendant does argue that the allegations in plaintiff's amended complaint change the outcome for claims that this court has previously ruled can proceed. Specifically, defendant argues that new allegations take “Wisner's behavior outside the realm of ‘negligence' or ‘mistake, ' and [move] it squarely into the realm of intentional sexual assault.” (Doc. 17, at 2.) Defendant claims that plaintiff's new allegations are inconsistent with the position that Wisner engaged in conduct that was a slight deviation from his scope of employment, and asks the court to revisit its prior findings. The court addresses this, along with the other new arguments of defendant, below.

         A. Statute of Repose - All Counts

         Defendant claims that at least some of plaintiff's claims are barred by Kansas's four-year statute of repose. See Kan. Stat. Ann. § 60-513(c) (stating that, with respect to a “cause of action arising out of the rendering of or the failure to render professional services by a health care provider, ” “in no event shall such an action be commenced more than four years beyond the time of the act giving rise to the cause of action”). Plaintiff disagrees, raising four arguments in opposition to defendant's position: (1) Section 60-513(c) does not apply to plaintiff's claims because Wisner was not a “health care provider”; (2) In any event, § 60-513(c) does not apply to plaintiff's claims for battery, outrage, and invasion of privacy; (3) The FTCA's administrative process tolls the statute of repose; and (4) Equitable estoppel tolls the statute of repose.

         1. Kan. Stat. Ann. § 60-513(c)'s Application to Plaintiff's Claims

         First, plaintiff argues that because Wisner is not a “health care provider, ” § 60-513(c) does not apply to plaintiff's claims. Kan. Stat. Ann. § 60-513d defines “health care provider” as “a person licensed to practice any branch of the healing arts” and “a licensed medical care facility.” Under this definition, Wisner, his supervising physicians, and the VA medical center are all health care providers. Under the plain language of the relevant statute, § 60-513(c) applies to plaintiff's claims.

         Plaintiff asks the court to apply the definition of “health care provider” in Kan. Stat. Ann. § 40-3401(f) instead, based on language in P.W.P. v. L.S., 969 P.2d 896 (Kan. 1998). It is unclear to this court why the Kansas Supreme Court applied § 40-3401(f) instead of § 60-513d in determining who might be a health care provider under § 60-513(c). Section § 60-513d specifically indicates that it defines health care provider “as used in K.S.A. 60-513.” P.W.P. does not mention or address the potential application of § 60-513d. To the extent that P.W.P. is in conflict with the plain language of the statute, this court must apply the language of the statute. State v. Spencer Gifts, LLC, 374 P.3d 680, 686 (Kan. 2016). The court determines that § 60-513(c) applies to at least some of plaintiff's claims.

         2. Kan. Stat. Ann. ยง 60-513(c)'s Application to Battery, ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.