United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
P.J. THOMPSON, a Minor, by his next of kin, his mother CARLIE WILLIS and father TYLER THOMPSON, and CARLIE WILLIS, Individually, Plaintiffs,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and SOUTHERN ILLINOIS HOSPITAL SERVICES d/b/a MEMORIAL HOSPITAL OF CARBONDALE, Defendants.
ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE
J. Rosenstengel Chief U.S. District Judge.
Court is aware of the pending motion to dismiss that was
filed by Defendant Southern Illinois Hospital Services
(“SIHS”) when this case was proceeding before
Judge Michael J. Reagan (Doc. 13). In March 2019, Judge
Reagan retired, and this case was transferred to the
undersigned. In the course of reviewing the arguments set
forth in the pending motion to dismiss, the undersigned has
reviewed the jurisdictional allegations in the Complaint to
confirm that subject-matter jurisdiction exists and finds
them to be insufficient.
specific challenges to a Court's subject-matter
jurisdiction may be raised by the parties, the Court also has
an independent obligation to determine whether it has
subject-matter jurisdiction over a given case. Ruhrgas AG
v. Marathon Oil Co., 526 U.S. 574, 583 (1999); see
also Ricketts v. Midwest National Bank, 874 F.2d 1177,
1181 (holding that a district court's obligation to
review its own jurisdiction exists independent of assertions
from parties). Pursuant to Rule 12(h)(3) of the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure, “[i]f the court determines at any
time that it lacks subject-matter jurisdiction, the court
must dismiss the action.”
August 20, 2018, Plaintiffs filed a Complaint in this Court
alleging a medical negligence action arising under the
Federal Tort Claims Act (“FTCA”) Ch 646, 62 Stat.
929 (1948) (Doc. 2, p. 2). Plaintiffs' Complaint
conclusively asserts that “[t]his Court has
subject-matter jurisdiction over Dr. Paul J. Cruz, M.D. and
Christopher Greater Area Rural Health Planning Corporation
(“CGRHPC”) pursuant to federal question
jurisdiction, 28 U.S.C. § 1331, 28 U.S.C. § 2671
et. seq., commonly known as the Federal Tort Claims
Act” (Id.). Plaintiffs do not specifically
name Dr. Cruz or CGRHPC as defendants, presumably because the
Federal Tort Claims Act functionally substitutes the United
States of America (“USA”) as a defendant for
certain entities, and employees that are deemed to be federal
employees for purposes of certain tort actions
(Id.). Plaintiffs' Complaint also asserts
supplemental jurisdiction over SIHS pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1367(a) because the claims asserted form part of the
same constitutional case or controversy as the claims brought
against “the United States' defendants”
Complaint asserts claims against the United States and SIHS
based on medical care and treatment rendered to Plaintiff
Carlie Thompson, and her son, P.J. Thompson, during his
birth. Plaintiffs have attached to their Complaint two
affidavits providing expert medical testimony generally
establishing the standard of care and Defendants'
deviation from that standard (Doc. 2-1, 2-2).
of 224 of the Public Health Service Act provides that certain
federally funded entities and their employees are deemed
federal employees for the purpose of certain tort actions,
including medical malpractice claims. 42 U.S.C. § 233.
Any such claims are considered to be claims under the FTCA
for which there is exclusive federal jurisdiction.
Id. The statute provides in pertinent part:
(a) Exclusiveness of remedy.
The remedy against the United States … for damage for
personal injury . . . resulting from the performance of
medical, surgical, dental, or related functions, including
the conduct of clinical studies or investigation, by any
commissioned officer or employee of the Public Health Service
while acting within the scope of his office or employment,
shall be exclusive of any other civil action or proceeding by
reason of the same subject-matter against the officer or
employee (or his estate) whose act or omission gave rise to
(g) Exclusivity of remedy against the United States for
entities deemed Public Health Service employees; coverage for
services furnished to individuals other than center patients;
application process; subrogation of medical malpractice
claims; applicable period; entity and contractor defined.
(1)(A) For purposes of this section and subject to the
approval by the Secretary of an application under
subparagraph (D), an entity described in paragraph (4), and
any officer, governing board member, or employee of such an
entity, and any contractor of such an entity who is a
physician or other licensed or certified health care
practitioner (subject to paragraph (5)), shall be deemed to
be an employee of the Public Health Service for a calendar
year that begins during a fiscal year for which a transfer
was made under subsection (k)(3) (subject to paragraph
42 U.S.C. § 233.
Secretary of Health and Human Services issued regulations
clarifying coverage under § 233(g), including when a
funded entity begins to be covered and what acts and
omissions are covered. The regulations provide:
6.5 Deeming process for eligible entities.
Eligible entities will be covered by this part only on and
after the effective date of a determination by the Secretary
that they meet the requirements of section 224(h) of the Act.
In making such determination, the Secretary will receive such