Brant v. U.S.
A pro se prisoner who alleges medical malpractice pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act is not excused from the state-law requirement that allegations of medical negligence be accompanied by a written opinion from a similar health care provider. The plaintiff inmate, Ramona Brant, is incarcerated at a federal corrections facility in Danbury. Brant sued the U.S. and various doctors and medical personnel, alleging that they committed medical malpractice, and she suffered a heart attack. Brant brought her claims pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 United States Code §1346(b), which waives the government's sovereign immunity in certain circumstances. The proper defendant in a Federal Tort Claims Act suit is the federal government, and the District Court dismissed the plaintiff's claims against individual defendants. State law requires that plaintiffs who allege medical malpractice file a written opinion, from a similar healthcare provider, that there was evidence of negligence. A plaintiff's failure to file a written opinion from a similar healthcare provider may constitute grounds to dismiss the plaintiff's complaint, pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes §52-190a. Courts in other jurisdictions have held that similar state-law requirements are substantive, as opposed to procedural. Although the plaintiff is pro se, and the court construed her complaint liberally, she was not excused from the requirement that she file a written opinion from a similar healthcare provider. The District Court dismissed the plaintiff's complaint, without prejudice.