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Holloway v. United States

United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit

January 11, 2017

ERROL HOLLOWAY, Plaintiff, Appellant,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Defendant, Appellee.

         APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS [Hon. Mark G. Mastroianni, U.S. District Judge]

          Thomas M. Libbos, Katherine L. Lamondia-Wrinkle, and Thomas M. Libbos PC on brief for appellant.

          Carmen M. Ortiz, United States Attorney, and Karen L. Goodwin, Assistant United States Attorney, on brief for appellee.

          Before Lynch, Selya, and Thompson, Circuit Judges.

          THOMPSON, Circuit Judge.

         Preface

         Errol Holloway appeals the grant of summary judgment to the United States in this action under the Federal Tort Claims Act ("FTCA"). Spying no reversible error, we affirm.

         How the Case Got Here[1]

         We reconstruct the chronology of events giving rise to this litigation:

June 22, 2012. Holloway is injured while receiving treatment at Caring Health Center, Inc., a federally funded healthcare facility in Springfield, Massachusetts.
April 8, 2014. Holloway - through his lawyer - files an administrative claim with the Department of Health and Human Services ("HHS"), using a Standard Form 95 ("SF 95"). But he fails to fill out the box for a sum certain. Text in that box warns that "[f]ailure to specify may cause forfeiture of your rights." Elsewhere the form - occasionally using boldface, underlining, and capitalized text - says that he had to provide a sum certain for the claim to be considered "presented, " that he had "two years" to present the claim, and that "[f]ailure to completely execute this form or to supply the requested material within two years from the date the claim accrued may render your claim invalid."
April 17, 2014. HHS acknowledges receiving Holloway's SF 95 and requests medical records, itemized bills, evidence of lost wages, and the like. . June 25, 2014. More than two years after the incident at Caring Health Center, Holloway's lawyer submits medical bills, employment records, and other documents.
August 14, 2014. A paralegal in the HHS general counsel's office calls Holloway's attorney, mentions the missing sum certain, and asks counsel to submit an amended SF 95 with the required sum certain. HHS then gets an amended form requesting a sum certain in the amount of $3, 000, 000 for personal injuries.
• August 21, 2014. HHS denies Holloway's claim, saying "[t]he evidence fails to establish that the alleged injuries were due to the negligent or wrongful act or omission of a federal employee ...

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