FEDERAL TORT CLAIMS ACT-EXHAUSTION REQUIREMENT

September 26th, 2022 by Rieders Travis in Miscellaneous

Knapp v. United States, 2022 U.S. App. LEXIS 23851 (3rd Cir. August 25, 2022) (Greenaway, C.J.)  The Westfall Act contains a “savings clause” for plaintiffs who mistakenly file in the wrong forum.  This provision saves from being barred by the statute of limitations certain timely claims filed in the wrong forum, such as in state or federal court rather than with the appropriate administrative agency.  Thus, the plaintiff’s suit filed in state court and then dismissed for failure to exhaust administrative remedies will be credited with the date that she filed the claim in the state court so long as: (1) the claim in the underlying civil action would have been timely had it been filed in the correct forum; and (2) the claim was presented to the appropriate federal agency within 60 days after dismissal of the civil action.  This is a nonprecedential opinion of the court.  Under the Westfall Savings Clause, whenever an action or proceeding in which the United States is substituted as the party defendant is dismissed for failure first to present a claim to the appropriate agency, such a claim shall be deemed to be timely presented if (1) the claim would have been timely filed had it been filed on the date the underlying civil action was commenced; and (2) the claim is presented to the appropriate federal agency within 60 days after dismissal of the action.  In this case, the claim has reached HHS two (2) days late.  In this case, there had been three (3) dismissals over two (2) years, but appellants failed to present their claim to HHS within 60 days of any of these dismissals.

Attorney Cliff Rieders

Attorney Cliff RiedersCliff Rieders is a Nationally Board Certified Trial Lawyer practicing personal injury law. A large part of his practice involves multi-district litigation, including cases related to pharmaceuticals, vitamin supplements and medical devices. He is admitted in several state and federal courts, as well as the Supreme Court of the United States. Rieders is the past regional president of the Federal Bar Association and is a life member of the distinguished American Law Institute, which promulgates proposed rules adopted by many state courts. He is a past president of the Pennsylvania Association for Justice, formerly Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association. As a founder of the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority, he served on the Board for 15 years.

Not only has Rieders held many highly esteemed, leadership positions, he authored legislation related to the Patient Safety Authority and the Mcare Act, which governs medical and hospital liability actions in Pennsylvania. He authored texts upon which both practitioners and judges rely, including Pennsylvania Malpractice Laws and Forms, and Financial Responsibility Law Issues in Pennsylvania, the latter governing auto and truck collisions in Pennsylvania. In addition, he wrote several books on the practice of law in Pennsylvania regarding wrongful death and survivor actions, insurance bad faith, legal malpractice claims and worker rights, among others. Rieders also serves as a resource to practitioners as a regular speaker for Celesq, an arm of the world’s largest legal publisher, Thomson Reuters West Publishing.

As recognition of his wide range of contribution to his profession and of his dedication to protecting the rights of his clients, he received numerous awards, among them the George F. Douglas Amicus Curiae Award, the Milton D. Rosenberg Award, the B’nai B’rith Justice Award, and awards of recognition from the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers. [ Attorney Bio ]