Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ingraham v. United States case brief (affirming defenses)

Ingraham v. United States
Jurisdiction: United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit.

FACTS
-Appellees in these cases sued the US under the Federal Torts Claims Act, for severe injuries caused by negligence of government (Air Force) physicians.
1. Ingraham, back surgery, spinal cord damaged, permanent disabilities, $1,264,000. After entry of judgement, US filed notice of appeal, urging acts limitations of $500,000.
2. Bonds, C-section not performed timely, brain damage of child, child and mother both awarded over $500,000.

ISSUE

Appellees maintain that we should not consider the statutory limitation of liability invoked on appeal because it is an affirmative defense under Rule 8(c), and the failure to raise it timely constitutes a waiver.

RULES

-Just as certain disfavored allegations made by the Plaintiff must be set forth with the greatest particularity, so like disfavored defenses must be particularly alleged by the Defendant
-Defendant must allege disfavored defenses with greatest particularity. 

-Central to requiring the pleading of affirmative defense is the prevention of unfair surprise.
Court also looked at: Lucas v. United States
“Where an affirmative defense is raised in the trail court in a manner that does not result in unfair surprise, technical failure to comply with Rule 8(c) is not fatal.”

HOLDING

The court concluded that the Texas statutory limit on medical malpractice damages is an affirmative defense that must be pleaded timely and that, in the cases at bar, the defenses have been waived.


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