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Royster v. United States

United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division

January 18, 2018

WILLIAM ROYSTER, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Defendant.

          Fernando J. Gaitan, Jr. United States District Judge

         Pending before the Court is Defendant's Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim, or, in the Alternative, for Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 6). Defendant argues that plaintiff has failed to file this complaint within the applicable statute of limitations.

         I. Facts

         On February 19, 2015, Plaintiff William Royster (“Royster”), a Navy veteran pilot, submitted to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (“DVA”) an administrative tort claim alleging that health care providers at the Kansas City VA Medical Center (“KCVA”) had negligently diagnosed him as having Bipolar Disorder (which he alleged permanently grounded him from flying as a commercial pilot for major airlines). On August 4, 2015, the DVA denied Royster's administrative claim by letter to his attorney mailed by certified mail. On October 2, 2015, Royster filed an action in this Court, styled William Royster v. United States, Case No. 4:15-cv-00768-FJG (the “2015 action”).

         In his Complaint in that action (the “2015 Complaint') Royster alleged that on April 28, 2004, a KCVA psychiatrist negligently misdiagnosed him as having Bipolar Disorder, that between then and November 17, 2014, various KCVA psychiatrists and other physicians negligently reaffirmed that diagnosis, and that by letter dated November 18, 2014, a KCVA psychiatrist stated an opinion that Royster had not met the criteria for the diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder. On September 26, 2016, the 2015 action was dismissed without prejudice, following the filing of a stipulation of dismissal without prejudice on September 22, 2016. See Doc. No. 26 in 2015 action.

         The current action was filed September 13, 2017. It is for the same alleged acts or omissions as the 2015 action, and the 2017 Complaint is essentially identical to the 2015 Complaint. The United States asserts that, under 28 U.S.C. § 2401(b) of the Federal Tort Claims Act (“FTCA”), the 2017 Complaint is untimely.

         II. Standard

         A. Rule 12(b)(6)

         To survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, “a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Kelly v. City of Omaha, Neb., 813 F.3d 1070, 1075 (8th Cir. 2016) (citations and quotations omitted). A claim is plausible on its face when, drawing all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor, the plaintiff “pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. “While a complaint need not contain detailed factual allegations . . . a plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds of his entitlement to relief requires more than labels and conclusions [and] . . . [f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 545, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted); see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 663, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (“Threadbare recitals of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.”).

         B. Summary Judgment

         Summary judgment is appropriate if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-323, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 2552-53 (1986). The facts and inferences are viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587-88, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 1356 (1986). However, the non-movant must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts, and must come forward with specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586, 106 S.Ct. at 1356. Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the nonmoving party, there is no genuine issue for trial. Torgerson v. City of Rochester, 643 F.3d 1031, 1042 (8th Cir. 2011).

         III. Analysis

         Plaintiff does not dispute the facts as set out by defendant. Specifically, the ...


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