Scheib v. Florida Sanitarium and Benev. Ass'n, No. 84-3322

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore FAY and JOHNSON, Circuit Judges, and DYER; DYER
Citation759 F.2d 859
Docket NumberNo. 84-3322
Decision Date06 May 1985
PartiesRobert A. SCHEIB, as legal guardian of Carmella Grace Scheib, et al., Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. FLORIDA SANITARIUM AND BENEVOLENT ASSOCIATION, etc., et al., Defendants- Appellees.

Page 859

759 F.2d 859
Robert A. SCHEIB, as legal guardian of Carmella Grace
Scheib, et al., Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
FLORIDA SANITARIUM AND BENEVOLENT ASSOCIATION, etc., et al.,
Defendants- Appellees.
No. 84-3322.
United States Court of Appeals,
Eleventh Circuit.
May 6, 1985.

Page 860

Larry Klein, West Palm Beach, Fla., for plaintiffs-appellants.

Robert S. Greenspan, Carlene V. McIntyre, Wendy M. Keats, U.S. Dept. of Justice, Appellate Staff, Civil Div., Washington, D.C., for defendants-appellees.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida.

Before FAY and JOHNSON, Circuit Judges, and DYER, Senior Circuit Judge.

DYER, Senior Circuit Judge:

In this medical malpractice action, brought by Robert A. Scheib, as legal guardian of Carmella Grace Scheib (Scheib), under the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. Section 2674 (1982), the district

Page 861

court found liability and damages in the amount of $1,033,619.84. 1 The only issues on this appeal are, (1) whether the damages in the amount of $476,000 received by Scheib pursuant to settlement agreements between Scheib and joint tortfeasors, Dr. Paul R. Garrett (Dr. Garrett) and Florida Sanitarium and Benevolent Association (Florida Hospital), should be set off under the provisions of sections 768.041(2) and 768.31(5), Fla.Stat. (1983), against Scheib's damages awarded her against the Government, and (2) whether the $433,575.22 received by Scheib from a collateral source, Aetna Insurance Company (Aetna), should be deducted under the provisions of section 768.50, Fla.Stat. (1983), from Scheib's damages awarded her against the Government. The district court found the setoff and deduction proper. We agree and affirm.

The facts are not in dispute. Dr. Elenita Aleta had an M.D. degree and was working as a medical officer at the United States Navy Base in Orlando, Florida. Her negligence in the treatment of Scheib was a proximate cause of the injury and damage suffered by Scheib. Scheib has been unaware of her surroundings since her operation and her comatose condition is permanent. The district court found that Scheib had incurred past medical expenses of $3,567.00, past hospital expenses of $479,823.34, and that her probable future hospital expenses will be $550,229.00, all of which total $1,033,618.34. The district court awarded her nothing for past or future pain and suffering. 2

Florida Hospital and Dr. Garrett made pretrial settlements with Scheib in the amounts of $1,000.00 and $475,000.00, respectively, and were released from liability for all claims arising out of the injury to Scheib. After trial, the Government filed a claim as a setoff against its liability for the $476,000 paid Scheib by Florida Hospital and Dr. Garrett. The district court found that since the joint tortfeasors had been sued for the same damages for which Scheib sought recovery against the Government, and since they had obtained releases from liability in return for their payments without apportioning the payments among the possible elements of damage, the settlement payments must be applied in their entirety as setoffs to reduce the damages obtained against the Government for the same injury in this suit.

Scheib was also paid $436,146.30 in health insurance benefits from Aetna for Scheib's past medical expenses. 3 The Government sought a reduction of damages assessed against it in the amount of this payment from a collateral source. The district court found that under the Federal Tort Claims Act the Government may be liable only "to the same extent as a private individual under like circumstances"; that the most closely analogous private individual to Dr. Aleta would be a licensed physician in the State of Florida, and that since such a licensed physician would be entitled to the benefit of section 768.50, Fla.Stat. (1983), (reducing the damages in a medical malpractice action against a health care provider by the amounts paid by collateral source), the statute must apply to reduce the liability of the Government in this case. The district court therefore entered judgment for Scheib as follows:

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Scheib's argument that the district court erred in setting off the amounts received by her from Florida Hospital and Dr. Garrett ($476,000) pursuant to Fla.Stat. section 768.041(2) (the setoff statute) 4 and section 768.31(5) (Florida's enactment of the Uniform Contribution Among Tortfeasors Act) 5 is premised upon the fact that the trial court awarded nothing to Scheib for pain, suffering, disability, loss of enjoyment of life, or any intangible element of damage. Her recovery was limited to past medical expenses and past and future hospital expenses. The attorneys for Florida Hospital and Dr. Garrett filed affidavits stating that in evaluating and settling their claims, they were aware of their entitlement to a deduction for damages of the amounts paid by Aetna as a collateral source under Section 768.50, Fla.Stat. and that because of the existence of the statute the amounts of the settlements paid to Scheib did not include any sum for the payment of medical expenses. In other words, since Aetna was paying Scheib's medical expenses, Florida Hospital and Dr. Garrett had no liability for such expenses by virtue of the collateral source statute. Thus, Scheib argues, there is a...

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18 practice notes
  • Reilly v. U.S., No. 88-1442
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (1st Circuit)
    • September 16, 1988
    ...the private health-care provider--must be entitled to exactly the same largesse. Accord Scheib v. Florida Sanitarium and Benevolent Ass'n, 759 F.2d 859, 861 (11th Cir.1985) (applying a similar Florida statute to reduce the federal sovereign's liability); see also Taylor v. United States, 82......
  • Estate of McCall v. U.S., Case No.: 3:07cv508/MCR/EMT.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Northern District of Florida
    • September 30, 2009
    ...to the same extent as a private party "applies to any limitation on damages." Scheib v. Fla. Sanitarium & Benev. Ass'n, 759 F.2d 859, 864 (11th Cir.1985). See also Richards, 369 U.S. at 11-16, 82 S.Ct. 585 (indicating that the state's whole law applies, including its choice of......
  • Brown v. U.S., No. 86-5705
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Eleventh Circuit
    • March 1, 1988
    ...Florida law governs whether and to what extent that award should be reduced by setoff. See Scheib v. Florida Sanitarium Benevolent Ass'n, 759 F.2d 859 (11th Cir.1985). Florida Page 1162 has adopted the Uniform Contribution Among Tortfeasors Act. See Fla.Stat. Sec. 768.31 et seq. (1985). Sec......
  • Turner ex rel. Turner v. U.S., No. 05-17035.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
    • January 28, 2008
    ...hospitals do not prevent the government from benefiting from the GSA. In Scheib v. Florida Sanitarium & Benevolent Ass'n, 759 F.2d 859, 863-64 (11th Cir.1985), we held that an armed forces medical doctor, exempt from Florida's physician licensing requirement, was eligible to benefit fro......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
18 cases
  • Reilly v. U.S., No. 88-1442
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (1st Circuit)
    • September 16, 1988
    ...the private health-care provider--must be entitled to exactly the same largesse. Accord Scheib v. Florida Sanitarium and Benevolent Ass'n, 759 F.2d 859, 861 (11th Cir.1985) (applying a similar Florida statute to reduce the federal sovereign's liability); see also Taylor v. United States, 82......
  • Estate of McCall v. U.S., Case No.: 3:07cv508/MCR/EMT.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Northern District of Florida
    • September 30, 2009
    ...to the same extent as a private party "applies to any limitation on damages." Scheib v. Fla. Sanitarium & Benev. Ass'n, 759 F.2d 859, 864 (11th Cir.1985). See also Richards, 369 U.S. at 11-16, 82 S.Ct. 585 (indicating that the state's whole law applies, including its choice of......
  • Brown v. U.S., No. 86-5705
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Eleventh Circuit
    • March 1, 1988
    ...Florida law governs whether and to what extent that award should be reduced by setoff. See Scheib v. Florida Sanitarium Benevolent Ass'n, 759 F.2d 859 (11th Cir.1985). Florida Page 1162 has adopted the Uniform Contribution Among Tortfeasors Act. See Fla.Stat. Sec. 768.31 et seq. (1985). Sec......
  • Turner ex rel. Turner v. U.S., No. 05-17035.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
    • January 28, 2008
    ...hospitals do not prevent the government from benefiting from the GSA. In Scheib v. Florida Sanitarium & Benevolent Ass'n, 759 F.2d 859, 863-64 (11th Cir.1985), we held that an armed forces medical doctor, exempt from Florida's physician licensing requirement, was eligible to benefit fro......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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