Take 5

Court Denies Government’s Motion to Dismiss in Mary Lee’s Wrongful Death Case Against VA

In a recent development, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi denied the Government’s motion to dismiss a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Mary Lee against the United States of America and other defendants. The case revolves around the death of Joseph Tilton Lee, who was treated at the G.V. Sonny Montgomery VA Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi.

Mary Lee, the plaintiff, filed the lawsuit individually and on behalf of the wrongful death beneficiaries of Joseph Tilton Lee. The case alleges that the VA provided improper diagnosis to Mr. Lee, assuring him and his wife that he did not have cancer when he was, in fact, suffering from the disease. The improper diagnosis allegedly “diminished his lifespan [and] deteriorated his health,” eventually leading to his death on March 23, 2020.

The Government moved to dismiss the case, arguing that Ms. Lee did not properly present her claim to the VA before suing and that she did not comply with the Federal Tort Claims Act’s (FTCA) two-year statute of limitations. However, the court denied the motion, stating that Ms. Lee had given the VA sufficient notice to investigate her claim and had placed a value on her claim, thus properly presenting it to the VA as required by 28 U.S.C. § 2675(a).

The court also found that the Government had failed to meet its burden to show that Ms. Lee did not comply with the FTCA’s statute of limitations. It was determined that the VA likely received Ms. Lee’s Notice of Claim before the deadline of March 24, 2022.

The case will now proceed, marking a significant step for Mary Lee in her pursuit of justice for the wrongful death of her husband.

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