Argued: March 16, 2017
from the United States District Court for the Eastern
District of Kentucky at Lexington. No. 5:12-cv-00334-Joseph
M. Hood, District Judge.
Caroline D. Lopez, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE,
Washington, D.C., for Appellant/Cross-Appellee.
P. Prather, GARMER & PRATHER, PLLC, Lexington, Kentucky,
Caroline D. Lopez, Mark B. Stern, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF
JUSTICE, Washington, D.C., for Appellant/Cross-Appellee.
P. Prather, William R. Garmer, GARMER & PRATHER, PLLC,
Lexington, Kentucky, for Appellee/Cross-Appellant.
Before: BOGGS, ROGERS, and COOK, Circuit Judges.
ROGERS, Circuit Judge.
recovering what amounted to workers' compensation
benefits under the Federal Employees' Compensation Act
(FECA) for injuries incurred as a postal worker, plaintiff
Gary Williamson sought damages under the Federal Tort Claims
Act (FTCA) for medical malpractice on the part of the
Department of Veterans Affairs in the treatment of those
injuries. Liability under FECA, however, is
"exclusive" of "all other liability of the
United States" to the employee "under a Federal
tort liability statute." 5 U.S.C. § 8116(c) (2012).
Because this exclusion applies broadly even when a
work-related injury has been negligently treated by an
entirely non-work-related federal hospital, plaintiff
Williamson may not recover under the FTCA.
end of September or the beginning of October 2009, Gary
Williamson, an Army veteran and U.S. postal worker, began
experiencing pain in his right foot. At that time, he was a
mail carrier for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) in Lexington,
Kentucky. He usually worked a walking route, walking up to
eight miles per day on the job. He was also doing other
physical activity around that time, including running and
CrossFit, which could have contributed to his injury.
first visited the VA Emergency Department (VA ED) for his
foot pain on October 26, 2009. The treating physician took
X-rays and diagnosed Williamson with a sprain, but at trial,
Williamson's medical expert testified that the October 26
X-rays show a navicular fracture in Williamson's right
foot. Williamson next visited the VA ED on November 27, 2009,
after stepping in a hole along his mail route and twisting
his ankle. Again, X-rays were taken, and again the treating
physician found no fracture.
pain persisted after a third visit to the VA in December.
Later in December, Williamson's primary care doctor
referred him to a podiatrist at the VA. On January 20, 2010,
the podiatrist diagnosed Williamson with a navicular fracture
in his right foot and prescribed "a CAM walker-a
removable boot used to offload pressure from a patient's
foot." Williamson's medical expert testified that
this treatment plan violated the standard of care for
treating a navicular fracture, which is six weeks of no
weight-bearing in a cast. About one week ...