United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
BRIAN T. CHRISTIE, Plaintiff,
OAKLAND V.A. ADMINISTRATION, Defendant.
R. Hornak Chief United States District Judge.
Brian Christie, a Vietnam War veteran acting pro se,
filed his Complaint (ECF No. 1) in this Court on May 11,
2017, alleging a claim for medical negligence for the care
and treatment he received at the Oakland V.A. Medical Center.
He alleges that he was given substandard care resulting in a
brain aneurism. (ECF No. 1-1.)
sought assistance from the Court to obtain legal counsel,
given the complexity of his lawsuit and his inexperience in
the medical and legal matters involved. The Court contacted
the Academy of Trial Lawyers of Allegheny County, and
thereafter attorney Peter Giglione entered his appearance as
counsel of record. (ECF No. 26.) However, the Court later
granted Giglione's motion to withdraw. (ECF No. 39.) On
the same date, October 8, 2018, the Court administratively
closed the case and instructed Plaintiff to file a
Certificate of Merit as required under Pennsylvania law
within sixty (60) days. (Id.)
January 25, 2019, the Court received a letter from Plaintiff
describing his account of records he had found and the names
of the doctors that he says mistreated him. (ECF No. 40.) On
April 2, 2019, the Court issued a Memorandum Order again
directing Plaintiff to file a Certificate of Merit and
describing the form such Certificate could take under Pa. R.
Civ. P. 1042.3(a)(1)&(e). (ECF No. 46.)
2, 2019, the Court received another letter from Plaintiff,
which: (a) stated that he had contacted state and county
courts and those courts did not want to be involved in his
case; and (b) set forth his own description and account of
his mistreatment. (ECF No. 47.) This correspondence did not
include a written statement by a licensed professional, or a
certification that expert testimony of a licensed
professional was unnecessary. (Id.)
United States filed a Motion for Summary Judgment. (ECF No.
49.) Plaintiff did not respond to the Motion. The Court has
reviewed the Motion, the briefing in support therein, all
applicable law, and the record in this case, and the matter
is ripe for the Court's disposition.
has moved for summary judgment on the grounds that he did not
attach the requisite Certificate of Merit to his Complaint.
judgment is appropriate if the record establishes "that
there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that
the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). Initially, the moving party bears the
burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of
material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317, 323 (1986). The movant meets this burden by pointing to
an absence of evidence supporting an essential element on
which the non-moving party will bear the burden of proof at
trial. Id. at 325. Once the moving party meets its
burden, the burden then shifts to the non-moving party to
show that there is a genuine issue for trial. Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(e)(2). An issue is "genuine" only if there is a
sufficient evidentiary basis for a reasonable jury to find
for the non-moving party, and a factual dispute is
"material" only if it might affect the outcome of
the action under the governing law. Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248-49 (1986).
opposing summary judgment, the non-moving party "may not
rely merely on allegations or denials in its own pleadings;
rather, its response must ... set out specific facts showing
a genuine issue for trial." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)(2). The
nonmoving party "cannot rely on unsupported allegations,
but must go beyond pleadings and provide some evidence that
would show that there exists a genuine issue for trial."
Jones v. United Parcel Serv., 214 F.3d 402, 407 (3d
Cir. 2000). Arguments made in briefs "are not evidence
and cannot by themselves create a factual dispute sufficient
to defeat a summary judgment motion." Jersey Cent.
Power & Light Co. v. Twp. of Lacey, 772 F.2d 1103,
1109-10 (3d Cir. 1985).
asserts a claim against the United States of America under
the FTCA that the doctors and staff at the Oakland V.A.
Medical Center were negligent in treating ...