Coleman v. United States

FILED United States Court of Appeals UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS Tenth Circuit FOR THE TENTH CIRCUIT February 26, 2020 _________________________________ Christopher M. Wolpert Clerk of Court ALEX COLEMAN, Plaintiff – Appellant, v. No. 19-1162 (D.C. No. 1:18-CV-01965-KMT) UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, (D. Colo.) Defendant – Appellee. _________________________________ ORDER AND JUDGMENT* _________________________________ Before MATHESON, KELLY, and PHILLIPS, Circuit Judges. _________________________________ Alex Coleman, a federal prisoner appearing pro se, sued the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act (“FTCA”), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1346(b), 2671-2680. He alleged that Bureau of Prisons medical staff negligently failed to provide him with medical care. The district court dismissed his suit because he failed to file a certificate of review supporting his claim. Exercising jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, we vacate the district court’s decision and remand. * After examining the briefs and appellate record, this panel has determined unanimously to honor the parties’ request for a decision on the briefs without oral argument. See Fed. R. App. P. 34(f); 10th Cir. R. 34.1(G). The case is therefore submitted without oral argument. This order and judgment is not binding precedent, except under the doctrines of law of the case, res judicata, and collateral estoppel. It may be cited, however, for its persuasive value consistent with Fed. R. App. P. 32.1 and 10th Cir. R. 32.1. I. BACKGROUND Mr. Coleman alleged the following: When serving his sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in Englewood, Colorado (“FCI Englewood”), he experienced dizziness, shortness of breath, vomiting, loss of consciousness, and other symptoms over the course of a day. He sought medical attention, but the nurse who responded failed to evaluate or treat him. When his symptoms persisted, Mr. Coleman sought medical care a second time, but a doctor returned him to his cell without evaluation. Mr. Coleman then suffered a seizure, which prompted his transport to an outside hospital. Doctors there determined he had blood clots in each leg and in his chest. He nearly died due to the prison medical providers’ lack of care.1 Mr. Coleman sued the United States under the FTCA, seeking damages for the prison medical providers’ alleged negligence in failing to evaluate and treat him. The government moved to dismiss the complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) because he had not filed a certificate of review under Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-20-602. In response, Mr. Coleman asked the district court to appoint counsel or to send him the certificate forms because he was unfamiliar with a certificate of review and did not have access to legal resources. The court denied his request for counsel and informed him that it did not have a certificate form, which is “a requirement of Colorado, and not federal, law.” ROA at 87. 1 In his appellate brief, Mr. Coleman further alleges that the prison medical providers’ lack of care caused him to suffer a pulmonary embolism and other injuries, his injuries continue to this day, and he is housed at a prison medical facility …Original document