Zanghi v. Sisters of Charity Hospital

Civil Practice

New York Law Journal


Judge William Skretny

Zanghi and Muniz sued Sisters of Charity Hospital in state court. Sisters cross-claimed against Frech and Northwest Buffalo Community Health Care Center, "public health service employees" deemed federal employees under the Federal Tort Claims Act. After removal the government sought dismissal for plaintiffs' failure to file an administrative claim. Sisters opposed dismissal, claiming the government a defendant in its cross-claim, which it sought to be converted into a third-party claim. The court substituted the government for Frech and Northwest, and dismissed suit as against Zanghi and Muniz. Granting Sisters conversion, the court held its third-party claim provided subject matter jurisdiction for the entire case. Like 28 USC §1442(a)(1), 42 USC §233(c) authorizes removal when a federal officer, employee or entity is sued in state court. Under §1442 federal officers are entitled to removal, even if sued only as third-party defendants. Federal courts then have jurisdiction over the entire case. Thus, if federal courts have jurisdiction over claims removed by federal officers as third parties, they also have jurisdiction over cases where a third-party claim against the government remains after the government's dismissal from the original complaint.

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