The Feres Doctrine: an Examination of This Military Exception to the Federal Tort Claims Act: Hearing Before the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, One Hundred Seventh Congress, Second Session, October 8, 2002
by United States. Congress. Senate. Committee On The Judiciary
Very good. No dust jacket. S. Hrg. 107-977. Serial No. J-107-109. From Wikipedia: "Feres v. United States, 340 U.S. 135 (1950), combined three pending federal cases for a hearing in certiorari in which the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the United States is not liable under the Federal Tort Claims Act for injuries to members of the armed forces sustained while on active duty and not on furlough and resulting from the negligence of others in the armed forces. The opinion is an extension of the English common-law concept of sovereign immunity. The practical effect is that the Feres doctrine effectively bars service members from collecting damages from the United States Government for personal injuries experienced in the performance of their duties. It also bars families of service members from filing wrongful death or loss of consortium actions when a service member is killed or injured. The bar does not extend to killed or injured family members, so a spouse or child may still sue the United States for tort claims, nor does it bar service members from filing either in loco parentis on their child's behalf or filing for wrongful death or loss of consortium as a companion claim to a spouse or child's suit. There have been exceptions to the Feres doctrine where active duty members have been allowed to sue for injuries when the court found that civilians could have been harmed in the same manner under the same circumstances in which the service member's injuries occurred. Injuries experienced by service members while on active duty are covered by various Veteran Administration benefit legislation. Feres v. United States combined three cases pending in the federal courts: The Feres case, the Jefferson case and the Griggs case. A common issue arising under the Federal Tort Claims Act, as to which Courts of Appeals are in conflict, makes it appropriate to consider three cases in one opinion. The Feres case: The District Court dismissed an action by the executrix of Feres against the United States to  recover for death caused by negligence. Decedent perished by fire in the barracks at Pine Camp, New York, while on active duty in service of the United States. Negligence was alleged in quartering him in barracks known or which should have been known to be unsafe because of a defective heating plant, and in failing to maintain an adequate fire watch. The Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, dismissed the case. The Jefferson case: Plaintiff, while in the Army, was required to undergo an abdominal operation. About eight months later, in the course of another operation after plaintiff was discharged, a towel 30 inches long by 18 inches wide, marked "Medical Department U.S. Army, " was discovered and removed from his stomach. The complaint alleged that it was negligently left there by the army surgeon. The District Court, being doubtful of the law, refused without prejudice the Government's pretrial motion to dismiss the complaint. After trial, finding negligence as a fact, Judge Chesnut carefully reexamined the issue of law and concluded that the Act does not charge the United States with liability in this type of case. The Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit, affirmed dismissed the case. The Griggs case: The District Court dismissed the complaint of Griggs' executrix, which alleged that while on active duty he met death because of negligent and unskillful medical treatment by army surgeons. The Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, reversed and, one judge dissenting, held that the complaint stated a cause of action under the Act. The case is heard by the United States Supreme Court in certiorari."
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