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Bob Carroll
Bob Carroll
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The Feres Doctrine Means Federal Government Is Immune From Suits By Active-Duty Military

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A navy wife makes the discovery that her Navy pilot husband, who is on active duty in the military, would be barred from suing the federal government for any medical malpractice that caused him injury. Her post at PalmTree Pundit expresses her feelings that this is more than unfair and contains a very good, short explanation of the situation.

Under the Federal Tort Claims Act and a U.S. Supreme Court ruling from 1950, active-duty military personnel are barred from suing the U.S. government for injuries “incident to service,” even if gross negligence was the cause.

The courts have broadly interpreted that prohibition, called the Feres Doctrine, to apply to virtually any kind of injury related to military service, even if the injury occurred off the job or wasn’t caused by military personnel.

A court, for instance, tossed out a lawsuit by the widow of a military policeman who was off-duty and off-base when he was killed by a driver who had been drinking at a military club. The court cited the Feres Doctrine.