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Supreme Court Denies Review of Feres Doctrine Challenge

When Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Clarence Thomas agree, you know that the world has turned upside down.  However, both justices would have granted certiorari to review a challenge to the infamous Feres Doctrine in the case of Daniel v. United States.  The Feres Doctrine was established by the Court’s decision in  Feres v. United States, 340 U.S. 135 (1950), which combined three pending federal cases for a hearing in certiorari in which the Court held 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.  This decision was an extension of the doctrine of sovereign immunity, but it has been carried to the extreme in barring medical malpractice claims by service members or their legal representatives/survivors for harm or loss of life caused by medical errors or omissions that fell below the community standard of practice.  In his dissent, Justice Thomas explained that “Feres was wrongly decided and heartily deserves the widespread, almost universal criticism it has received.”  Apparently, Congress will have to act to correct this injustice- sadly, this is unlikely in our contentious political climate.  A copy of the dissent by Justice Thomas is attached for your review-  danielcertdenied

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