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Help abolish the Feres Doctrine

February 4th, 2008 · 16 Comments

Sign the petitionhttp://www.petitiononline.com/fd1950/petition-sign.html

The Feres Doctrine,I probably read about it on high school but I don’t remember.  Now, years later it is haunting my family as well as many other military families. (Taken from Wikipedia) …Feres v. United States, 340 U.S. 135 (1950), is a case 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 successfully collecting damages for personal injuries, whether or not they were suffered 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 (such as medical malpractice), 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.

What is basically means to us is that because my husband is active duty, he is required to seek medical treatment from the military, and regardless of the outcome of the treatment, the military is not financially responsible.  The military can make any sort of careless mistake with his medical care which can result in death or permanent damage and we cannot file a lawsuit.  We are not looking to profit off of the unfortunate diagnosis my husband received.  However, the fact that he did not receive proper treatment which resulted in a subsequent brain surgery and eminent premature retirement does not seem right. How does it seem fair that because the military messed up they are pushing my husband out of the service?  My husband is not well enough to work and he faces multiple future surgeries and other medical treatment. Because he is going to be forced into retirement he will receive a significant cut in pay.  How are we supposed to make up for this pay cut?  I must return to work, which I have no problem with but who is going to drive him to his medical appointments and take care of him during the day following his surgeries if I have to return to work to financially support our family?

Now I understand that once you join the military you give up a lot of your rights.  However, how is it that convicted criminals…murders, child predators , and others on death row have more rights than those serving and protecting our country?  People in prison have a right to file a malpractice lawsuit but people protecting our freedom do not?  That does not make sense to me.

It is sad and very alarming that we are not the only family affected by this.  If you search the Internet there are many service members who are haunted by the Feres Doctrine. Below are stories of some others:


Sgt. Carmelo Rodriguez


LT Clark and CDR Lamoreaux  

On Feb 18 1996, LT Clark and CDR Lamoreaux died in an explosion caused by a GE engine defect the Navy brass knew about but chose to ignore. The Feres Doctrine prevented their widows from suing GE for wrongful death. Feres is a license to kill our own service members.


(spouse) Alexis Witt

“I have just taken my husband off life support at Travis AFB David Grant Medical Center. He had a routine appendectomy performed, he went without oxygen for 12-15 minutes after surgery because the staff tried to revive him with pediatric equipment…. many other mistakes were made that contributed. You can read about it online with the Salt Lake Tribune. ”

sincerley alexis witt

SPC Richard Jackson

“My husband is currently in the United States Army. He loves his country and is now getting medically chaptered out because of an acident he was in on October 22,2002. While he was loading a round into his tank while at gnnery, the new AIMS device caught him in the side of the head and crushed his skull. When he went into surgery 2 days later, he had both of his eyes working, undeleivibly. The doctors from BAMC hospital came out to tell me that while the surgery was successful, my husband is now permantly blind in his right eye and woudl never fee the side of his face again. The eyesight was lost because the docotrs went in too soon and caused severe sweeling. This was told to me by the doctors, they addmitted the fault. Now my husban who was a career soldier is being put out. He has nop other job skills then driving tractor an trailors, and that is not advises or leagal wih one eye and when we spoke to a lawyer they said nothing could be done because of the “Feres Doctrine”. Where are the rights fr the soldiers and there families. What help will we recieve now that he has to start over. What compensation is out ther for the families that have been hurt and whowill take the people rsposible to task for what they did? This document is a farce and it is fr the government to hide bhind. My husband gladl would give his life for his country beause he believes in it. Now the government wont help him. If anyone knows anything that can be of help please let me know and I will gladly help anyone who needs it. ”
Alexis and Spc Richard Jackson
Ft hood Texas

(mother) Dorothy L. Bundrant dbund65371@aol.com

“FN Darion A. Price USN, KILLED MY SON, Cpl. Andrew R. Franco, on April 1, 2001, our Government knows and does not care. It happened on the USS Portland, during routine training. The sad thing is I believe my son was not the only one that died during that 6-month training.

        My name is Dorothy L. Bundrant. My 25 year old son is/was a Marine. My son, CPL Andrew R. Franco Jr., fell 25ft through an open hatch on the catwalk, which was carelessly left open by FN Darion A. Price USN, on March 29, 2001. My Son was in a coma for 3 days in Ramstein, Germany; while Andrew’s father and I were waiting for the Marines to obtain all the paperwork needed so that we could be with our son, he died, it was April 1, 2001. We never had the chance to tell him that we love him, or to say goodbye.

        At any other time this incident would be called negligent homicide or wrongful death but because my Son died in the military it was called a safety issue. WHERE IS THE JUSTICE that Andrew’s brothers, Father and I deserve? To my knowledge FN Darion A. Price USN has never once shown any remorse for his actions that caused my son’s death. He definitely never told my family or me that he was sorry.

Because it happened in the military both FN Darion A. Price USN and our government are immune; we will never receive the justice that we deserve”

Tags: Carmelo Rodriguez · Feres Doctrine · loss of consortium · malpractice · medical malpractice · Sgt. Carmelo ROdriguez · Uncategorized · wrongful death