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    THE FERES DOCTRINE

    The Feres Doctrine, established in 1950, is a rule which provides legal immunity
    to the United States Military in personal injury cases. No suit against the
    government is allowed when the victim of a personal injury is an active duty
    member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines or Coast Guard and the harm was
    caused by the negligence of the United States military.

       Military Aviation Accidents
    In the case of a military aviation accident, the doctrine prevents service members
    from suing the government regardless of whether the crash was caused by the
    negligence of a military mechanic, dispatcher, pilot or air traffic controller.

    Military Medical Malpractice
    In the case of military medical malpractice, the doctrine bars the service member
    or surviving family form bringing a lawsuit against a military doctor, nurse,
    hospital or medical facility.

    As you may well imagine, the Feres Doctrine is very controversial.  The doctrine
    allows the all branches of military to avoid responsibility for not just simple
    negligence, but for gross negligence as well.  Because of its unfairness, Congress
    has repeatedly been asked to abolish the rule, or at least limit it.  But the Feres
    Doctrine remains the law.  As long as the victim was an "active" service member,
    and the injury or death was "incident to service," the military is immune from
    suit.  

    You can read the full Supreme Court decision here: Feres v. United States 340 U.
    S. 135
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