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Feres doctrineJoe Segen2016-12-15T22:56:14+00:00
Definition The Feres doctrine is based on Feres v. United States, 340 U.S. 135 (1950), which bars malpractice claims by US military personnel for service-related injuries or losses.
Feres was heard before the US Supreme Court, which ruled that the United States was not liable under the Federal Tort Claims Act for injuries to members of the military sustained while on active duty resulting from the negligence of others–e.g., due to “friendly fire”, in the armed forces.
Comment Feres is an extension of sovereign immunity in English common law. It does not extend to killed or injured family members, so a spouse or child may still sue the United States. In Martinelli v. United States Department of the Army, 1987, the Court opined that any relaxation in the Feres doctrine must come from Congress.
AMN 5/12/94, p20