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Federal Tort Section working to restore civil justice for servicemembers.

With the pending change in the administration and public opinion favoring servicemembers' rights, AAJ and the Federal Tort and Military Advocacy Section are challenging the long-standing injustice of the Feres doctrine and trying to restore a meaningful civil justice system to the men and women of the armed services.

The Feres doctrine essentially bars all tort claims by active-duty military members against the U.S. government for injuries to themselves--even when the injury occurs during noncombat or nonmilitary decision-making activities. (Feres v. United States, 340 U.S. 135 (1950).) This doctrine effectively denies servicemembers relief under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) for torts that occur in military communities.

The section is working on two fronts to support legislation to overturn the Feres doctrine. AAJ Public Affairs has developed talking points in support of H.R. 6093, a bill to allow servicemembers to bring a claim against the United States for injuries caused by negligent medical care provided by the government.

The bill, introduced in May by Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.), has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee. Public Affairs is urging the committee to review the bill before the 2008 elections.

The section is also working to garner support for a Foes resolution adopted by the Bar Association of the District of Columbia to legislatively overturn the "incident to service" Feres exception to the FTCA. Section members voted to pass the resolution, which is now working its way to the Board of Governors.
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Title Annotation:Sections
Date:Aug 1, 2008
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