TortsProf Blog

Editor: Christopher J. Robinette
Widener Commonwealth Law School

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Bypassing the Feres Doctrine?

Under a provision inserted into the annual defense authorization bill, Defense Department officials could offer payouts to victims of military medical malpractice.  In what is essentially a compromise, the Feres doctrine, prohibiting victims of military medical malpractice from recovering in court, would not be overturned.  Instead, an administrative compensation program would be created:

In the legislation, lawmakers noted that although the move “does not change or repeal the Feres doctrine, it authorizes the Secretary of Defense to allow, settle, and pay an administrative claim against the United States for personal injury or death … that was the result of medical malpractice caused by a Department of Defense health care provider.”

Most claims would be limited to under $100,000, although the secretary could authorize larger payouts in some circumstances.

The House should vote on the bill today, with the Senate following early next week.  The legislation has passed Congress in each of the last 58 years.  Military Times has the story.

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/tortsprof/2019/12/bypassing-the-feres-doctrine.html

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