throbber
Cite as: 570 U. S. ____ (2013)
`
`
`THOMAS, J., dissenting
`
`1
`
`SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
`
`LINDA LANUS, AS PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE
`ESTATE OF ERIC K. LANUS v. UNITED STATES
`
`ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED
`STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE ELEVENTH CIRCUIT
`
`No. 12–862. Decided June 27, 2013
`
` The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied.
`
` JUSTICE THOMAS, dissenting from denial of certiorari.
` Petitioner Linda Lanus asks the Court to revisit our
`decision in Feres v. United States, 340 U. S. 135 (1950),
`which interpreted the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) to
`deny military personnel the ability to recover for injuries
`resulting from the negligence of federal employees. I would
`grant the petition to reconsider Feres’ exclusion of claims
`by military personnel from the scope of the FTCA.
` The FTCA is a sweeping waiver of sovereign immunity
`that, under specified circumstances, renders the Govern-
`ment liable for money damages for a variety of injuries
`caused by the negligence of Government employees. 28
`U. S. C. §1346(b)(1). As written, the FTCA “renders the
`United States liable to all persons, including service-
`men, injured by the negligence of Government employ-
`ees.” United States v. Johnson, 481 U. S. 681, 693 (1987)
`(SCALIA, J., dissenting). While the Act contains a number
`of exceptions to this broad waiver of immunity, “none
`generally precludes FTCA suits brought by servicemen.”
`Ibid. Congress contemplated such an exception, Feres,
`supra, at 139, but codified language that is far more lim-
`ited. See §2680(j) (excluding from waiver “[a]ny claim
`arising out of the combatant activities of the military or
`naval forces, or the Coast Guard, during time of war”
`(emphasis added)).
` Nevertheless, in Feres, the Court held that “the Gov-
`ernment is not liable under the [FTCA] for injuries to
`
`

`
`2
`
`
`LANUS v. UNITED STATES
`
`
`THOMAS, J., dissenting
`
`servicemen where the injuries arise out of or are in the
`course of activity incident to service.” 340 U. S., at 146.
`There is no support for this conclusion in the text of the
`statute, and it has the unfortunate consequence of depriv-
`ing servicemen of any remedy when they are injured by
`the negligence of the Government or its employees. I tend
`to agree with Justice Scalia that “Feres was wrongly de-
`cided and heartily deserves the widespread, almost uni-
`versal criticism it has received.” Johnson, supra, at 700
`(internal quotation marks omitted). At a bare minimum,
`it should be reconsidered.
` The instant petition asks the Court to do just that. I
`would grant this request. Private reliance interests on a
`decision that precludes tort recoveries by military person-
`nel are nonexistent, and I see no other reason why the
`Court should hesitate to bring its interpretation of the FTCA
`in line with the plain meaning of the statute. I, there-
`fore, respectfully dissent from the Court’s decision to deny
`this petition.

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