348 U.S. 110 (1954), 38, United States v. Brown

Docket Nº:No. 38
Citation:348 U.S. 110, 75 S.Ct. 141, 99 L.Ed. 139
Party Name:United States v. Brown
Case Date:December 06, 1954
Court:United States Supreme Court
 
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Page 110

348 U.S. 110 (1954)

75 S.Ct. 141, 99 L.Ed. 139

United States

v.

Brown

No. 38

United States Supreme Court

Dec. 6, 1954

Argued November 15, 1954

CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS

FOR THE SECOND CIRCUIT

Syllabus

A discharged veteran may maintain an action against the United States under the Tort Claims Act for an injury suffered, after his discharge, in a Veterans Administration hospital as a result of negligent treatment of a service-connected disability, although his compensation under the Veterans Act has already been increased because of such injury. Brooks v. United Sate, 337 U.S. 49, followed; Feres v. United States, 340 U.S. 135, distinguished. Pp. 110-113.

209 F.2d 463, affirmed.

DOUGLAS, J., lead opinion

MR. JUSTICE DOUGLAS delivered the opinion of the Court.

This is a suit under the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1346(b), brought by respondent, a discharged veteran, for damages for negligence in the treatment of his left knee in a Veterans Administration Hospital. The injury to the knee occurred while respondent was on active duty in the Armed Services. The injury led to his honorable discharge in 1944. In 1950, the Veterans Administration performed an operation on the knee, but the knee continued to dislocate frequently. So another operation was performed by the Veterans Administration in 1951. It was during the latter operation that an allegedly defective tourniquet was used, as a result of which the nerves

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in respondent's leg were seriously and permanently injured.

The Independent Offices Appropriation Act, 1935, 48 Stat. 526, 38 U.S.C. § 501a, allows compensation both where the veteran suffers injury during hospitalization and where an existing injury is aggravated during the treatment. Each is considered as though it were "service-connected." Respondent received a compensation award for his knee injury when he was honorably discharged, and that award was increased after the 1951 operation.

The District Court agreed with the contention of petitioner that respondent's sole relief was under the Veterans Act, and dismissed his complaint under the Tort Claims Act. The Court of Appeals reversed. 209 F.2d 463. The case is here on a petition for certiorari which we granted, 347 U.S. 951, because of doubts as to whether Brooks v. United States, 337 U.S. 49, or Feres v. United...

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