Minns v. United States
United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
155 F.3d 445 (1998)
The United States (defendant) military decided to inoculate three servicemen and expose them to toxins and pesticides in preparation for Operation Desert Storm and the Persian Gulf War in anticipation of Iraq’s possible use of biological and chemical weapons. The servicemen returned home after the war to their wives (plaintiffs) and fathered children (plaintiffs). All the children suffered from the same rare birth defect called Goldenhar’s syndrome, which produced various deformities. Based on preliminary studies, the wives believed that the toxins were possibly stored in the servicemen’s semen, passed on to their wives, and ultimately released to the fetuses. The wives and children presented claims for damages to the Office of the Judge Advocate General (JAG) under the Military Claims Act. JAG disallowed these claims. The wives and children filed actions in the district court to review the JAG decisions and to assert independent negligence claims against the US under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). The wives and children claimed that the military committed negligent acts directed at them by negligently administering investigational and defective drugs to the servicemen, which later caused the children’s birth defects. The district court ruled that it did not have jurisdiction to review JAG decisions. It ruled that the Feres doctrine, which barred a suit by a nonservice person based on an injury with a genesis in an injury suffered by the service person incident to service, excluded derivative-genetic-injury claims under the FTCA. The district court dismissed the claims.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Niemeyer, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 687,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Berkeley, and Northwestern—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students.Unlock this case briefRead our student testimonials
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students.Learn about our approachRead more about Quimbee
Here's why 687,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 43,000 briefs, keyed to 988 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.