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U.S. asks court to dismiss ex-soldier's injury lawsuit

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Rose Siding Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-05 11:08 AM
Original message
U.S. asks court to dismiss ex-soldier's injury lawsuit
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The federal government is asking a judge to throw out a lawsuit filed by a former soldier from Kentucky who is suing the Army and Navy for injuries he received during a training exercise at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The government filed a motion to dismiss Sean D. Baker's lawsuit, which has received national media attention. The motion says Baker, of Georgetown, cannot sue the government for injuries he incurred during military service. The government also says that, because Baker's injuries occurred in Cuba, he cannot sue in this country.

Baker was injured while participating in a training exercise as a military police officer on Jan. 24, 2003. He had volunteered to play an unruly detainee who refused to comply with guards' orders.

His lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Lexington, says that, during the exercise, his head was repeatedly shoved against a steel floor, causing him serious brain trauma. The injuries resulted in multiple hospital stays and seizures.

http://www.courier-journal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050821/NEWS0104/508210477/1008/NEWS01
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maddezmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-05 11:18 AM
Response to Original message
1. recommended
* and this administration care nothing for the troops... :mad:
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Benhurst Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-05 11:44 AM
Response to Reply #1
5. Seconded. NT
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peacetalksforall Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-05 11:21 AM
Response to Original message
2. They're going to get a lot of recruits now. Because it occurred at the
U.S.'s facility in Cuba is one of the reasons? Unbelievable. That is the closest we come to not allowing benefits to the injured because they were injured outside the U.S.?

Was that rule recently written? Who wrote it? Under what jurisdiction? Was Congress involved? Did the President sign this law? Was this an old law that has been on the books since our imperialist moves on the Philippines or even from the time of our time in Cuba?

What the heck is going on with this country?
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oneighty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-05 11:22 AM
Response to Original message
3. Oh
Edited on Sun Aug-21-05 11:26 AM by oneighty
He is getting a full disability pension? Meaning 100% service connected disability is 2,400+ dollars a month in addition to priority health care for life. If he is married his wife also gets health care.

This is a strange story if that is true. It is a law suit he almost certainly will lose.

It will be interesting to see how far he will go in the suit.

IMHO

180
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PSPS Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-05 12:17 PM
Response to Reply #3
7. Maybe, but look at the policy implications
WHen this man's injuries were first reported, they described his being sadistically tortured even after he uttered the "safe word." The other "troops" in the "training exercise" were so hopped up that they didn't stop trying to kill him.

But if, as you say, he is only entitled to the routine disability allowance, etc., ($2,400/month pension and "medical care"), does this mean that, as an enlisted person, your well-being is essentially "bought off" with such compensation?

If so, that would mean that you could literally be used as a target in live-round target practice and, after you're dead, the government escapes all culpability. Or if you live, you simply get $2,400/month of taxpayer money until you die of the injuries and "free medical care" if you can get it in our eviscerated VA system.
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HawkerHurricane Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-05 11:39 AM
Response to Original message
4. "was awarded a full disability pension."
Sorry, but this time the Feds were right. He gets 3/4ths of his base pay tax free for the rest of his life, plus free health care... that's the deal that he was due as a military man disabled 'in the line of duty'.
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existentialist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-05 12:21 PM
Response to Reply #4
8. Legally, I believe that you are correct.
Still, the incident, how it happened, and the resulting injury deserve media coverage even if the lawsuit is most appropriately dismissed.
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HawkerHurricane Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-05 08:39 PM
Response to Reply #8
21. Legally, yes.
Morally... I leave that for the more philosophical.
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mbperrin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-05 12:28 PM
Response to Reply #4
9. Got a dollar figure for that 3/4? I've been looking around
and so far haven't found one. Thanks.
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Mairead Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-05 01:27 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. He was a Specialist, which is the equivalent of a Corporal
Which would mean his 3/4 is somewhere in the range $14,517 to $17,620 p.a.
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Iowa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-05 02:11 PM
Response to Reply #9
15. And is his pay indexed to inflation?
That's a crucial issue. If it isn't, it will become worthless over time. Spending a tad more than half, and putting the rest into a sinking fund, would probably enable him to keep up with inflation. Anyone know whether it's indexed?
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oneighty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-05 02:18 PM
Response to Reply #15
17. Disability benefit
increases the same as Social Security in my experience.

180
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LisaL Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-05 12:35 PM
Response to Reply #4
10. One might say he would prefer to have his brain working
as it was before his head was repeatedly bashed to receiving 3/4th of his base pay.
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HawkerHurricane Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-05 08:40 PM
Response to Reply #10
22. Can't argue with that, can you.
It's poor compensation for a life crippling injury. See "Last of the Light Brigade" by Kipling...
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oneighty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-05 02:14 PM
Response to Reply #4
16. 100 per cent service connected disability
with one dependent is $2,429 a month, 2005, regardless of rank as far as I can tell from my Department of Veterans Affairs hand book. There are additional benefits for some disabilities-such as house bound.

What is a "full disability pension" you are referring to Hawker?

Persons injured in a VA hosp due to botched care/surgery can sue the government.

Seems since this Vet was injured possibly due to negligence he might have a case. It would be interesting to learn the final outcome.

180
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HawkerHurricane Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-05 08:38 PM
Response to Reply #16
20. See...
http://usmilitary.about.com/cs/generalpay/a/retirementpay_3.htm

The amount of your disability retired pay is determined by one of three methods:

The first method is to multiply your by your base pay or average of highest 36 months of active duty pay at the time of retirement by the percentage of disability which has been assigned. Sponsored Links
Military Veteran Benefit
Search 1000's of Jobs! Utilize Your Military Training. Post Your However, the minimum percentage for temporary disability retirees will equal 50%. The maximum percentage for any type of retirement is 75%.
The second method is to multiply only your years of active service at the time of your retirement by 2.5% by your base pay or average of highest 36 months of active duty pay at the time of retirement.
The third method applies to you if you were eligible to retire/transfer under any other law. DFAS will compute your entitlements using both methods above, and use the one which results in the greatest amount of retired pay. If you desire that another method be used, you may request (in writing) that the other method be used.

Since he is 'fully disabled', he would get 75% of the average of the highest paid 36 months of service (good grief, you can't just give the man 75% of his base pay?). This money is indexed for inflation the same way that social security is.

Unfortunately, it's tough for a man who was given negligent/incompetent medical treatment while active duty to get anywhere by sueing. Basically, you can't.

Oh, and as for "it happened in Cuba, it doesn't count"... that's a lame ass lawyer trick, and has nothing to do with it. If I'm injured in a training accident while on active duty, it doesn't matter where it happened... especially not on a military base that might as well be U.S. territory. The Cuban government has no control over the base, so why does it matter? (Other than making the government look stupid.)
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saigon68 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-05 08:50 PM
Response to Reply #16
24. Unruly detainee Hmm --He's lucky he didn't get his balls bit off by dogs.
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brentspeak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-05 11:52 AM
Response to Original message
6. self-del
Edited on Sun Aug-21-05 11:53 AM by brentspeak
del
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-05 01:56 PM
Response to Original message
12. 60 Minutes story on Sean D. Baker, which aired in November, 2004.


Baker, who was a military policeman in the Guantanamo
Bay prison, now requires heavy doses of medication each
day. (Photo: CBS)


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
......Every extraction drill at Guantanamo was routinely videotaped, and the tape of this drill would show what happened. But Baker says his squad leader came back and said, "There is no tape."

"That was the only time that I heard that a tape had gone missing," says Riley, Baker's platoon sergeant.

"Of all the tapes, this was probably the most important one that we should have kept," adds England.

Baker started having a seizure that morning and was whisked to the Naval Hospital at Guantanamo. " he'd had the crap beat out of him. He had a concussion. I mean, it was textbook," says Riley. "(snip)

Baker got back to Guantanamo, and hoped no one would notice he was having seizures, but they got to the point where he says he couldn't hide them: "I was shaking and convulsing around people."

Some days, he says, he was having 10 to 12 seizures per day.
(snip/...)
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/11/02/60II/main652953.shtml

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niallmac Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-05 02:00 PM
Response to Original message
13. Are the officers in charge of the training mission named as
defendants? Does not take much experience to know that the victim scenario described here is ripe for a meltdown into animality. The officers who set up the Abu Ghraib situation must have known that as well, or do I give everyone too much credit?
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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-05 02:01 PM
Response to Original message
14. Soldier cannot sue government for LSD experiments
U.S. v. Stanley, 479 U.S. 1005 (1986)

SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
No. 86-393 <snip>
decided: June 25, 1987 <snip>

CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE ELEVENTH CIRCUIT. <snip>

Scalia, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Rehnquist, C. J., and White, Blackmun, and Powell, JJ., joined, and in Part I of which Brennan, Marshall, Stevens, and O'Connor, JJ., joined. Brennan, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part, in which Marshall, J., joined, and in Part III of which Stevens, J., joined, post, p. 686. O'Connor, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part, post, p. 708.

Author: Scalia <snip>

http://biotech.law.lsu.edu/cases/research/stanley.htm


Supreme Court Dissents Invoke the Nuremberg Code: CIA and DOD Human Subjects Research Scandals

<snip> In December 1974, the New York Times reported that the CIA had conducted illegal domestic activities, including experiments on U.S. citizens, during the 1960s. That report prompted investigations by both Congress (in the form of the Church Committee) and a presidential commission (known as the Rockefeller Commission) into the domestic activities of the CIA, the FBI, and intelligence-related agencies of the military. In the summer of 1975, congressional hearings and the Rockefeller Commission report revealed to the public for the first time that the CIA and the DOD had conducted experiments on both cognizant and unwitting human subjects as part of an extensive program to influence and control human behavior through the use of psychoactive drugs (such as LSD and mescaline) and other chemical, biological, and psychological means. They also revealed that at least one subject had died after administration of LSD. Frank Olson, an Army scientist, was given LSD without his knowledge or consent in 1953 as part of a CIA experiment and apparently committed suicide a week later.<75> Subsequent reports would show that another person, Harold Blauer, a professional tennis player in New York City, died as a result of a secret Army experiment involving mescaline.<76> <snip>

.. One subject of Army drug experimentation, James Stanley, an Army sergeant, brought an important, albeit unsuccessful, suit. The government argued that Stanley was barred from suing it under a legal doctrine--known as the Feres doctrine, after a 1950 Supreme Court case, Feres v. United States--that prohibits members of the Armed Forces from suing the government for any harms that were inflicted "incident to service."<88>

In 1987, the Supreme Court affirmed this defense in a 5-4 decision that dismissed Stanley's case.<89> The majority argued that "a test for liability that depends on the extent to which particular suits would call into question military discipline and decision making would itself require judicial inquiry into, and hence intrusion upon, military matters."<90> In dissent, Justice William Brennan argued that the need to preserve military discipline should not protect the government from liability and punishment for serious violations of constitutional rights ... <snip>

http://www.eh.doe.gov/ohre/roadmap/achre/chap3_4.html
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neonplaque Donating Member (204 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-05 03:06 PM
Response to Original message
18. What kind of "training" involves...
Smashing a man's head against a steel floor? WTF are they learning? If they behave this way in 'training', what do they do to real prisoners? :(
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jody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-05 04:19 PM
Response to Original message
19. Join the military and lose all rights. n/t
Edited on Sun Aug-21-05 04:22 PM by jody
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PassingFair Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-05 08:47 PM
Response to Original message
23. He VOLUNTEERED to play an unruly detainee?
He's lucky he wasn't RAPED!

:sarcasm:
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