“Marine recruit sues Corps for making him exercise in the summer”

by Walter Olson on July 12, 2010

“A Marine recruit is suing his recruiters and the U.S. Marine Corps after he suffered a heat stroke during what he claims was vigorous physical activity in extreme heat conditions.” [SE Texas Record via (language) Popehat]

P.S. Note readers’ comments on the differences between the “pre-entry” training at issue here and the boot camp that would follow actual enlistment.

{ 11 comments }

1 Reformed Republican 07.12.10 at 7:39 am

Next thing you know, someone will sue for emotional abuse in boot camp.

2 John 07.12.10 at 8:18 am

I was smart. I went into the Army in 1960. In 1962, after graduating from high school, my next younger brother entered the Corps. He came home from boot camp, standing tall and looking sharp, with the exception of some large knots on the back of his head.

Father: Whre did you get those knots, son?

Brother: I had a disagreement with the drill instructor. He took me into the latrine, held me by the ears and hit the wall with my head several times in rapid succession.

Father: And what was the result?

Brother: I came to more fully appreciate the drill intructor’s point of view.

Regards

3 Scott 07.12.10 at 10:12 am

This sounds ridiculous from the headline, but reading the story raises a few questions – he was hospitalized from the exercise in 100+ heat, but due to his status as a delayted entry/enlistee the USMC did not foot any of the medical bills which makes it not quite as frivolous as the headline sounds.

4 Ant_M 07.12.10 at 10:41 am

Might have reasonable background.
In the Army, we were not expected to discuss whether we want to do some activity or not. (Anyway, it is the armed forces. If they may require you to die, they may anything.)
But, equally, there was no discussion as to whether the Army gets us medical care, if needed and at all possible, let alone who will pay for it.
(“Casevac! Private XY over there, chest wound!” “Aye, aye, sir. Where is his medical insurance?”)

5 mojo 07.12.10 at 11:27 am
6 Greg Dwyer 07.12.10 at 11:37 am

Gee, I sure hope we’re not deploying troops to any hot desert regions. He might get it again

7 Aaron Worthing 07.12.10 at 2:54 pm

his next suit will be because the marines negligently assigned him to a combat zone where he was shot.

8 Jay 07.12.10 at 11:01 pm

During basic, back in the early 90’s, we were kept EXTREMELY aware of heat categories. We had a pair of Drill Sergeants that got into some major trouble for forcing recruits to work out too long, too hard in the heat of the day. Sure, they’ll likely be going into worse conditions, but that’s still not an excuse to exceed military protocol during basic.

From the sounds of the article, and the fact the recruit was in the Delayed Entry Program and the Marines named in the suit were both recruiters, this isn’t a recruit having problems in basic training. This is more likely a recruit at some event that recruiters were holding to help recruits get into shape and get used to the exercises they’ll do during Boot. This is more like a college sports team hazing, with the people directing the action not quite up on training criteria and what to look out for in people to detect heat stroke and other strains. It’s also probably not training under any other controlled conditions, like appropriate water and making sure recruits have done little things like eat that day. And I seriously doubt it was an atmosphere that would foster the idea of asking for a water break or a little rest as being acceptable.

9 old jarhead 07.13.10 at 12:49 am

Having done the bootcamp thing in ’68, I won’t bother pointing out the differences in the situational environment except the fact that a “lawsuit” was not even on the radar as a means of rectifying a perceived dangerous condition. Were other avenues pursued before the leeches were called in?

10 USNR (Ret) 07.13.10 at 8:19 am

Maybe we do need an attorney for this one.

The military has significantly improved its management of personnel in Delayed Entry Programs (DEP), which is a benefit to the taxpayers (lower attrition in basic = better return on investment in our people). I suspect that this was presented as a “mandatory” physical training session. I think the Marine Corps bears some liability, and that HQMC is frantically working an improved guidance on PT for DEP personnel. Recruiters probably do not get the babysitting guidance that DI’s get.

Wounds/death in combat is an acceptable risk. Losing people in training is not.

11 VMS 07.13.10 at 4:38 pm

Does 28 USC 2680(j) apply?

Barred claims against the US: (j) Any claim arising out of the combatant activities of the military or naval forces, or the Coast Guard, during time of war.

Also, does the Feres doctrine apply? http://biotech.law.lsu.edu/cases/immunity/feres_v_us.htm

Whether or not, the government is immune from a lawsuit, as a matter of equity (which I know doesn’t apply to these things), the government should be responsible for his medicals.

So, to get him paid for his medicals, they will go through the legal fiction that he was not in the military at the time he was injured.

As an aside, I never heard of liver damage from heat exhaustion. Temporary kidney damage yes, liver damage no!

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