What sparked the idea for Wrongful Death?Read an excerpt from Wrongful Death, and learn more about the book and author at Robert Dugoni's website and blog.
Answer: Like most of my novels, it was just a small thing. In this case, I read a newspaper article that mentioned the Feres Doctrine in reference to a soldier injured in Iraq. I thought it interesting, looked more deeply into the doctrine, and found that it had really been bastardized from the initial legal case, to the point of absurdity. I have tremendous respect for the men and women who leave their families behind to go and fight for the principles this country was founded upon. In Iraq, with the use of National Guardsman, more than ever we have men and women with families and careers putting everything on hold. I thought it would make an interesting premise to write a book that discussed the doctrine and what it means to be injured incident to your service. But I didn't want it to be a book about the Iraq war. I wanted to write what I always try to write, a book about justice and injustice, a legal/political thriller. Hopefully I succeeded.
What is the Feres Doctrine?
Answer:The Feres Doctrine developed out of three cases that were consolidated and heard by the United States Supreme Court in 1949. Essentially, soldiers had died or been injured during their military service and the families were suing the government and military for negligence. For instance, Feres was housed in a barrack that had a faulty heater that caught fire and burned the barrack to the ground. Justice Jackson, writing for the majority, was faced with a true dilemma. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers were returning from World War II and a decision that made the government and military subject to lawsuits for injuries or deaths could have resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars. So Jackson came up with what is now called the Feres Doctrine, which says that a soldier injured or killed 'incident to his service' cannot sue the government or military for damages even if the government acted negligently or intentionally to injure him or her. In theory...[read on]
The Page 69 Test: Wrongful Death.