The opinion of the court was delivered by: Raggi, District Judge:
Alexis E. Veloz-Gertrudis, sues the United States under the
Federal Torts Claims Act ("FTCA"), 28 U.S.C. § 1346, 2671-2680
(1988), for injuries sustained in a hazing incident aboard the
U.S.S. Forrestal. His mother, Zenaida Figueroa Veloz, and his
wife, Felicita Gertrudis, also sue for damages related to this
The United States moves to dismiss plaintiffs' complaint, or
in the alternative for summary judgment, relying on the
principles enunciated in Feres v. United States, 340 U.S. 135,
71 S.Ct. 153, 95 L.Ed. 152 (1950), and its progeny. For the
reasons stated herein, the motion to dismiss is granted.
For purposes of considering defendant's motion, the court
views all facts in the light most favorable to the plaintiffs.
2. The Subsequent Altercation and Its Report to Navy
When Veloz-Gertrudis was finally released, an altercation
ensued between him and one of the men involved in the hazing,
in the course of which plaintiff was punched in the face and
neck. A short time later, in another part of the ship, the
same crewman charged at Veloz-Gertrudis. Plaintiff tried to
defend himself, grabbing a screwdriver from a nearby locker.
The crew member nevertheless succeeded in throwing
Veloz-Gertrudis to the deck. While other crewmen held
plaintiff face down, the original assailant jumped repeatedly
on Veloz-Gertrudis' back.
Subsequently, Veloz-Gertrudis was summoned to a meeting with
three participants in the original engine room hazing.
Plaintiff overheard them agree not to report the incident in
light of their personal involvement. One of the men did
authorize Veloz-Gertrudis to go to the ship's medical unit,
but stressed that he should tell the examining doctor that his
injuries had been sustained falling down a ladder. Because he
was afraid, Veloz-Gertrudis agreed to lie.
The severity of plaintiff's injuries required his transfer
to a Navy hospital. Upon learning that he would be leaving the
Forrestal, and after speaking to the ship's priest,
Veloz-Gertrudis told senior officials the truth about what had
Thereafter, Veloz-Gertrudis was treated at a military
hospital in Spain and at a facility in Jacksonville,
Florida.*fn1 He suffered, inter alia, two broken vertebrae,
severe post-traumatic stress disorder and an ankle injury. He
has been found permanently disabled by the Navy and his
discharge application is pending.
3. The Internal Investigation
Because hazing is strictly prohibited by the Navy, an
internal investigation of the events of January 18, 1990 was
conducted. That investigation revealed that plaintiff was an
unwilling participant in the hazing. It was also determined
that other unauthorized "initiations" had taken place in the
past on the Forrestal. As a result, several participants in the
January 18, 1990 hazing were disciplined. Moreover, certain
officers were reinstructed regarding the rules ...