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Court says man can sue gov't over Navy surgery

Mar. 4, 2013 - 10:50AM   |   Last Updated: Mar. 4, 2013 - 10:50AM  |  
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WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court says a Guam man can sue the government for a Navy surgeon's unsuccessful cataract surgery.

A unanimous court ruled on Monday for Steven Alan Levin, who was operated on in March 2003 at the United States Naval Hospital in Guam, a U.S. territory. Levin said he withdrew his consent before the operation began but doctors proceeded anyway. Levin suffered complications that require ongoing treatment.

Levin sued for medical malpractice and battery. The courts threw out the medical malpractice complaint and kept the battery charge. But the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the government is also immune from being sued for battery.

The Supreme Court reversed that decision, with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg writing for the court that Levin's battery lawsuit against the government can move forward.

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