Corey v. United States of ( 1997 )

  •                                                                         F I L E D
                                                                     United States Court of Appeals
                                                                             Tenth Circuit
                         UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
                                                                             AUG 20 1997
                                      TENTH CIRCUIT
                                                                        PATRICK FISHER
     STEVEN TURNER, Colonel,
     individually and in his official capacity
     as Colonel of the United States Air                   No. 96-6409
     Force; SILAS R. JOHNSON, Brigadier                (D.C. No. 96-CV-552)
     General, individually and in his official             (W.D. Okla.)
     capacity as Wing Commander, 552nd
     Air Control Wing of the United States
     Air Force; PHILIP MANNING,
     Lieutenant Colonel, individually and in
     his official capacity as Detachment
     Commander, 965th Airborne Air
     Control Squadron of the United States
     Air Force,
                                 ORDER AND JUDGMENT *
    Before BRORBY, EBEL and KELLY, Circuit Judges.
            This order and judgment is not binding precedent except under the
    doctrines of law of the case, res judicata and collateral estoppel. The court
    generally disfavors the citation of orders and judgments; nevertheless, an order
    and judgment may be cited under the terms and conditions of 10th Cir. R. 36.3.
          After examining the briefs and appellate record, this panel has determined
    unanimously that oral argument would not materially assist the determination of
    this appeal. See Fed. R. App. P. 34(a); 10th Cir. R. 34.1.9. The case is therefore
    ordered submitted without oral argument.
          Appellant Cheryl Corey appeals from the district court's order granting the
    appellees' motion to dismiss. We exercise jurisdiction over Ms. Corey's appeal
    pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1291, and affirm.
          Ms. Corey is a former member of the United States Air Force. She initiated
    a civil action in the United States District Court for the Western District of
    Oklahoma against the United States of America, Department of the Air Force, Air
    Force Colonel Steven Turner, Air Force Brigadier General Silas R. Johnson, Jr.,
    and Lieutenant Colonel Philip Manning. Ms. Corey's complaint, which seeks
    compensatory and punitive damages, sets forth the following causes of action: (1)
    violation of 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq.; (2) conspiracy to deprive her of her right
    to the equal protection of the law, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1985; (3) breach of
    contract; 1 (4) sexual assault and battery; (5) intentional infliction of emotional
             Ms. Corey has not contested the district court's dismissal of her breach of
    contract claim on appeal.
    distress; (6) negligence; (7) defamation; and (6) tortious interference with
    contract. Ms. Corey's tort claims were brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1346(b)
    and the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. §§ 2671 - 2679.
          In her complaint, Ms. Corey sets forth the following allegations. On March
    21, 1991, she enlisted as an Airman in the United States Air Force. While
    stationed at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, she was "repeatedly subjected to
    and suffered a continuous history and pattern of sexual harassment and
    discrimination" during the course of her employment. In September 1994,
    Brigadier General Johnson sent Ms. Corey to Incirlik, Turkey, for a temporary
    assignment. In Turkey, Lt. Colonel Manning was Ms. Corey's military
    detachment commander, and Colonel Turner was employed with another
          On September 16, 1994, Colonel Turner's detachment arranged a party on
    Incirlik Air Base Turkey. Ms. Corey attended the party, as did numerous
    members of her detachment and Colonel Turner's detachment. During the party,
    Colonel Turner became intoxicated and "sexually assaulted [Ms. Corey] by
    intentionally grabbing [her] buttocks with both hands." Although Ms. Corey and
    other officers reported the assault to Lt. Colonel Manning, he took no action to
    assist Ms. Corey and he refused to seriously consider her complaint. Thereafter,
    Ms. Corey filed a complaint with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations.
    Lt. Colonel Manning attempted to cover up the incident and made threats to
    potential witnesses to prevent them from assisting in the investigation of Colonel
    Turner. The Air Force failed to take disciplinary action against Colonel Turner
    and Lt. Colonel Manning. In fact, both of these individuals were promoted to an
    increased level of responsibility.
          Ms. Corey claims she has no recourse to pursue her harassment claim
    because the Air Force "has established a system and mechanism to discourage
    complaints against its senior officers." Furthermore, she claims the Air Force has
    generally failed to adequately supervise, train, investigate, and discipline its
    military members regarding sexual harassment and discrimination. As a result of
    the actions of the Air Force, Ms. Corey felt compelled not to renew her enlistment
    contract and suffered monetary damages.
          In September 1995, Ms. Corey filed her complaint in federal court against
    the United States and individual defendants. The defendants then filed a motion
    to dismiss Ms. Corey's complaint pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1) for lack of
    subject matter jurisdiction and Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) for failure to state a cause
    of action for which relief could be granted. In October 1996, the district court
    entered an order granting the motion to dismiss. The court determined Ms.
    Corey's Title VII claim must be dismissed because Title VII was inapplicable to
    uniformed military personnel. The court found Ms. Corey's remaining claims
    should be dismissed because they were non-justiciable under the Supreme Court's
    decision in Feres v. United States, 
    340 U.S. 135
     (1950). Following the dismissal
    of her action, Ms. Corey timely filed a notice of appeal.
          Although her appellate arguments are somewhat disjointed, Ms. Corey
    appears to assert two principal arguments: (1) the district court erroneously
    determined she could not assert a claim under Title VII and (2) the district court
    erroneously determined the Feres doctrine barred her § 1985 claims and her
    claims under the Federal Tort Claims Act.
          First, we review Ms. Corey's contention the district court erred in
    concluding she could not assert a claim under Title VII. The district court's
    dismissal of Ms. Corey's Title VII claim was made pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). We
    review de novo a district court's dismissal for failure to state a claim. Kidd v.
    Taos Ski Valley, Inc., 
    88 F.3d 848
    , 854 (10th Cir. 1996). We uphold such a
    dismissal "only when it appears that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in
    support of the claims that would entitle [her] to relief, accepting the well-pleaded
    allegations of the complaint as true and construing them in the light most
    favorable to the plaintiff." Fuller v. Norton, 
    86 F.3d 1016
    , 1020 (10th Cir. 1996).
          Ms. Corey contends her Title VII claim against the United States should be
    allowed to proceed. Ms. Corey argues Congress intended Title VII to apply to
    uniformed military personnel, just as it intended the statute to apply to other
    citizens. According to Ms. Corey, "[t]he plain meaning of Title VII suggests that
    no distinction exists between uniformed employees and civilian employees under
    Title VII."
          Unfortunately for Ms. Corey, it is well settled Title VII does not afford
    protections to uniformed personnel of the various armed forces. 42 U.S.C.
    § 2000e-16(a) (1994 & Supp. 1997) extends Title VII coverage to "employees ...
    in military departments as defined in section 102 of Title 5." 5 U.S.C. § 102
    (1994) defines military departments as the departments of the Army, Navy and Air
    Force. However, 10 U.S.C. § 101(a)(4) defines "armed forces" as the Army,
    Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. In Gonzalez v. Department of
    the Army, 
    718 F.2d 926
    , 928 (9th Cir. 1983), the Ninth Circuit concluded "[t]he
    two differing definitions show that Congress intended a distinction between
    'military departments' and 'armed forces,' the former consisting of civilian
    employees, the latter of uniformed military personnel." Thus, the court held that
    Title VII is only applicable to civilian employees of the Army, Navy, and Air
    Force; the statute is not applicable to uniformed members of the armed forces. Id.
    at 928-29.
          In Salazar v. Heckler, 
    787 F.2d 527
    , 530 (10th Cir. 1986), we recognized
    that "§ 717 [of Title VII] does not afford protection 'to the uniformed personnel
    of the various armed services.'" Citing Gonzales, we stated:
          The definitions of "military departments" and "armed forces"
          contained in the United States Code ... compel the view "that the
          term 'military departments' in section 717(a) of Title VII ... can be
          fairly understood to include only civilian employees of the Army,
          Navy, and Air Force and not both civilian employees and enlisted
    Id. The other circuits that have considered the issue are in agreement that Title
    VII does not apply to uniformed members of the armed forces. See, e.g., Roper v.
    Department of Army, 
    832 F.2d 247
    , 248 (2d Cir. 1987) ("we cannot agree to the
    extension of Title VII to uniformed members of the armed forces."); Taylor v.
    653 F.2d 1193
    , 1200 (8th Cir. 1981) (Title VII not applicable to those who
    enlist or apply for enlistment in United States armed forces). Ms. Corey has
    provided this court with no circuit precedent to the contrary.
          Because Title VII is not applicable to uniformed members of the armed
    forces, the trial court's dismissal of Ms. Corey's Title VII claim was appropriate.
    Ms. Corey's argument that Congress intended Title VII to apply to uniformed
    personnel is clearly without merit in light of prevailing law. 2
          Next, we review Ms. Corey's claim the district court erroneously
    determined her § 1985 claims and her claims under the Federal Tort Claims Act
    were precluded under the Feres doctrine. 3 Although not specifically stated in its
    order, we assume the district court dismissed Ms. Corey's claims under the Feres
    doctrine pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1). 4 See Dreier v. United States, 
    106 F.3d 844
    , 847 (9th Cir. 1997) (motion to dismiss under Feres doctrine properly
    treated as Rule 12(b)(1) motion to dismiss). "We review de novo whether the
            Although Ms. Corey appears to argue military personnel should not be
    immune from Title VII under the Feres doctrine, we need not address this
    argument. The trial court's dismissal of Ms. Corey's Title VII claim was not
    pursuant to the Feres doctrine.
             In her reply brief, Ms. Corey argues for the first time that the Feres
    doctrine should no longer apply since she is no longer a member of the military.
    Because this issue was not raised in her opening brief, we refuse to consider it on
    appeal. See Lyons v. Jefferson Bank & Trust, 
    994 F.2d 716
    , 724 (10th Cir. 1993)
    (issues raised for the first time in reply brief will generally not be considered).
            Even if the district court dismissed Ms. Corey's claims under Rule
    12(b)(6), the standard of review would still be de novo. See Kidd, 88 F.3d at 854.
    Feres doctrine is applicable to the facts reflected in the record." Id. (citation and
    internal quotation marks omitted). Furthermore, because the district court
    apparently did not look beyond the allegations contained in the complaint, we
    must accept the plaintiff's factual allegations as true. Id.
          In Feres, the Supreme Court held "the Government is not liable under the
    Federal Tort Claims Act for injuries to servicemen where the injuries arise out of
    or are in the course of activity incident to service." 340 U.S. at 146. In cases
    subsequent to Feres, the Supreme Court has ruled that enlisted military personnel
    may not maintain a suit against other military personnel that seeks damages for
    constitutional violations arising out of or incident to service. Chappell v.
    462 U.S. 296
    , 305 (1983); United States v. Stanley, 
    483 U.S. 669
    , 683-
    84 (1987). The rationale for these decisions is threefold: "'(1) the distinctly
    federal nature of the relationship between the government and members of its
    armed forces ...; (2) the availability of alternative compensation systems; and (3)
    the fear of damaging the military disciplinary structure.'" Madsen v. United
    841 F.2d 1011
    , 1013 (10th Cir. 1987) (quoting Atkinson v. United States,
    825 F.2d 202
    , 205 (9th Cir. 1987), cert. denied, 
    485 U.S. 987
     (1988)). The Tenth
    Circuit has stated "[t]he Feres rationales extend beyond a damage action based on
    FTCA and Bivens and require abstention in a damage action arising from the
    Constitution if the Feres 'incident to service' test is met." Walden v. Bartlett, 
    840 F.2d 771
    , 773 (10th Cir. 1988). Furthermore, the Tenth Circuit has noted that
          courts have routinely ruled that the protection of the Feres doctrine
          extends to officers and other servicemen, as well as to the United
          States.... Indeed, in Feres, ... the Supreme Court stated: "We know
          of no American law which ever has permitted a soldier to recover for
          negligence against either his superior officers or the Government he
          is serving."
    Hefley v. Textron, Inc., 
    713 F.2d 1487
    , 1491 (10th Cir. 1983) (quoting Feres, 340
    U.S. at 141).
          Courts applying the Feres doctrine have broadly construed the "incident to
    service" test and have barred recovery "for injuries that at first blush may not
    have appeared to be closely related to their military status." Dreier, 95 F.3d at
    1440. "[P]ractically any suit that 'implicates the military judgments and
    decisions,' ... runs the risk of colliding with Feres." Persons v. United States, 
    925 F.2d 292
    , 295 (9th Cir. 1991) (quoting United States v. Johnson, 
    481 U.S. 681
    691 (1987)). In determining whether the "incident to service" test is met, a key
    inquiry is "whether the suit requires the civilian court to second-guess military
    decisions ... and whether the suit might impair essential military discipline."
    United States v. Shearer, 
    473 U.S. 52
    , 57 (1985).
          Ms. Corey contends her § 1985 claims and her claims brought pursuant to
    the Federal Tort Claims Act are not barred by Feres because the conduct she
    complains of was not "incident to service." Ms. Corey claims the court is not
    being called upon to second-guess any military decisions and she argues the
    functioning of the military will not be disrupted by holding the United States
    accountable for the unlawful conduct.
          Ms. Corey's tort and § 1985 claims can be divided into two general
    categories: (1) the claims based on her allegations that she was subjected to a
    continued history and pattern of discrimination and sexual harassment while
    stationed in Oklahoma, and (2) the claims based on her allegations of sexual
    harassment that occurred during the on-base party in Incirlik, Turkey, and the
    military's failure to provide her with adequate relief from this harassment. With
    respect to the general allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination that
    occurred while Ms. Corey was stationed in Oklahoma, Ms. Corey admits in her
    complaint these actions occurred "[d]uring the course of her employment." Thus,
    by her own admission, this conduct arose from Ms. Corey's military status, her
    military duties, and her relationship with other officers. This conduct was clearly
    "incident to service." Consequently, Ms. Corey's tort and § 1985 claims based on
    the conduct that occurred while she was stationed in Oklahoma were properly
    dismissed pursuant to the Feres doctrine.
          Next, we review whether the conduct that occurred during and subsequent
    to the party in Turkey was "incident to service." The September 16, 1994 on-base
    party was arranged and attended by military members. During the party, Colonel
    Turner allegedly became intoxicated and sexually assaulted Ms. Corey by
    grabbing her buttocks with both hands. Ms. Corey asserts that although she
    reported Colonel Turner's improper conduct, the Air Force did not take
    disciplinary action against Colonel Turner. Ms. Corey states the conduct of the
    Air Force and other defendants violated a number of military regulations.
    Furthermore, Ms. Corey contends the Air Force "has established a system ... to
    discourage complaints against its senior officers" and the Air Force has generally
    failed to adequately supervise, train, investigate, and discipline its military
    members regarding sexual harassment and discrimination. Ms. Corey contends
    the defendants conspired against her and deprived her of her right to due process
    and equal protection, in contravention of 42 U.S.C. § 1985.
          After thoroughly reviewing the record, as well as all relevant authorities,
    we conclude, as did the district court, that Ms. Corey's § 1985 claims and her
    claims brought under the Federal Tort Claims Act arose "incident to service." 5
    The Feres doctrine "'encompass[es], at a minimum, all injuries suffered by
    military personnel that are even remotely related to the individual's status as a
    member of the military.'" Persons, 925 F.2d at 296 n.7 (quoting Major v. United
    835 F.2d 641
    , 644 (6th Cir. 1987), cert. denied, 
    487 U.S. 1218
    Here, Ms. Corey's participation in the party at which her injuries occurred was a
    consequence of her military status. The party occurred on base and was organized
    and attended by military members. Those participating in the party -- including
    Ms. Corey and the individual defendants -- were subject to military discipline and
    control. Thus, we believe the injuries suffered by Ms. Corey were at least
    "remotely related" to her military status.
          The fact Ms. Corey's injuries occurred during a recreational activity does
    not prevent the application of Feres. In Millang v. United States, 
    817 F.2d 533
    534-35 (9th Cir. 1987), cert. denied, 
    485 U.S. 987
     (1988), an off-duty military
             To the extent Ms. Corey argues her sexual assault and battery claims
    against the United States should have been allowed to proceed, we conclude these
    claims are barred pursuant to the "intentional tort exception" to the Federal Tort
    Claims Act. This exception shields the United States from liability for claims
    arising from an assault or battery. See 28 U.S.C. § 2680(h); Satterfield v. United
    788 F.2d 395
    , 399 (6th Cir. 1986). Because Ms. Corey's assault and
    battery claims against the United States are barred under the intentional tort
    exception, we need not decide whether these claims are "incident to service" and
    barred under Feres.
    police officer sought to recover for injuries that occurred when he was run over
    by an on-duty military police officer at an on-base picnic site. However, the
    Ninth Circuit concluded the plaintiff's claims were barred by Feres because they
    "could well call military decisions into question." Id. at 535. Similarly, in Bon v.
    United States, 
    802 F.2d 1092
    , 1096 (9th Cir. 1986), the court precluded under
    Feres the claims of an active duty servicewoman, on authorized leave, who was
    injured in a boating accident that occurred on or near a Navy Special Services
    Facility. See also Bozeman v. United States, 
    780 F.2d 198
    , 202 (2d Cir. 1985)
    (Feres barred widow's claims against government under Federal Tort Claims Act
    where decedent, an off-duty military policeman, was served drinks at Non-
    Commissioned Officers' club and was killed subsequently in off-base accident).
          Allowing Ms. Corey's lawsuit to proceed would involve judicial inquiry
    into, and intrusion upon, military discipline. In effect, we would be inviting the
    district court to second-guess the military decisions made concerning the conduct
    that occurred at the on-base party. Furthermore, we would be authorizing the
    court to review the Air Force's application (or non-application) of its own rules of
    military discipline. This is precisely the type of second-guessing and intrusion
    into military affairs that the Feres doctrine was designed to prevent. "To permit
    this type of suit would mean that commanding officers would have to stand
    prepared to convince a civilian court of the wisdom of a wide range of military
    and disciplinary decisions ...." Shearer, 473 U.S. at 58. Thus, we agree with the
    district court that Ms. Corey's § 1985 claims and her claims brought under the
    Federal Tort Claims Act "arise out of or are in the course of activity incident to
    service." Consequently, these claims are precluded by Feres. 6
          Based on the foregoing reasons, we hereby AFFIRM the district court's
    order dismissing Ms. Corey's claims.
                                           Entered for the Court
                                           WADE BRORBY
                                           United States Circuit Judge
             Ms. Corey contends the United States failed to disclose to the court
    whether the conduct of the individual defendants was within the scope of their
    employment pursuant to the Westfall Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2679. Because we have
    determined Ms. Corey's claims are precluded under the Feres doctrine, we find
    this contention irrelevant and need not address it. Ms. Corey also appears to
    argue she is entitled to relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1986, the Victims' Rights and
    Restitution Act of 1990, and Department of Defense Instruction 103.2.2.
    However, these claims were not raised in Ms. Corey's complaint and they were
    not decided by the district court. Consequently, we will not review any issues
    concerning these claims on appeal. See Walker v. Mather (In re Walker), 
    959 F.2d 894
    , 896 (10th Cir. 1992) (generally, court will not consider an issue on
    appeal that was not raised below). Furthermore, to the extent Ms. Corey argues
    she is entitled to receive "injunctive or other equitable relief", we refuse to review
    this claim because her complaint only requested monetary damages. Finally, we
    deny Ms. Corey's request for permission to amend her complaint. Ms. Corey did
    not seek leave to amend her complaint from the trial court, and Ms. Corey makes
    no attempt to argue how any of her claims would survive if such leave were

Document Info

DocketNumber: 96-6409

Filed Date: 8/20/1997

Precedential Status: Non-Precedential

Modified Date: 12/21/2014

Authorities (23)

Feres v. United States , 340 U.S. 135 ( 1950 )

Chappell v. Wallace , 462 U.S. 296 ( 1983 )

United States v. Shearer , 473 U.S. 52 ( 1985 )

United States v. Johnson , 481 U.S. 681 ( 1987 )

United States v. Stanley , 483 U.S. 669 ( 1987 )

28-fair-emplpraccas-1024-26-empl-prac-dec-p-31923-corenna-taylor-v , 653 F.2d 1193 ( 1981 )

34-fair-emplpraccas-1850-32-empl-prac-dec-p-33893-aristides , 718 F.2d 926 ( 1983 )

Julie A. Bozeman, as Administratrix of the Goods, Chattels ... , 780 F.2d 198 ( 1985 )

Michael J. Salazar v. Margaret M. Heckler, Secretary of ... , 787 F.2d 527 ( 1986 )

Cynthia Elaine Satterfield, Administratrix of the Estate of ... , 788 F.2d 395 ( 1986 )

Janice Bon v. United States , 802 F.2d 1092 ( 1986 )

Brian Millang v. United States , 817 F.2d 533 ( 1987 )

Joyce Atkinson v. United States , 825 F.2d 202 ( 1987 )

45 Fair empl.prac.cas. 282, 44 Empl. Prac. Dec. P 37,537 ... , 832 F.2d 247 ( 1987 )

Don H. Major, Administrator of the Estate of Debra Lynn ... , 835 F.2d 641 ( 1987 )

Frank Nitty Walden, II v. Gerald T. Bartlett , 840 F.2d 771 ( 1988 )

J. Gary Madsen v. The United States of America, Ex Rel. The ... , 841 F.2d 1011 ( 1987 )

Robin E. Persons Estate of Kelly Persons and Timothy ... , 925 F.2d 292 ( 1991 )

In Re Donald Dean Walker, Debtor. Donald Dean Walker v. ... , 959 F.2d 894 ( 1992 )

david-j-lyons-commissioner-of-insurance-for-the-state-of-iowa-and , 994 F.2d 716 ( 1993 )

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