Jessica Purcell of St. Petersburg, a captain in the Army Reserve, was pregnant with son Jameson when she was told at a MacDill Air Force Base clinic not to worry about lumps under her arm. She now is diagnosed stage 4 cancer. Jameson is 10 months old. (Tampa Bay Times/Scott Keeler via Tribune News Service)

Jessica Purcell, a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve, was pregnant with her first child when she noticed a swollen lymph node in her left underarm.

Health-care providers at a MacDill Air Force Base clinic told her it was likely an infection or something related to pregnancy hormones. The following year they determined the issue had resolved itself.

It hadn't. A doctor off base found a large mass in her underarm and gave her a shocking diagnosis: stage 2 breast cancer.

Purcell was pregnant again. Her daughter had just turned 1. She was 35. And she had no right to sue for malpractice.

A 1950 Supreme Court ruling known as the Feres doctrine prohibits military members like Purcell from filing a lawsuit against the federal government for any injuries suffered while on active duty. That includes injury in combat, but also rape and medical malpractice, such as missing a cancer diagnosis.

Thanks in part to Tampa lawyer Natalie Khawam, a provision in this year's national defense budget allows those in active duty to file medical malpractice claims against the government for the first time since the Feres case.

With the Department of Defense overseeing the new claims process, the question now is how fairly and timely complaints will be judged. And whether, in the long run, this new move will help growing efforts to overturn the ruling and allow active duty members to sue like everyone else.

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Michael Frederick Mears (FindAGrave.com/Iriss Hill)

The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday unanimously approved a $5.75-million settlement with the parents of a Marine veteran who died after an LAPD officer stunned him six times with a Taser during a Christmas Eve altercation five years ago.

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A soldier plugs his ears during a live fire mission at Yakima Training Center. Photo: Capt. Leslie Reed/U.S. Army

Another 300 lawsuits against 3M flooded federal courts this month as more military veterans accuse the behemoth manufacturer of knowingly making defective earplugs that caused vets to lose hearing during combat in Iraq or Afghanistan or while training on U.S. military bases.

On another front, 3M also is fighting lawsuits related to a class of chemicals known as PFAS, with the state of Michigan filing a lawsuit last week against the Maplewood-based company.

To date, nearly 2,000 U.S. veterans from Minnesota to California and Texas have filed more than 1,000 lawsuits.

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A federal court has denied Pratt & Whitney's efforts to dismiss a whistle-blower suit accusing the aerospace giant of falsifying inspection reports and selling billions of dollars of possibly defective jet engines to the military between 2012 and 2015.

Pratt has been trying to kill the suit since it was first filed, under seal, in 2016. But Judge Janet C. Hall, in a decision made public Wednesday, said the latest version of the complaint by former Pratt engineer of metallurgist Peter J. Bonzani, Jr. can proceed because it contains information Bonzani recently obtained about the company's F119 engine contract with the U.S. Air Force.

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A Miami Shores cop and military veteran whose Navy SEAL team captured some of the most notorious war criminals in Iraq is fighting the city over a federal law that allows returning veterans the upper hand when it comes to promotions.

Joshua Koop, who served a nine-month tour in Baghdad in 2009, was bypassed for a promotion last year when the Florida city offered advancements to officers for the first time in more than a decade. Koop said he believes his bid was denied in retaliation for his role as president of the local police union.

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Sgt. Dominic Esquibel stands to be recognized for his service at the 32nd Annual Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation West Coast Campaign Celebratory Gala, at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Dana Point, Calif., Oct. 25, 2014. (U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Garrett White)

A disabled U.S. Marines veteran has received a $250,000 settlement from the U.S. government after a national park park ranger allegedly used excessive force to arrest him over the use of a handicapped parking space.

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