Court: Can Guam man sue gov't over surgery?

Last Updated: Tue, Sep 25, 2012 15:45 hrs

The Supreme Court will decide whether the government can be sued by a Guam man who said he withdrew his consent before a Navy surgeon performed unsuccessful cataract surgery on him.

The court on Tuesday agreed to hear an appeal from Steven Alan Levin, who was operated on in March 2003 at the United States Naval Hospital in Guam. Levin said he withdrew his consent before the operation began but doctors proceeded anyway. Levin suffered complications, which 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 high court will now review that decision. Levin appealed his case to the Supreme Court without a lawyer, one of two "pro se" cases granted by the court on Tuesday.

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