The Supreme Court declined to hear a $100 million wrongful death lawsuit brought on by the parents of a Parris Island, South Carolina, recruit after a lower court dismissed the lawsuit in 2019, according to a court document.
Siddiqui’s parents, Ghazala and Masood, brought on the lawsuit claiming their son and Marine recruit Raheel Siddiqui endured torture and abuse because he was Muslim.
The parents claim there was negligence on the part of Siddiqui’s recruiter to properly inform him of harsh treatment and discrimination he would face at boot camp for being a Muslim.
Originally filed in 2017, the lawsuit was dismissed in 2019 by a three-judge panel of the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals based on the Feres Doctrine, which courts repeatedly have used to block lawsuits against the government for wrongful death or medical malpractice, the Detroit Free News reported.
Siddiqui’s parents filed the petition to have the Supreme Court review the lower courts dismissal of the lawsuit, which was docketed on Jan. 22. The Detroit Free Press first reported that the Supreme Court had declined to hear the case.
The Supreme Court provided no reason for declining to hear the case. But the court only hears roughly 80 out of nearly 7,000 petitions, according to scotusblog.com, an independent website which describes itself as “devoted to covering the U.S. Supreme Court comprehensively.”
Siddiqui died after he threw himself off the barracks stairwell, falling 40 feet, while going through boot camp in 2016, an investigation into his death found.
Immediately before he threw himself, Siddiqui had gone to his drill instructor, Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Felix, and asked to be sent to medical for a sore throat.
When Siddiqui failed to give the proper greeting of the day, Felix forced the recruit to run back and forth across the squad bay until he eventually passed out, the investigation found.
He was then slapped by Felix, who claimed he was trying to revive him. Siddiqui eventually got up and ran away from the drill instructor, jumping to his death, the investigation found.
Felix was convicted in 2017 for abusing recruits. During his trial, Felix was accused of singling out Muslim recruits, forcing one to simulate chopping off the head of another Marine while yelling “Allahu akbar." He was also accused of forcing two Muslim recruits to climb inside an industrial dryer.
Lance Cpl. Ameer Bourmeche testified that Felix and fellow drill instructor Sgt. Michael Eldridge only let him out of the dryer after he told them he was no longer a Muslim, Marine Corps Times previously reported.
Both incidents allegedly happened before Siddiqui shipped to boot camp.
Siddiqui’s family argues that the Marine recruit did not kill himself and alleges that the Marine Corps investigation that labeled his death as suicide only served to muddy the waters and make it harder for the family to seek justice through the courts.
Shawn Snow is the senior reporter for Marine Corps Times and a Marine Corps veteran.