Review of Recent Cases; Entitlement; Fees & Costs Decisions

FACT DECISIONS Factual determination that SIRVA injury more likely caused by influenza vaccine than uncovered vaccine In this SIRVA case, the petitioner received an uncovered pneumococcal vaccine and a covered influenza vaccine in the same arm at the same time.   The court concluded that there was preponderant evidence for a finding that the petitioner’s right […]

Review of Recent Cases – Attorney Fees; Entitlements; Damages

Attorney Fees Reasonable Basis Alicock v. HHS, (Fed. Cl. Nov. 9, 2016) (Wheeler, J) Denial of motion for review filed by HHS.  SM had awarded fees and costs in a claim for significant aggravation of developmental delay. According to mom, treating physician told her there was encephalopathy possibly caused by vaccination.  Medical records included encephalopathy […]

Review of Recent Cases Involving Attorney’s Fees & Costs

Supplemental Costs Post-Fee Judgment SM granted an unopposed request for supplemental expert costs inadvertently omitted from original fees and costs determination, which had been settled by stipulation.  Judgment had issued on the original fees and costs decision.  However, the 180 day period in which to requests fees and costs had not yet expired.  Brasher v. […]

Attorney’s Fees and Costs Rulings

Attorneys’ Fees Check Payee Special master granted relief from judgment where counsel was unable to contact petitioner to endorse the fees and costs check.  This satisfied the “narrow circumstances” where a fees award should be payable directly to counsel.  The court noted that counsel did have other remedies against his client, however because the case […]

Substantive Decisions – MMR and Gardasil Vaccines

Entitlement denied in a case alleging MMR-caused Myoclonic-Astatic Epilepsy (also known as “Doose Syndrome”).   Analytical gaps between medical literature and expert’s theory were too great and too numerous to persuade.  Although molecular mimicry was a valid theory to explain some vaccine reactions, simply explaining how theory of molecular mimicry works with other diseases and purporting […]

Attorney’s Fees and Costs Rulings by Topic

Non-Forum Rates Glaser v. HHS, (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Jun. 6, 2016) (Corcoran, SM). VT attorney only entitled to non-forum rates under Davis exception to McCulloch; prior decisions involving same attorney established VT rates were substantially lower than forum and changed circumstances were not established here.  Awarded rates of $225 to $238. JB v. HHS, (Fed. […]

Procedural Decisions – Motion for Review

Procedural Decisions Valle v. HHS. (Fed. Cl. Aug. 6, 2016) (Lettow, J).  Thirty-day time limit to file a motion for review under section 300aa-12(e)(1) is jurisdictional, notwithstanding that it is notably rigid and out of step with other statutes and rules relating to the time for seeking review or appeal. *Full decisions are available on […]

Substantive Decisions – Denial of Entitlement

Substantive Decisions Rus v. HHS, (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Jun. 23, 2016) (Gowen, SM).  Denial of entitlement in case alleging DTaP caused nephrotic syndrome.  The proffered mechanisms were (1) a “specific” T-cell response, and (2) an inflammatory cytokine response to the vaccination that alters an “unspecific” pathway, involving angiopoietin-like 4.  Although Petitioner’s expert “labored valiantly […]

Statute of Limitations – Premature Ovarian Failure

Premature Ovarian Failure Mini Omnibus This group of cases has been attempting to resolve when the first symptom or manifestation of onset occurs in POF, for purposes of the SOL. The court held that for petitioners who were eighteen years old or younger at the time the condition arose, if the condition qualifies for evaluation […]

Attorney’s Fees – Hourly Rates

Stanford v. HHS, (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. May 16, 2016) (Moran, SM) 20+ year MD/.JD, with relatively little vaccine program experience, requested $525 per hour, but was awarded $400 (McCulloch range $300-425). A 5-year MBA/JD requested $385 per hour, but was awarded $260 (McCulloch range $225-300). Although not mentioned in the analysis, the attorneys were […]

Attorney’s Fees – Hourly Rates, Expert Costs

Pentchelov v. HHS, (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. April 29, 2016) (Corcoran, SM) The Court approved a $400 hourly rate for a 40-year attorney from Beverly Hills, ($350-$425 McCulloch range). The Court cited a previous decision holding that LA area attorneys were entitled to “forum” rates in the program. The court awarded $235 per hour, rather […]

Denial of Entitlement – SIDS Death – Triple Risk Model

Copenhaver v. HHS, (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. May 31, 2016) (Moran, SM) This case is very similar to several recent SIDS cases, all involving the same theory and the same experts, and previous denials such as this one have been affirmed on appeal, e.g. Cozart. The specific reasons petitioner lost in this case were characterized […]

Entitlement Ruling – Seizures/Infantile Spasms due to DTaP

Reilly v. HHS, (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. May 31, 2016) (Hamilton-Fieldman, SM) After a brain biopsy, it was determined that the child had a focal cortical dysplasia, and Petitioner’s expert testified that this was a predisposition which caused the seizure disorder once triggered by DTaP. Respondent argued that the brain anomaly itself was a sufficient […]

Interim Damages – Pain and Suffering $250,000

Day v. HHS, (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. May 21, 2016) (Dorsey, CSM) (Ed. Note – this was my case, and HHS has appealed) An entitlement decision had been issued in this neuromyelitis optica post Gardasil case, involving a very significantly disabled teenager. The life care planning process was ongoing, but the family circumstances were desperate: […]

Damages – Supplemental Attendant Care in Nursing Home

Barone v. HHS, (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Jun. 12, 2016) (Corcoran, SM) Petitioner was wheelchair dependent, suffered from quadriparesis, and was vision and cognition-impaired. She was unable to be cared for at home due to family dynamics. The parties’ life care planners had reached an agreement on most life care plan items, including moving petitioner […]

Motion for Review Denial

Bean-Sasser v. HHS, (Fed. Cl. Jun. 26, 2016) (Yock, SJ)  The reviewing court held it was not arbitrary and capricious to find that Petitioner’s RA was pre-existing at the time of the vaccines, given the RF antibody. Further, it was within his discretion to find that Respondent’s expert was more persuasive, especially given his more recent […]

Attorney’s Fees – Reasonable Basis

Miller v. HHS, (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Jun. 3, 2016) (Hastings, SM) The court denied most of the fees and costs requested, finding it was not reasonable for Petitioners to take to trial their very weak case alleging that autism was vaccine-related. The Court awarded fees for the original participation in the OAP, however, the […]

Denial – Aggravation of Leigh Disease/Death

HL v HHS, (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Mar. 17, 2016) (Hastings, SM) The petitioner unsuccessfully argued that a vaccination significantly aggravated her child’s pre-existing Leigh Disease, resulting in the child’s death. Experts for both sides agreed that the child had Leigh disease, that metabolic decompensation can be caused by a fever or infectious illness, and […]

Denial of Compensation – Mitochondrial Autism/Autoimmune Encephalitis

RV v. HHS, (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Feb. 19, 2016) (Corcoran, SM) In this case, similar to previous cases, petitioner argued that an underlying, preexisting mitochondrial disease was exacerbated by receipt of a vaccine, resulting in autism. An alternative causation theory was offered – molecular mimicry causing an autoimmune encephalopathy. The Court found that a […]

Denial of Interim Attorney’s Fees – Reasonable Basis

Reiling v. HHS, (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Jun 24, 2016) (Moran, SM) Counsel sought an award of interim fees and costs after withdrawing as counsel. The Court ultimately held that reasonable basis had not been demonstrated as of yet, although it could be later as the petitioner was proceeding pro se. Thus, an interim fee […]

Denial of Interim Attorney’s Fees – Reasonable Basis

Reiling v. HHS, (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Jun 24, 2016) (Moran, SM) Counsel sought an award of interim fees and costs after withdrawing as counsel. The Court ultimately held that reasonable basis had not been demonstrated as of yet, although it could be later as the petitioner was proceeding pro se. Thus, an interim fee […]

Interim Attorney’s Fees, Forum Rates

Auch v. HHS, (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. May 20, 2016) (Corcoran, SM) The court held that a three-year proceeding was sufficiently protracted to warrant an interim award of fees, and it was not required that Petitioner show that all three Avera factors are met for interim fee awards. With respect to hourly rates, counsel sought […]

GBS Case – Damages, Future Lost Wages, Growth Rate, Discount Rate

Petronelli v. HHS, (Ct. Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. May 12, 2016) (Gowen, SM) In this GBS case, the Court accepted the testimony of Petitioner’s vocational expert that a former corporate attorney was unable to return to work. The Court found Respondent’s expert unreliable, as he “mischaracterized the record.” Although Petitioner was not working at the […]

Dismissal of Petition – No Equitable Tolling

Smith v. HHS, (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Apr. 8, 2016) (Hamilton-Fieldman, SM) Petitioners argued that equitable tolling should be applied because the child’s doctors had failed to recognize that her injuries might be vaccine related, and that this failure should be considered an extraordinary circumstance that warranted equitable tolling.  More specifically, the argument focused on […]

Damages – SIRVA Case

Courbois v. HHS (Fed Cl. Spec. Mstr. Apr. 20, 2016) (Hamilton-Fieldman, SM) After a hearing, the court issued a bench ruling awarding approximately $143,000 for pain and suffering, $4000 for home modifications and an annuity to cover massage, housekeeping, hairdressing, and landscaping.

Attorney’s Fees and Costs – Reasonable Basis

Cooper v. HHS, (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Apr. 25, 2016) (Gowen, SM) In this case alleging anaphylaxis and seizures caused by Hepatitis B vaccination, counsel for Petitioner indicated they no longer wished to proceed with the case and the case was ultimately dismissed.  Respondent argued there was no “factual basis [for the claim] in the […]

Failure of Proof of Vaccine Causing SIDS

Cozart v. HHS, (Fed. Cl. Mar. 25, 2016) (Smith, SJ) In the trial court, Petitioner failed to prove that vaccines could be an extrinsic risk factor, for purposes of the Triple-Risk Model of SIDS: vulnerable infant, critical development period and exogenous stressor(s).  The underlying theory had been that cytokines released in response to vaccines provoke […]

Denial of Motion for Review; No Jurisdiction

JT v. HHS, (Fed. Cl. Feb. 1, 2016) (Bruggink, J) In this conceded case, there was a significant dispute between the parties on the underlying methodology that should be used to calculate Petitioners’s lost wages.  Respondent moved the court to decide the issue of whether Petitioner’s future business ventures should be included in the wage […]

Reasonableness of Expert Fees

Loving v. HHS, (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Dec. 15, 2015) (Moran, SM) In this infamous case that set forth the six-part test for significant aggravation claims, the court awarded 189k in fees, where 284k was requested.  Respondent had originally suggested 80k but later moved to 149k.  The case involved one expert but lasted for ten […]

Attorney’s Fees and Costs: Forum Rate, Excessive Billing

Watson v. HHS. (Fed. CL. Spec. Mstr. Mar. 7, 2016) (Corcoran, SM) In this fee decision, the Special Master reduced the requested hourly rate from $600 to $375, under McCulloch, for this 40+ NYC attorney. Under that framework, 20+ year attorneys in the vaccine program receive a range of $350-$425 (for work in 2014), depending […]

Denial of HHS Appeal of Interim Fees; Reasonable Basis

Rehn v. HHS, (Fed. Cl. Mar. 30, 2016) (Lettow, J) The special master had awarded interim fees to withdrawing counsel.  Respondent had challenged reasonable basis.  On appeal, the judge affirmed the applicability of the “totality of circumstances” test for reasonable basis.  Apparently, these circumstances included voluminous records, a complex medical situation following flu vaccination and […]

Attorney’s fees; Waiver by HHS

Dorego v. HHS, (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Apr. 4, 2016) (Moran, SM) In response to Petitioner’s fee application, Respondent “defer[red] to the special master’s discretion in determining a reasonable fee award.”  Respondent contended that this did not constitute a waiver or failure to object, but the special master held that it did.  Contrary to HHS’ […]

Interim Fees: Hourly Expert Rates, Multiple Attorneys

Culligan v. HHS, (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Mar. 31, 2016) (Hamilton-Fieldman, SM) In this interim fee decision, the Special Master approved of two attorneys trying the case, where there were multiple experts and fact witnesses, the case was complex and Respondent had two attorneys at the hearing. The court held that $400 per hour ($200 […]

Claim that Liver Failure Caused by Flu Vaccine

Agnew v. HHS, (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Mar. 30, 2016) (Millman, SM) Petitioner’s theory was that a nasal spray vaccine, which ordinarily causes a subclinical infection, activated his immune system which was misdirected into entering his liver. Within 10 days of vaccination, he had abdominal pain, nausea, increasing yellow color of his skin, a rise […]

Denial of Entitlement; RA Following Hepatitis B Vaccination

Bean-Sasser v. HHS (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Apr. 5, 2016) (Moran, SM) In this case, the special master denied entitlement for two reasons: 1) Petitioner’s theory under Althen prong 1 was not persuasive, and 2) Petitioner’s rheumatoid arthritis was preexisting.  Petitioner was asymptomatic at the time of the vaccine, although she had a history of […]

Denial of Entitlement; SIDS

Lord v. HHS, (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Feb. 9, 2016) (Dorsey, CSM) This is another case finding that petitioner failed to show preponderant evidence that vaccines are an exogenous stressor for purposes of the Triple Risk Model of SIDS.  The petitioner also failed to show that recognized extrinsic risk factors, and URIs in particular, act […]

Interim Fees-Review

Mostovoy v. HHS, (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Feb. 4, 2016) (Dorsey, CSM) In this omnibus proceeding, the court awarded the highest hourly rate requested, under McCulloch. However, petitioner’s interim fees were reduced by about 1/3. The Court held there were four basic reasons for the reductions. First, counsel billed for multiple hours of administrative work, […]

Order Affirmance on Redaction of Petitioner – Parent Names

R.K. v. HHS, (Fed. Cl. Feb. 29, 2016) (Braden, J) The special master had ruled that both the minor child’s name and the parents’ names would be changed to initials but declined to redact the case number.  On appeal, petitioner argued that the use of Jane Doe and John Doe provides better privacy protection than […]

HPV Vaccination Held to Have Caused Urticaria

Waterman v. HHS, (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Feb. 5, 2016) (Hamilton-Fieldman, SM) The Court resolved an onset issue in favor of petitioner, who did not seek treatment for her urticaria for two months.  The special master found in favor of causation, holding that this was a classic case of challenge-rechallenge.  Petitioner had developed a rash […]

Death After HPV Vaccine; Molecular Mimicry–Requirements

Tarsell v. HHS, (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Feb. 16, 2016) (Moran, SM) The theory of the case was that the decedent developed an arrhythmia from Gardasil which caused her death.  Petitioner brought an immunologist and a cardiologist to hearing.  The mechanism proposed was that the HPV vaccine causes the body to produce antibodies that are […]

Interim Fees; Reasonable Basis; Excessive Time

Sanchez v. HHS,  (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Feb. 17, 2016) (Moran, SM) Petitioner moved for interim fees pre-hearing.  The special master found that a reasonable basis existed at least through the point in time where genetic testing was obtained on the child, and awarded fees through that date. Respondent challenged reasonable basis notwithstanding that Petitioner […]

Denial of Motion to Dismiss – Equitable Tolling

Gray v. HIS, (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Feb. 24, 2016) (Gowen, SM) The special master followed Special Master Moran’s decision in Hodge, and held that mental incapacity can present an “extraordinary circumstance” warranting equitable tolling of the Act’s statute of limitations. Analogizing to veterans’ benefits case law, the Special Master held that a petitioner must […]

Remand Decision – Equitable Tolling Established

Hodge v. HHS, (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Dec. 21, 2015) (Moran, SM) Decision on Remand – Equitable Tolling Established Respondent had moved to dismiss Petitioner’s claim as untimely. The Special Master initially had rejected the argument that the statute of limitations should be equitably tolled, but Petitioner appealed.  The reviewing judge had vacated the original […]

Attorney’s Fees and Costs – Reasonable Basis

Ruppert v. HHS, (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Nov. 6, 2015) (Gowen, SM) Attorney’s Fees and Costs – Reasonable Basis The Special Master held, on a motion for reconsideration, that the fact that Petitioner had obtained a negative expert report in the early stages of the case did not preclude Petitioner from establishing a reasonable basis […]

No Entitlement to Causation – Autism Omnibus Case

Canuto v. HHS, (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Dec. 18, 2015) (Hastings, SM) No Entitlement to Causation – Autism Omnibus Case These pro se petitioners argued that the DTP or DTaP vaccines caused their child to suffer fever, seizures, and encephalitis, thereby causing autism. Petitioners’ expert report “offer[ed] no causal theory whatsoever,” even assuming encephalitis or […]

Denial of Entitlement – Autoimmune Encephalitis

Kenney v. HHS, (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Jan. 16, 2015) (Moran, SM) Denial of Entitlement – Autoimmune Encephalitis Because Petitioner did not establish that she had autoimmune encephalitis, the condition she alleged was vaccine-caused, she could not prevail.  The special master found that her clinical presentation greatly differed from how typical cases of autoimmune epilepsy […]

Entitlement to Compensation – Ulcerative Colitis caused by HPV Vaccine

Morgan v. HHS, (Fed. Cl.  Spec. Mstr. Dec. 10, 2015) (Gowen, SM) Entitlement to Compensation – Ulcerative Colitis caused by HPV Vaccination Petitioner’s expert, her treating physician, opined that non-specific immunomodulatory effects of the Gardasil vaccination could cause ulcerative colitis in susceptible individuals. He explained that although non-specific immunomodulatory effects have not yet been studied […]

Attorney’s Fees – No Reasonable Basis

Patel v. HHS, (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Jan. 8, 2016) (Moran, SM) Attorney’s Fees – No Reasonable Basis The special master found there was no evidence supporting a reasonable basis for the claim because 1) no records demonstrated that any injury lasted six months; 2) no evidence existed that the HPV vaccination caused a problem […]

Denial of Entitlement – Mitochondrial Autism

R.K. v. HHS, (Fed. Cl. Feb. 12, 2016) (Braden, J) Denial of Entitlement Affirmed – Mitochondrial Autism – No Judicial Estoppel The Special Master had denied entitlement, finding that 1) the evidence failed to establish that the child had a mitochondrial disorder, a prerequisite for the medical theory; 2) the evidence showed that the child […]

Autism Omnibus Case – Warning to Counsel

Sturdivant v. HHS, (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Jan. 21, 2016) (Hastings, SM) No Entitlement to Causation – Autism Omnibus Case; Warning to Counsel Regarding Reasonable Basis The Court first held that a table encephalopathy had not been established because 1) a table vaccine had not been given, and 2) an encephalopathy, as defined by the […]

Entitlement to Fees and Costs – Reasonable Basis

Goodings v. HHS, (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Dec. 28, 2015) (Hamilton-Fieldman) The special master held that a reasonable basis existed where petitioner held a reasonable belief that the first symptom of primary ovarian failure occurred within three years of the vaccine date.  Although it may have appeared that the symptoms could have preceded that vaccination, […]

Ruling Granting Future Costs of Conservatorship

Tadio v. HHS, (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Nov. 25, 2015) (Gowen, SM) In this case, a minor child had received compensation pursuant to a settlement, and the award was to be payable to the guardians/conservators of the child, per the stipulation.  The stipulation further conditioned payment to Petitioners on their being “duly authorized to serve […]

Entitlement – Addison’s Disease caused by TDaP Vaccine

Simmons v. HHS, (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Oct. 30, 2015) (Millman, SM) In this unusual case, both experts agreed that Petitioner suffered an immediate hypersensitivity reaction to TDaP, an anaphylactoid-like episode.  The experts disagreed whether Petitioner’s continuing immune symptoms, culminating in Addison’s disease, were a sequela of that initial reaction. The immediate allergic reaction to […]

Compensation Entitlement–Overlap Syndrome caused by Flu Vaccine

Rodd v. HHS, (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Nov. 13, 2015) (Gowen, SM) Respondent primarily defended the case on the basis that Petitioner had symptoms within one day of his vaccination, which would be too soon for an autoimmune reaction.  However, Petitioner had two distinct problems, carpal tunnel syndrome, and polymyositis/polyarthralgia, and only the former manifested […]

Denial of Entitlement – GBS following Tetanus Vaccination

Perez v. HHS, (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Dec. 8, 2015) (Hamilton-Fieldman, SM) In this case, Petitioner’s expert was not claiming that homology between the tetanus vaccine and myelin could cause GBS through the process of molecular mimicry, rather it was argued that a tetanus vaccine can “rev up” an individual’s innate immune system, causing the […]

Compensation Denial – Warning to Counsel in Mito/ASD Cases

Hardy v. HHS, (Fed. CL. Spec. Mstr. Nov. 3, 2015) (Hastings, SM) The Court held that Petitioners failed to demonstrate either that the child suffered a Table encephalopathy, or that the vaccines caused, or aggravated, her neurodevelopmental disorder.   With regard to the table claim, the medical records offered no support whatsoever that the child suffered […]

Denial of Subpoena to Sanofi Pasteur Regarding Fluzone

Halverson v. HHS, (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Oct. 29, 2015) (Roth, SM) Petitioner had informally requested information from Sanofi Pasteur, manufacturer of Fluzone vaccine. Sanofi Pasteur objected, and Petitioner moved for issuance of a subpoena.  Petitioner also submitted a FOIA request to the FDA related to Fluzone.  Specifically, Petitioner sought human and animal data, dose-response […]

Decision on Second Motion for Review of Fees and Costs

Guerrero v. HHS, (Fed. Cl. Nov. 16, 2015) (Williams, J) In this appeal, Petitioner contended that the Special Master, on remand, committed legal error and abused his discretion by reducing the number of hours, recategorizing certain attorney billing entries as paralegal tasks and some paralegal billing entries as clerical tasks, consolidating de minimis billing entries, […]

Reasonable Basis Denial of Fees and Costs Affirmed

Graham v. HHS, (Fed. Cl. Nov. 30, 2015) (Braden, J) In the trial court, the special master denied fees in this voluntarily dismissed case.  Petitioner appealed the denial of fees, contending that the special master had erroneously interpreted the reasonable basis standard.  The reviewing court held that Petitioner misconstrued the Supreme Court’s reference to frivolous […]

Second Compensation Denial

Godfrey v. HHS, (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. October 27, 2015) (Corcoran, SM) Remand decision after appeals court agreed that the special master should consider the Federal Circuit’s intervening decision in Koehn v. Sec’y of Health & Human Servs., 773 F.3d 1239 (Fed. Cir. 2014) – and, in particular, whether its discussion of a similar causation […]

Denial of Fees Associated with Cross-Country Travel; Overstaffing

Avchen v. HHS, (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Dec. 4, 2015) (Moran, SM) In this conceded SIRVA case, Respondent opposed the time and costs associated with a senior attorney’s visit to a client’s home in California as unnecessary under the facts of the case.  Petitioner argued that in-person meetings give the attorney “the opportunity to… put […]

Denial of Review

Scharffenberger v. HHS, (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Nov. 10, 2015) (Williams, J) The Special Master had reduced a DC vaccine attorney’s hourly rate of $361 to $305.  Petitioner argued that the Special Master had erroneously applied a rate based on Vaccine Act practitioners generally instead of the District of Columbia forum rate. The reviewing judge […]

Entitlement Decision – Aggravation of Susac’s Syndrome – Flu/DTaP

Means v. HHS, (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Oct. 13, 2015) (Dorsey, CSM) Susac’s Syndrome is a condition diagnosed in patients who experience an identifiable triad of symptoms: an encephalopathy, branch retinal artery occlusion, and hearing loss.  It is an autoimmune endotheliopathy.  It can be mistaken for MS or ADEM.  Information regarding the pathogenesis and natural […]

Entitlement Decision – Table Brachial Neuritis – Onset Issue

Lewis v. HHS (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Oct. 13, 2015) (Moran, SM) The parties disputed whether the onset of Petitioner’s shoulder injury occurred during the table time period, i.e., Respondent alleged that Petitioner’s onset occurred too soon, the day after the vaccine.  Neither party requested a fact hearing, and the Special Master ruled on the […]

Denial of Motion to Vacate – Problems with Expert Witness

D.B. v. HHS, (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Nov. 18, 2015) (Hamilton-Fieldman, SM) Petitioner had previously moved for dismissal for insufficient proof, which motion had been granted.  The parties had experts and were scheduled to try the case, but counsel, in his motion, “indicated that upon a review of the medical records, he did not believe […]

Entitlement Decision – Neuromyelitis Optica After HPV and Flu Vaccine

Day v. HHS,(Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Nov. 13, 2015) (Dorsey, CSM) Neuromyelitis Optica (NMO) is a demyelinating autoimmune disorder consisting of optic neuritis and transverse myelopathy.  In NMO, the immune system becomes confused and begins to attack the body’s astrocytes rather than foreign pathogens, causing swelling in the brain and spinal cord.  NMO-IgG antibodies target […]

Denial of Entitlement – SIDS death – Multiple Vaccines

Cozart v. HHS, (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Oct. 15, 2015) (Dorsey, SM)* Petitioners had advanced the Triple-Risk Model for causation – vulnerable infant, critical development period, and exogenous stressor(s).  The autopsy revealed that the infant had a susceptibility factor for SIDS, arcuate nucleus hypoplasia, which causes a malfunction in the 5HT system which regulates ventilation […]

Denial of Motion for Review – Infant Death post DTaP

Waterman v. HHS (Fed. Cl. Oct. 23, 2015) (Campbell-Smith, CJ) Petitioners ultimately advanced a theory of a Table Encephalopathy following DTaP and Respondent filed a motion for ruling on the record.  The special master denied compensation, holding that there was no evidence the baby suffered from an encephalopathy or that the death was a sequela […]

Attorneys’ Fees Decision Establishing Hourly Rates

McCulloch v. HHS, (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Sep, 1, 2015 ) (Gowen, SM) Although the Court noted that the relevant “forum” for purposes of forum rates in the Vaccine Program was Washington, D.C., the court went on to hold that the appropriate forum was actually the Vaccine Program itself. The Special Master held that the […]

Ruling on Lost Earnings – Case Review

J.T. v. HHS, (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Oct. 13, 2015) (Millman, SM) In this damages case, a dispute arose between the parties as to the appropriate methodology to calculate lost wages and they sought guidance from the special master. The Petitioner was preparing to embark on a new business venture when he became injured and […]

Denial of Attorney’s Fees and Costs – Reasonable Basis

Cole v. HHS, (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Sep. 4, 2015) (Moran, SM) Citing Chuisano, the Court observed that “a petitioner satisfies the reasonable basis standard by presenting some evidence that supports the claim asserted in the petition.”  Respondent challenged reasonable basis because a vaccine record was never filed, resulting in the ultimate dismissal of the […]

Interim Attorney’s Fees & Costs Decision

Al-Uffi v. HHS, (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Sep. 30, 2015) (Corcoran, SM) Under Avera, the following criteria are considered in determining whether an award of interim fees is appropriate: 1) protracted proceedings; 2) costly expert testimony; and 3) undue hardship.  In this case,  Respondent argued that all three criteria had to be met.  The Court […]

DTaP – SCN1A – Dravet’s syndrome/SMEI

Santini v. HHS, Case No. 06-725V (Fed. Cl. Jun. 30, 2015) (Braden, J) This case was tried jointly with Barclay v. HHS, also in this summary.  Both cases involved an allegation that the DTaP vaccine triggered or worsened Dravet’s syndrome/SMEI in a child with an SCN1A mutation.  In the instant case, the Special Master held […]

Ruling on Record-Mitochondrial Disorder

Bushnell v. HHS, Case No. 02-1648V (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Jun. 12, 2015) (Hastings) Former OAP case alleging that a mitochondrial disorder caused an “enzyme deficiency,” leading to an “accumulation of Thimerosal contained in the vaccines he was administered,” leading to ASD. An expert report for Petitioner was filed by Dr. Donald Marks (microbiology, internal […]

Entitlement Denial – MMR Vaccine Caused Brain Damage In Utero

Sumner v. HHS, Case No. 99-946V (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Aug. 13, 2015) (Hamilton-Fieldman, SM) Petitioner alleged that as a result of the administration of MMR vaccine while pregnant, her child suffered from brain malformation, hydrocephalus, seizures, and developmental delays.  Specifically, it was alleged that the rubella component had caused a partial rubella infection in […]

TDaP Reaction: Causation in Fact Claim

Jump v. HHS, Case No. 11-301V (Fla. Spec. Mstr. Aug. 31, 2015) (Hamilton-Fieldman, SM) In this case, experts for both sides agreed that Petitioner was more likely than not in the “preclinical stage” of Rheumatoid Arthritis at the time of her TDaP vaccine, potentially raising the issue of significant aggravation.  However, the special master, analyzing […]

Case Delayed for Evaluation of Prong 1

Godfrey v. HHS, Case No. 10-565V (Fed. Cl. Aug. 19, 2015) (Firestone, J) Case Remanded for Reconsideration of Prong 1 in Light of Circuit’s Decision in Koehn Which Involved Same Experts, Same Vaccine (HPV), Same Theory and Similar Injury (SJIA vs. JAS). Appeal from a denial of entitlement in a case alleging juvenile ankylosing spondylitis […]

Entitlement Denial–DTaP Alleged to Cause Transverse Myelitis

Whitney v. HHS, Case No. 10-809V (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Jul. 20, 2015) (Moran) Testifying for Petitioner were Yuval Shafrir (pediatric neurologist), and James Oleske (immunology and pediatric infectious disease) Testifying for Respondent were Raoul Wientzen (pediatric infectious disease) and Max Wiznitzer (pediatric neurology). Petitioners presented a theory that the DTaP vaccine caused Transverse Myelitis […]

Affirmance of Denial of Relief from Judgement

Mora v. HHS, Case No. 13-421V (Fed. Cl. Jun. 30, 2015) (Kaplan, J) In this case, the Special Master had denied a Rule 60(b) motion for relief from judgment premised on counsel’s unawareness that design defect claims had been foreclosed by the Supreme Court decision in Bruesewitz.  This case involved a child rendered paraplegic from […]

Denial of Fees-No Basis to Claim

Livingston v. HHS, Case No. 12-268V (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Jun.26, 2015) (Corcoran) This case was previously dismissed after an exhaustive inquiry revealed that the child had not actually received the Rotateq vaccine as the parents believed, but rather Rondec, a prescription cough and cold medicine.  The child was alleged to have been administered this […]

Entitlement Denial–Mitochondrial Disorder

Holt v. HHS, Case No. 05-0136V (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Jun. 24, 2015) (Vowell, CSM) Former OAP case, alleging significant aggravation of a mitochondrial disorder resulting in neurological symptoms somewhat resembling ASD.  The court noted, in a 104-page opinion, a “trend by some former OAP petitioners to recharacterize their children’s diagnoses as something other than […]

Tetanus Vaccine and Transverse Myelitis – Timing

Mosley v. HHS, No. 08-724V (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Apr. 27, 2015)(Millman) Denial of entitlement on remand.  Petitioner had alleged her transverse myelitis (TM) was caused by a tetanus vaccine and the special master denied the claim after a hearing.  Petitioner appealed and the entitlement decision was vacated and remanded with instructions to consider and […]

Encephalopathy or Encephalitis and MMR

Milik v. HHS, No. 01-064V (Fed. Cl. May 14, 2015) (Campbell-Smith, CJ) Appeal from a denial of compensation in a case alleging neurological injuries resulting from MMR vaccine; denial of entitlement was sustained. Nizar Souayah, MD, had testified for Petitioners, and Michael Kohrman, MD, had testified for Respondent. On appeal, Petitioners objected to the special […]

Autoimmune Encephalopathy, MMR and Autism

Brook v. HHS, No. 04-405V (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. May 14, 2015)(Hastings) Denial of entitlement in a case alleging an autoimmune encephalopathy resulting in an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) caused in fact, or significantly aggravated, by MMR, varicella, and/or pneumococcal vaccines. Dr. Joseph Bellanti, an immunologist, testified for Petitioner and opined that the child had […]