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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 utero; and the infection manifested, after birth, as Aicardi syndrome (“AS”).

The court held that Petitioner failed to put forward a reliable theory of vaccine causation and did not establish with reliable evidence that the child had congenital rubella syndrome or Aicardi syndrome caused by the rubella component of the MMR vaccine.  The court’s analysis was driven by expert witness performance:  “reliability issues with expert’s reports and testimony are so myriad and pervasive that they cast doubt upon the reliability of his opinions.”  Problems included reliance on evidence not available to all parties; late disclosed articles; foreign language articles; outdated literature and theories presented for the first time at hearing and more.

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