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 establish that her failure to file a timely claim was a direct result of the mental incapacity. In other words, a petitioner must establish that she was incapable of “rational thought or deliberate decision making,” and otherwise “incapable of handling her own affairs,” resulting in her inability to pursue a Vaccine Act claim within the limitations period.