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, when the case was filed in 2014, it was not until 2015 that the issue of manifestation of onset in POF cases was litigated in the vaccine program.  Thus, when the case was filed, there was no case law upon which Petitioner could rely to help her determine when the manifestation of onset might be in a POF case.  It was reasonable for counsel to rely on the date of laboratory testing as the proposed date of onset.

The reasonable basis existed both at the time the case was filed with few records, two months prior to the expiration of the SOL, and also through the time of voluntary dismissal, shortly after the bulk of the medical records were received and analyzed.

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