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 to propose a credible theory to explain this case, and may well have touched upon a theory that proves meritorious in the future . . .he candidly acknowledged that there remains great mystery in the understanding of the causation of this disease.”  Thus, Althen prong 1 failed.  

Cunningham v. HHS (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Aug. 1, 2016) (Hastings, SM).  Denial of entitlement in case alleging ASD post MMR.  The claim failed because the special master found the ASD predated the vaccine, because Respondent’s expert was far more qualified to opine concerning the causation of autism, and was a much more persuasive witness, and because Petitioner’s expert failed to demonstrate in general that the MMR vaccination can result in autoimmunity or that there was any evidence of autoimmunity or abnormal immune system activity in this specific case.  Finally, there was no validity to the alternative “significant aggravation” argument.

*Full decisions are available on the CFC website at

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