Monday, August 24, 2009

Proud Member of the Autism Collaboration

This is an open letter to my friends and colleagues of the autism community. I have always believed our best chance for justice regarding vaccines lay, both literally and figuratively, in the courts. Our day in court may be drawing near. Mary Holland, Bob Krakow, Barbara Loe Fischer, and others have prepared a draft amicus brief to submit to the U.S. Supreme Court asking them to hear the case of Bruesewitz v. Wyeth and decide that the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, which heard the case, wrongly interpreted the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act.

I know how busy you are and how many requests you receive. I do not ask lightly to take the time to review the material and if you are in agreement to email the address below. Thank you.

Ed Arranga

Executive Summary
A U.S. court of appeals in Bruesewitz v. Wyeth recently decided that a vaccine-injured child has no right to sue a vaccine manufacturer in civil court for a vaccine that was defective and could have been made safer. The Third Circuit interpreted the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act as an "exclusive remedy" under the federal Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) and made “vaccine court” a child’s ONLY option for compensation. That is not what the 1986 law says and it’s not what Congress intended. Congress created the VICP as an alternative to a lawsuit, not an exclusive remedy.

Because state laws compel vaccination, it is essential that industry and government have real incentives to produce the safest vaccines possible. To achieve such incentives, Congress drafted a law to ensure that the vaccine injured have access to civil court in cases of design defect, criminal fraud, gross negligence and when vaccine court offers too little compensation or none at all. In the Bruesewitz case, after many years, vaccine court offerred Hannah Bruesewitz no compensation for her disability and seizure disorder that developed shortly after her third DPT shot. And the Third Circuit has denied her right the to pursue her claim in court, even though the 1986 statute gives her that right.

We are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the appellate court’s flawed decision and to uphold the lawful rights of vaccine-injured children. Under the 1986 law, an injured child has the right to his or her day in court so that a jury can decide, based on the evidence, whether a manufacturer’ s vaccine design caused the child’s injury.

Sign On
We are seeking additional organizations – autism-related and not – to sign this “friend of the court” petition. If you or your organization wish to sign on then write to Bruesewitz case with your name, address and phone number by FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 4 at 12:00 noon. You will receive a confirmation. Our deadline for signatures is Thursday, September 3, 2009 at 12:00 noon. This information is included on the amicus brief as well.

Mary Holland, Esq. is a founding member of the Elizabeth Birt Center for Autism Law & Advocacy and is the Director of the Graduate Legal Skills Program at New York University School of Law. Educated at Harvard and Columbia Universities, Mary has been an advocate in the public and private sectors. Prior to joining NYU, she worked for six years at major U.S. law firms, with three years based in Moscow, Russia. Before that, she directed the European Program of the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights (now Human Rights First). After graduating law school, she clerked for a federal district court judge in New York City. She researches and writes on legal issues related to autism and vaccines and consults to the Aspen Institute Justice and Society Program.

Click for Amicus Brief to US Supreme Court
Click for Bruesewitz Petition to the US Supreme Court


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