Despite many recent setbacks in the courts, those who believe a link between vaccines and certain conditions such as autism had their day before the Supreme Court in a case that many believe could have the potential of bringing sweeping changes in how vaccine challenges proceed.
The case, Bruesewitz v. Wyeth asks the Court to decide whether the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 pre-empts state law tort claims of design defects. If the Court rules that it does, then more than 5,000 families making autism-related vaccine claims may not be allowed to sue vaccine makers in tort actions after they are adjudicated in the so-called “vaccine court” system Congress devised under the Act. In part to keep vaccine manufacturers from leaving the field, Congress established a special system for compensating vaccine injuries. The cases are handled by the claims court in an expedited, no-fault process. Claims are made against the government, not vaccine makers. Compensation is set and manufacturers neither admit nor deny liability.
The law, to a limited degree, appears to leave open the possibility of taking these cases to court after losing in the claims system. Whether or not that can happen is the issue argued before the Supreme Court this week.
Needless to say this is a case our Minneapolis personal injury attorneys will be watching closely. Regardless of the outcome there is no denying that thousands of families have been affected by autism, and many feel strongly that some blame lies with drug manufacturers. The real issue though is just where will those claims be heard.
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The Law Firm of Lord & Faris is a Minneapolis and St. Paul based personal injury law office that works for individuals and families throughout Minnesota including the following cities: Minneapolis, St. Paul, Plymouth, Burnsville, St. Louis Park, Golden Valley, Edina, Bloomington, Eden Prairie, Eagan, Richfield, Maplewood, Roseville, Brooklyn Park, Maple Grove, Blaine, Lakeville, Woodbury, Duluth, Coon Rapids, Lino Lakes, North Oaks, Stillwater, White Bear Lake, Minnetonka, Apple Valley, St. Cloud, Plymouth, Rochester, Wayzata, Excelsior, Chanhassen, Chaska, Mankato, Marshall, Hibbing, Brainerd.