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Supreme Court Hears Vaccine Act Case

Blogs, Life Insurance

The United States Supreme Court today heard argument in the case of Bruesewitz v. Wyeth, where the crux of the dispute concerns whether Congress, bypassing the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, intended to preempt state law tort claims alleging defective vaccine design.

As described in this write-up in SCOTUSblog, the act “created a no-fault administrative scheme – involving the so-called ‘Vaccine Court’ – to provide compensation to children with certain vaccine-related injuries.”

The Vaccine Court, within the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, has adopted rules for claims under the Act. As one court noted, without those rules “any number of third parties, such as doctors, hospitals, vaccine manufacturers, and insurers, might seek to intervene in vaccine injury compensation proceedings” – a result, the court said, that would “undermine the overarching purpose of the Act.” Silver v. Secretary of Health & Human Services, No. 99-462V, 2009 WL 29505053 (Fed.Cl. Aug. 24, 2009), *9.

The Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog has a post on the Bruesewitz case here.