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Sunday, March 1, 2015

SCOTUS Refuses to Hear Vaccine Case

At Law360, Jessica Corso reports on the latest legal setback for the anti-vaccine movement, the Supreme Court's rejection of an appeal by a woman who claimed that vaccines caused her son's autism.
Chandra Price won’t be given the opportunity to argue her case in front of the Supreme Court following the court’s rejection of her writ petition Monday, letting the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services off the hook from having to defend itself against the charges.
The Federal Circuit rejected Price's appeal of a Court of Federal Claims decision that found the suit to be time-barred because she filed a motion for review too late.
In February of 2008, Price filed a petition with the Federal Claims Court claiming her son Christopher Wynn was diagnosed with autism due to trace amounts of mercury supposedly found in vaccinations he received.
The Vaccine Act, under which Price was suing, requires that a petition be filed no more than 36 months after the first symptoms of the alleged injury appear, according to court documents. The HHS filed a motion to dismiss in 2011 because Price’s son was first diagnosed in 1994, saying that placed her suit far outside of the statute of limitations.
Price’s attorney pulled her petition in 2012 but the plaintiff soon moved to reopen the case pro se, saying that the attorney didn’t understand the subtleties of her argument.
Price claims that the last round of vaccines given to him in 2007 led to his diagnosis of severe autism and that her petition, therefore, wasn’t time barred. She also alleged, in her motion to have the Federal Circuit rehear the dispute en banc, that her claims were egregious enough to allow her to bring the petition outside of the statute of limitations.

The Federal Circuit disagreed however, upholding the reasoning of the Federal Claims Court’s special master that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the untimely case.