Alford On How U.S. Courts Have Ruled In Thimerosal/Autism Cases

Alford On How U.S. Courts Have Ruled In Thimerosal/Autism Cases

In this Emerging Issues Analysis, toxic tort litigator and author Margie Searcy Alford reviews recent court decisions in cases alleging a link between thimerosal and autism. She writes:

"According to the Centers for Diseases Control, about one out of every one hundred and ten children in the U.S. is autistic. Some parents believe that their children were meeting normal developmental milestones until they received thimerosal-containing vaccines, and that the children developed autism immediately afterwards. These parents believe that their children at once developed brain damage with symptoms such as cessation of talking, repetitive movements, poor eye contact and frequently but not always decreased intelligence.

"Many of these parents filed suit in the U.S. Court of Claims, but all of the recent cases have been lost on causation issues. The courts generally have held that there is not sufficient credible evidence to prove that thimerosal causes autism. Many parents continue to believe that it does - but that the scientific evidence has not yet been developed to the point that can be proven to the satisfaction of courts hearing these cases."

Ms. Alford covers the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 that created the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, statute of limitations, federal preemption of state court claims, "table" v. "non-table" cases, omnibus autism proceedings (OAP), OAP limited to autism cases, test cases on the theory that thimerosal and MMR vaccine could cause autism and test cases on the theory that thimerosal along could cause autism.

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