Court rules against Pittsburgh parents in drug vaccine case


Daniel Malloy
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
February 22, 2011

The U.S. Supreme Court today ruled against a Mt. Lebanon family in a case dealing with child vaccines, upholding limits to lawsuits against drugmakers.

In a 6-2 decision, the court ruled that the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act prohibited the family of Hannah Bruesewitz from taking their claim against drugmaker Wyeth to state court. When she was an infant, Hannah sustained violent seizures that have rendered her mute and in need of constant care, a condition the family contends was caused by a diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccine produced by Wyeth that the company later discontinued.

But the Vaccine Act established specialized no-fault vaccine courts to hear such claims. The Bruesewitz case against the Tri-Immunol vaccine was rejected in 1995, with the vaccine court ruling the family could not prove the vaccine had caused the seizures.

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