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Omnibus Autism Proceeding

Posted by on May. 4, 2007 at 10:48 AM
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June 11, 2007 has been set aside to begin hearings in the Omnibus Autism Proceeding with respect to the relationship between vaccines and symptoms on the autism spectrum. On January 8, 2007 the Petitoner's Steering Committee informed Special Master Hastings at a status conference that it had selected a specific "test" case to go forward on June 11th. The Petitioner's Steering Committee believed that the selected case, Michelle Cedillo v. Secretary of HHS, No. 98-916, was a strong case that would demonstrate that vaccines can and do cause symptoms on the spectrum. A decision in this case, the Petioner's Steering Committee hoped, would provide significant guidance to special masters, the Secretary of HHS and other petitioners in the Vaccine Program and lead to resolution of a majority of the cases. Indeed, past test cases have been a useful tool leading to the resolution of hundreds of other cases with similar injuries.
Approximately 4,700 claims remain active in the Omnibus Autism Proceeding. Although the Omnibus Autism Proceeding began on July 3, 2002, to date no autism cases have been addressed on the merits. For the past 4 years, the Petitioner's Steering Committee has been actively engaged in the pursuit of vaccine safety documents from the government.
To date, the Petioner's Steering Committee has been unable to obtain the governments long-sought Thimerosal Screening Analysis data. For this reason, a Motion to Compel Production of this important material has been made by the Petitioner's Steering Committee and opposed by the government and the HMO's that supplied the data. All briefs have been filed and the Special Master is expected to rule shortly.
Once again, the Cedillo hearing is scheduled to begin June 11,2007. Three weeks have been set aside to present evidence. While the hearing will be conducted in Washington DC, a live web cast may be available for those who wish to attend but can not travel. While the government opposes "open" hearings and seeks to limit access to participants of the Omnibus Autism Proceeding, Special Master Hastings has stated his intention to conduct open proceedings.
Only the Cedillo case will be addressed at this hearing. However, the preliminary issue, whether Thimerosal containing vaccines, in combination with an MMR vaccine, can cause symptoms on the autism spectrum will be relevant to a great many cases. Once this issue has been decided, each claim will be decided on a "case by case" basis.
by on May. 4, 2007 at 10:48 AM
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