UK families suing MMR litigators for pursuing “hopeless” claims

27 Jun

The saga of the U.K. MMR litigation continues. In this case a family is suing a law firm involved for mishandling the case. Per one story, one of the original MMR litigants (McCafferty) is now suing:

McCafferty, 23, from Falkirk, central Scotland, is seeking damages to “include compensation, distress, expense and inconvenience of engaging in hopeless litigation”.

I’m not sure how sound this case is, but here we have a family arguing that they suffered by being sucked into the MMR litigation. The effort and expense they put into the case was not only wasted, but the case was “hopeless” and, thus, the attorneys were at fault for dragging them through this.

The story at The Times is behind a paywall, but it starts:

MMR families sue their legal aid lawyers

Families who failed to win compensation cases driven by flawed research into the MMR vaccine are suing their lawyers for pursuing “hopeless” claims and enriching themselves on legal aid.

Matthew McCafferty, 23, who received the vaccine and three years later developed autism, is taking action against his former legal team over a claim that he says had no chance of succeeding, was issued out of time and raised false hopes

MMR vaccine: lawyers sued for pursuing claim based on link to autism
Man claims Hodge Jones & Allen was negligent in litigating a hopeless claim while profiting from part of £15m legal aid funding

A man is suing his former legal team for pursuing “hopeless claims” based on flawed research into the MMR vaccine, it has emerged.

Matthew McCafferty, who was diagnosed with autism three years after receiving the vaccine, is taking legal action over a legal claim that he says had no chance of succeeding, according to a report in the Times.

The law firm is Hodge Jones & Allen. In MMR and Autism: What Parents Need to Know, Michael Fitzpatrick discusses how Richard Barr, the attorney who worked closely with Andrew Wakefield, started at Dawbarns, moved to Hodge Jones & Allen and then moved on to Alexander Harris, “always taking his burgeoning portfolio of MMR cases with him.”


By Matt Carey

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5 Responses to “UK families suing MMR litigators for pursuing “hopeless” claims”

  1. lilady June 27, 2014 at 17:09 #

    “The law firm is Hodge Jones & Allen. In MMR and Autism: What Parents Need to Know, Michael Fitzpatrick discusses how Richard Barr, the attorney who worked closely with Andrew Wakefield, started at Dawbarns, moved to Hodge Jones & Allen and then moved on to Alexander Harris, “always taking his burgeoning portfolio of MMR cases with him.”

    That, in fact, answers the lingering questions I’ve had about the fate of bottom-feeding lawyer Richard Barr, who conspired with Andrew Wakefield to deplete the Legal Aid funds for their own enrichment…and for the enrichment of their cronies:

    http://briandeer.com/wakefield/legal-aid.htm

  2. reissd June 27, 2014 at 17:36 #

    As best as I can tell from the news articles, it’s not a very strong claim. But without seeing the actual briefs and knowing the specific claims I can’t say that with confidence.

    At any rate, it is an acknowledgement that the anti-vaccine claims on the topic had very little support by one of the young people their claims purported to be about.

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) June 27, 2014 at 18:09 #

      It strikes me as a very poor case.

      But it points out that the “families all love Andrew Wakefield and his efforts” theme is false.

  3. Anne June 28, 2014 at 03:45 #

    I agree, the claim sounds iffy. Maybe the former lawyers should cross-complain against Wakefield. It all comes down to him.

  4. lilady July 1, 2014 at 01:44 #

    Thanks for this post Matt. I used the information about Richard Barr, the attorney who schemed with Wakefield to deplete the Legal Aid funds, to comment on The Guardian:

    http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jun/26/mmr-autism-lawyers-sued-hodge-jones-allen-claim-legal-aid?commentpage=1

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