Damages awarded in the Poling case?

3 Sep

A document has recently been posted the Court of Federal Claims website, describing an award in a vaccine injury case. The document is redacted, but the following paragraph indicates to me that this involves the case of Hannah Poling:

Respondent has conceded that petitioners are entitled to compensation due to the significant aggravation of Child’s pre-existing mitochondrial disorder based on an MMR vaccine Table presumptive injury of encephalopathy, which eventually manifested as a chronic encephalopathy with features of autism spectrum disorder and a complex partial seizure disorder as a sequela.

The amount involves 4 parts: (1) a payment of about US$1.5M for life care, future earnings and pain-and-suffering, (2) a lump sum payment of about US$140,000 for past unreimbursable expenses, (3) a lump sum payment of about $7,800 to cover a medicaid lien and (4) an undisclosed amount to purchase an annuity to cover items in the life care plan.

The award amount seems larger than typical to me. I don’t put this out as a criticism. Rather the opposite. If we as a people are going to compensate those injured by vaccines, as we should, we should compensate highly. We can not fully compensate a person or a family for injury. For example, the cap on pain and suffering damages has not been increased in the roughly 25 years that the vaccine program has been in place.

It is not easy to write this piece, and I hesitate to publish it. Assuming this document refers to the Poling family, they chose to redact information.

I will end with this statement from the Special Master who wrote the decision:

Based on the persuasive factors supporting petitioner’s vaccine claim and respondent’s election not to challenge petitioner’s claim, the undersigned finds that petitioner is entitled to compensation under the Vaccine Program. Accordingly, a determination of damages is appropriate.

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16 Responses to “Damages awarded in the Poling case?”

  1. Anne September 3, 2010 at 05:58 #

    According to the Special Master’s decision, this child had “an MMR vaccine Table presumptive injury of encephalopathy.” Given that, there is no reason why the case should have languished in court since its filing in 2002. It should have been taken out of the Omnibus proceeding and submitted for individual determination long ago.

    Although the cost of the annuity isn’t disclosed, the annuity has to pay out more than $500,000 per year for life. This is a very generous award.

  2. ANB September 3, 2010 at 06:21 #

    It is not easy to write this piece, and I hesitate to publish it. Assuming this document refers to the Poling family, they chose to redact information.

    The Polings relinquished any claim to privacy when they included their minor daughter in a coast-to-coast anti-vaccine media blitz.

  3. Science Mom September 3, 2010 at 19:36 #

    Given that, there is no reason why the case should have languished in court since its filing in 2002. It should have been taken out of the Omnibus proceeding and submitted for individual determination long ago.

    @ Anne, that, I believe would have been the responsibility of the Poling’s attorneys. If I recall correctly, Hannah Poling was considered as a test case at some point.

    • Sullivan September 3, 2010 at 19:56 #

      Science Mom,

      Hannah Poling was one of the original test cases for the Thimerosal portion of the Omnibus Autism Proceeding. She was removed as a test case when the government conceded her case.

  4. Anne September 4, 2010 at 02:20 #

    Science Mom, yes, you’re right. The very first order in the OAP (General Order #1), issued in 2002, reminded petitioners and counsel that a Table injury case like this one could be brought to the assigned Special Master’s attention so that it could be “processed without delay as a Table Injury.” It would, of course, be up to the petitioners and their counsel to bring their case to the Special Master’s attention for expedited processing.

  5. CaroKnows September 9, 2010 at 14:22 #

    The Polings relinquished any claim to privacy when they included their minor daughter in a coast-to-coast anti-vaccine media blitz

    What a preposterous comment. So, I’m assuming, Mr. Reibel, that since you decided to broadcast your son and family all over the world with Penn and Teller that you have relinquished any claim to privacy as well?

  6. AutismNewsBeat September 9, 2010 at 17:55 #

    Yes, that’s a fair statement. By making certain claims and assertions on P&T, I invite inspection and verification. By telling the world that their daughter was made autistic by a vaccine, the Poling’s also invite questions.

    Do you have any questions for me, CK? I have nothing to hide. I’m not in the employ of BigPharm, as is often alleged. My son has a diagnosis of autistic disorder, easily verified by medical records. When the Polings turn their daughter into the center of attention, introducing her to a national audience while making unverified claims about her medical history, they invite questions. That’s my point. Do you understand now?

  7. Anne September 9, 2010 at 20:56 #

    Sheryl Attkisson weighs in, with the names and a picture of Hannah.
    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-31727_162-20015982-10391695.html

    • Sullivan September 9, 2010 at 21:30 #

      Anne,

      thanks for that link. I’ve been expecting some media outlets to pick this up, following the piece here. I expect Age of Autism will now discuss this, citing CBS News.

  8. CaroKnows September 9, 2010 at 21:55 #

    And my point is that everyone in the United States has a basic right to privacy. I do believe it is in your bill of rights, yes? If they choose not to release medical information on their lovely daughter, then they have that right. If you choose not to do so, that is your right. Do YOU understand now?

  9. AutismNewsBeat September 10, 2010 at 01:09 #

    Your grasp of the Bill of Rights is as tenuous as your understanding of the scientific method. The Polings have a right not to release Hannah’s medical records, as I have the right to question their decision. If the Polings had kept their daughter out of the spotlight then they would have a legitimate expectation of privacy, as it relates to their daughter’s medical condition. But they didn’t, and they don’t.

    If the Polings hadn’t publicized their daughter’s case, then we wouldn’t be talking about them right now. But by making Hannah the center of attention, they, uh, invite attention. And that means questions. I’d ask again if you understand now, but somehow I think your answer is still no.

  10. CaroKnows September 10, 2010 at 02:21 #

    Your grasp of the Bill of Rights is as tenuous as your understanding of the scientific method.

    And it is evident that your grasp of the Bill of Rights and the scientific method is even less tenuous, especially since the scientific method did not come up at all in our discussion. The 4th and 5th amendments both protect a person from unreasonable search and seizure (4th amendment) and privacy of personal information (5th amendment). I know this, and I’m not even American.

    The Polings have a right not to release Hannah’s medical records, as I have the right to question their decision.

    And I do not begrudge you your right to question. However, your earlier comment says you believe that they do not have the right to privacy.

    Which is it? Do they have the right to privacy, or must they relinquish any claim to privacy? You can’t have it both ways. If it’s the former, then it is petty to criticise them for exercising their rights. If it’s the latter, then show where in the U.S. constitution or in any American law that it says that when you broadcast your family life on national television that you must forfeit your right to privacy.

    • Sullivan September 10, 2010 at 03:46 #

      CaroKnows,

      actually the Polings did give up some of their rights to privacy. They attempted to have even more of the award document redacted and the court did not allow it. The Polings did give up a certain amount of privacy in that document.

      The argument here is whether I had the right to break this story by linking this redacted document to them. The answer is clearly yes. The Polings did give up that level of privacy. No one is complaining about Ms. Attkisson broaching the Poling’s privacy.

  11. CaroKnows September 10, 2010 at 13:17 #

    Sullivan,
    It is clear that you are misunderstanding me. Some of their rights to privacy, not all of their rights.

    Mr Reibel said in an earlier comment that the Polings have relinquished any claim to privacy.

    A doctor and his lawyer wife had enough proof that their daughter’s vaccine injury resulted in autism, and the government found the proof so overwhelming that they conceded the claim, paying out an award to Hannah. And then you have a prentender reporter/scientist saying that because the Polings went to the media with this story, that they should allow the media into their home to browse their private life and medical records. Then he contradicts himself and says that they have the right to withhold medical records and personal information.

    They have the right to withhold private information. They do not have to answer any questions concerning their child to intrepid reporter pretenders if they choose not to. And since they are exercising their right to privacy, these same pretenders should not be chiding them for exercising their rights.

    Unless Mr Reibel feels he is entitled to their personal information because he says so.

  12. AutismNewsBeat September 10, 2010 at 19:45 #

    “…because the Polings went to the media with this story, that they should allow the media into their home to browse their private life and medical records.”

    Now you’re just making things up.

    “Relinquishing right to privacy” means they have no legal remedy to prevent stories being published about their daughter’s case. It has nothing to do with search and seizure, or Geraldo camping out in their living room.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Tweets that mention Autism Blog - Damages awarded in the Poling case? « Left Brain/Right Brain -- Topsy.com - September 3, 2010

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kev, Paul Harriott. Paul Harriott said: Damages awarded in the Poling case? http://t.co/bqLRTK6 via @kevleitch // Wtf…based on what evidence? […]

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