by Louise Conte, Children’s Health Defense
Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Chairman of Children’s Health Defense (CHD) and Rolf Hazlehurst, the father of a vaccine-injured child have petitioned Michael Horowitz, the Inspector General of the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate the conduct of two DOJ attorneys, Vincent Matanoski and Lynn Ricciardella. The two attorneys represented the Secretary of Health and Human Services in the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP), otherwise known as the “Vaccine Court”, in the Omnibus Autism Proceedings (OAP). The alleged actions of the two attorneys in the OAP were fraudulent and obstructed justice.
Kennedy and Hazlehurst have also written to the House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee and the Senate’s Committee on the Judiciary requesting that the conduct of Matanoski and Ricciardella be investigated.
The 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act established the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP) to ensure that children were quickly, compassionately and fairly compensated for vaccine injuries. The 1986 Act, passed by Congress and signed into law by President Ronald Reagan, effectively granted vaccine manufacturers freedom from civil tort liability. A petitioner who asserts that their child has suffered a vaccine injury must file a petition for compensation against the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) in the NVICP.
The Secretary of HHS is defended by DOJ attorneys from the Civil Torts Branch. As originally conceived, the NVICP was intended to a be a non-litigious compensation program that was supposed to lean toward fairly compensating vaccine-injured children. Petitioners were to meet a “preponderance of the evidence” level of proof to establish that a vaccine injury occurred to merit compensation. This burden of proof is much less than the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard that must be met in a criminal proceeding. However, the program has not functioned as Congress envisioned and now functions in a manner that many observers feel is not favorable to petitioners.
© 2018 Children’s Health Defense