Shalala v. Whitecotton, 514 U.S. 268, 2 (1995)

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Cite as: 514 U. S. 268 (1995)

Opinion of the Court

the table period, while necessary, is insufficient to make out a prima facie case. The claimant must also show that no evidence of the injury appeared before the vaccination. The Court of Appeals misread language in 300aa-14(a), 300aa-14(b)(2), and 300aa-13(a)(2)(B) in coming to the contrary conclusion. Pp. 273-276.

17 F. 3d 374, reversed and remanded.

Souter, J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court. O'Connor, J., filed a concurring opinion, in which Breyer, J., joined, post, p. 276.

Irving L. Gornstein argued the cause for petitioner. With him on the briefs were Solicitor General Days, Assistant Attorney General Hunger, Deputy Solicitor General Kneedler, Barbara C. Biddle, Richard A. Olderman, and Karen P. Hewitt.

Robert T. Moxley argued the cause for respondents. With him on the brief were Richard Gage, Peter H. Meyers, and John S. Capper IV.*

Justice Souter delivered the opinion of the Court.

The question in this case is whether a claimant who shows that she experienced symptoms of an injury after receiving a vaccination makes out a prima facie case for compensation under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, 100 Stat. 3755, 42 U. S. C. 300aa-1 et seq. (1988 ed. and Supp. V), where the evidence fails to indicate that she had no symptoms of that injury before the vaccination. We hold that the claimant does not make out a case for compensation.


For injuries and deaths traceable to vaccinations, the Act establishes a scheme of recovery designed to work faster and with greater ease than the civil tort system. H. R. Rep.

*Stephan E. Lawton and Anne M. Dellinger filed a brief for the American Academy of Pediatrics as amicus curiae urging reversal.

Curtis R. Webb filed a brief for Dissatisfied Parents Together et al. as amici curiae urging affirmance.


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