Davies and Partners have successfully represented a client in an appeal against the Secretary of State, who refused to make a payment under the Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme.
The client, who had developed Narcolepsy after receiving the H1N1 2009 Influenza vaccine, known as Pandemrix, had applied for a payment under the Vaccine Damage payment scheme. It was accepted by the Secretary of State that this vaccine had caused the client to develop Narcolepsy. However the application was refused on the grounds that the client was not severely disabled (i.e. 60% or above).
On behalf of her client, Suzanne Williams of Davies and Partners appealed the decision and represented the client at a hearing that was held before the Regional Tribunal Judge, Mrs Curran and Dr J P Lewis sitting on the First Tier Tribunal on 26th January 2016.
Having heard all of the evidence, the Tribunal concluded that the appeal should be allowed. In particular, that the client was severely disabled as a result of a vaccination and, therefore, was entitled to a payment under the Vaccine Damage Payments Act 1979 in the sum of £120,000.
Commenting upon the decision Suzanne Williams stated that “This clearly was the right decision and I am incredibly pleased for my client. In reaching their decision, the Tribunal carefully considered all of the evidence in this case. They heard evidence from my client’s Mother, from the Chairman of Narcolepsy UK and they also relied upon written evidence from a leading expert in Narcolepsy and my client’s school. They also reviewed a video of my client having a Cataplexy attack. They concluded that my client had suffered a number of disabilities as a result of this vaccination.
To succeed in the appeal, we had to satisfy the Tribunal that he had a 60% disablement or more and they, in fact, concluded that he was 72% disabled based upon his present symptoms. They were also critical of the medical evidence provided by the secretary of state which they considered had not taken into account the whole picture and was selective
There has been another case before the First Tier Tribunal considering this issue. In that case, however, they did not conclude that the Appellant had a 60% disablement based on his present symptoms at the time of the hearing. However taking into account the future impact that the disabilities would have upon the child they concluded that there was 60% disablement. This decision, however, has been appealed as the secretary of state does not consider that the future should be taken into account.
Although there is the possibility that my client’s decision may be appealed, I consider that the success of such appeal is very low and they would need to show that the Tribunal had applied the law incorrectly, not followed its proper procedures or not given adequate reasons for its decisions. I do not consider that any of these apply in this case”.
Suzanne Williams, Partner , Davies and Partners Solicitors E;
Notes: Narcolepsy is a neuro-immunological disorder which is caused by a loss of hypocretin producing neurones in the brain. This affects the brain’s ability to regulate normal sleep-wake cycle. This leads to disturbed night’s sleep and excessive sleepiness throughout the day. One of the specific symptoms of Narcolepsy is Cataplexy. A Cataplexy attack involves a temporary involuntary muscle weakness in response to emotions and anticipations of emotions.