U.S. Supreme Court

Case Status


Docket Number



2010 Term

Oral Argument Date

October 12, 2010

Lower Court Opinion

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit


Questions Presented

Section 22(b)(1) of the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 [“the Act”] expressly preempts certain design defect claims against vaccine manufacturers “if the injury or death resulted from side effects that were unavoidable even though the vaccine was properly prepared and was accompanied by proper directions and warnings.” 42 U.S.C. § 300aa-22(b)(1). A-104.

The questions presented are: whether the Third Circuit erred in holding that, contrary to its plain text and the decisions of this Court and others, Section 22(b)(1) preempts all vaccine design defect claims; whether the vaccine's side effects were unavoidable or not; whether Section 22(b)(1) of the Act encompasses both negligent and strict liability design defect claims is not at issue in this petition. Both the Ferrari court and the court below found that it encompasses both claims. See A-35; Am. Home Prods. Corp. v. Ferrari, 668 S.E.2d 236, 242 (Ga. 2008).

Case Updates

Supreme Court rules on preemption of vaccine design-defect claims

February 22, 2011

Held: The NCVIA preempts all design-defect claims against vaccine manufacturers brought by plaintiffs seeking compensation for injury or death caused by a vaccine’s side effects.

Read more about the ruling.

U.S. Chamber files amicus brief on the merits

July 30, 2010

NCLC urged the Supreme Court to hold that the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (Vaccine Act) preempts a lawsuit alleging Wyeth failed to warn about the side effects of its diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus vaccine (DPT). The plaintiffs argue that the side effects were avoidable, but the Third Circuit ruled that the Vaccine Act bars their design-defect claims. In its brief, NCLC argued that courts cannot apply a presumption against preemption when an express preemption provision is present, as is the case with the Vaccine Act. The Vaccine Act’s preemption provision was intended to prevent courts from deciding on a state-by-state basis whether a vaccine’s design was defective.

Case Documents