Canuto v. HHS, (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Dec. 18, 2015) (Hastings, SM)
No Entitlement to Causation – Autism Omnibus Case
These pro se petitioners argued that the DTP or DTaP vaccines caused their child to suffer fever, seizures, and encephalitis, thereby causing autism. Petitioners’ expert report “offer[ed] no causal theory whatsoever,” even assuming an encephalitis or encephalopathy had been proven, how that could lead to autism. Moreover, Petitioners’ expert, a hematologist and oncologist, was unpersuasive in comparison to Respondent’s expert, a pediatric neurologist with extensive experience in autism disorders. Respondent’s expert’s summary of the child’s medical history was found to be much more detailed, and his opinion that the onset of autism was unrelated to vaccinations tracked that history much more closely than Petitioners’ expert’s opinion. Finally, contemporaneous medical records showed that the child never experienced an encephalopathy or encephalitis.