Total Credits: 2
This two-hour program will highlight distinctive aspects of litigation brought under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. Due to recent events, vaccine litigation has received national attention. Whether Congress will expand redressable injuries under the Vaccine Act in light of that attention remains to be seen. Even so, vaccine litigation is a vital and emerging field of federal law. These cases are often complex, involving cutting-edge immunology and complicated legal issues. To date, total vaccine injury awards exceed $4 billion. Unique provisions of law sometimes permit legal counsel to recover fees and costs even where no compensation is awarded to the petitioner.
Congress established the Vaccine Program as a no-fault compensation program whereby individuals suffering injury as a result of the administration of certain vaccines can petition for compensation. Congress intended that the Vaccine Program provide individuals with a less adversarial alternative to the often costly and lengthy civil arena of traditional tort litigation. These claims are within the jurisdiction of the United States Court of Federal Claims and the Office of Special Masters.
This stellar panel discussion will feature Judge Patricia Campbell-Smith who previously served as a special master prior to her tenure on the United States Court of Federal Claims; Chief Special Master Brian Corcoran on behalf of the Office of Special Masters; retired Chicago-Kent Professor Ed Kraus representing the petitioners’ bar; and Deputy Director Heather Pearlman of the Torts Branch of the Department of Justice representing the respondents’ bar. Each will provide a different, invaluable perspective on the background, practicalities, and challenges of vaccine injury litigation.
This program, sponsored by The Chicago Bar Association, will take place in person at the Chicago-Kent College of Law, Ogilvie Auditorium, on October 13, 2022, at 3:00 p.m. CST and is eligible for 2 CLE Credits.
Judge Campbell-Smith was appointed Judge of the United States Court of Federal Claims on September 19, 2013. She served as Chief Judge from October 21, 2013 - March 13, 2017. Judge Campbell-Smith formerly served as Special Master from December 8, 2005 to April 6, 2011. On April 7, 2011, she was appointed as Chief Special Master. Judge Campbell-Smith practiced from 1993 to 1996, and again from 1997 to 1998, with the law firm of Liskow & Lewis in New Orleans, Louisiana. Her areas of practice included environmental regulatory law, patent infringement litigation, and toxic tort litigation. Her pro bono work included representing children in adoption proceedings in the juvenile division of Civil District Court in New Orleans, Louisiana. Judge Campbell-Smith served as an extern to Judge John Minor Wisdom of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in 1991. She clerked for Judge Martin L. C. Feldman of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana from 1992 to 1993. She clerked for Judge Sarah S. Vance of the United States District Court of the Eastern District of Louisiana from 1996 to 1997, and she clerked for Judge Emily C. Hewitt of the United States Court of Federal Claims from 1998 to 2005. Judge Campbell-Smith graduated from Tulane Law School, with honors, in 1992. She received her undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from Duke University, with honors, in 1987. She is a member of the bar in the states of Louisiana and Maryland.
Brian H. Corcoran was appointed as a Special Master of the United States Court of Federal Claims on January 13, 2014. He graduated cum laude, with high honors in his major, from Dartmouth College in 1988, and received his J.D. in 1991 from the University of Virginia School of Law. He was designated Chief Special Master on October 1, 2019. Before becoming a special master, Chief Special Master Corcoran was a seasoned trial attorney with experience in a wide variety of legal matters, including intellectual property, general commercial disputes, tax matters, and pro bono civil rights and employment discrimination actions. Until 2008, he was employed in the private sector, working in New York City and Washington, D.C., where he became a partner at his law firm. He thereafter worked for the Department of Justice, Tax Division, as a trial attorney, where he obtained numerous permanent injunctions against fraudulent tax preparers and the promoters of illegal tax schemes across the United States. As Chief Special Master, he is responsible for overseeing and managing the work of the Office of Special Masters, presiding over cases designated for OSM’s “special processing unit” (or cases deemed likely to settle), while also handling his own docket of cases comparable to those managed by his colleague special masters.
For the past 15 years, Ed Kraus has focused his legal practice on representing clients seeking compensation for injuries caused by vaccines. As a vaccine injury attorney representing both children and adults throughout the United States, Ed has seen the life-changing effects vaccine injuries can cause. Ed views the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP) as an important piece of our national vaccine policy.
Ed also has a unique perspective on the way the vaccine injury program is administered. From 2011 to 2016, he served on the Advisory Commission on Childhood Vaccines (ACCV), a nine-person commission that provides input to the Secretary of Health & Human Services regarding the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Vaccine Injured Petitioner’s Bar Association.
Earlier this year, Ed started his own private vaccine injury law firm. Before that, for over 20 years, Ed was a Clinical Professor of Law here at Chicago-Kent where he directed the Vaccine Injury Litigation clinic and prior to that, the Health and Disability Law Clinic.
Before joining the faculty at Chicago-Kent, he was an attorney at the law firm of Plotkin, Jacobs & Orlofksy, where he focused on complex civil litigation and consumer class actions and an attorney at Legal Action of Wisconsin where he represented low-income clients in various civil matters. Ed received a B.A. in English from the University of Michigan and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center.
Heather Pearlman is Deputy Director of the Constitutional and Specialized Torts Branch in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Division, where her primary responsibility is managing litigation arising under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986. Her entire professional career has been dedicated to public service; following law school, she spent several years working as a legislative counsel on Capitol Hill, moving to the Department of Justice’s Office of Legislative Affairs in 1999 to serve as an Attorney Advisor. In June 2001, she began working as a Trial Attorney defending Vaccine Act cases. She has handled all aspects of Vaccine Act litigation at the Court of Federal Claims and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. From 2001 through 2008, she also oversaw the adjudication of thousands of claims brought under the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act, by individuals who became ill while living downwind of the Nevada Test Site during periods of atmospheric nuclear testing. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1993, and her Juris Doctor from Roger Williams University School of Law in 1996. She is admitted to practice law in New Jersey, New York, and the District of Columbia.
Timothy Tomasik is a founding member of Tomasik Kotin Kasserman LLC where he has distinguished himself as one of Chicago’s elite trial attorneys. Prior to joining the firm, Tim practiced for 15 years at Clifford Law Offices in Chicago and also served as a member of the Cook County State's Attorney's Office Bureau of Special Prosecutions.
Mr. Tomasik has tried over 100 jury and bench trials to verdict and has handled and successfully resolved hundreds of millions of dollars in claims in a variety of practice areas, including complex premises liability, aviation litigation, medical negligence, medical liability, hospital liability, and mass disasters.
As a trial attorney, Mr. Tomasik has handled significantly complex and high profile and cases including serving as a lead counsel of the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee in the World Trade Center litigation against the airlines industry for security breaches that led to the tragic 9/11 hijackings and air crashes in which he helped to secure a $1.2 billion settlement.
Mr. Tomasik is the recipient of numerous honors and awards including being inducted by his peers into the International Society of Barristers, an honor society of outstanding trial lawyers. He has also been inducted into the American Board of Trial Advocates and in 2018 became a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, one of the premier legal associations in North America. Mr. Tomasik is a member of the American Bar Association Section of Litigation, American Bar Association Torts Committee, and chair of the Sub-Committee on Experts and Evidence. He has served in CBA leadership for a number of years, perhaps most notably as Chair of the Judicial Evaluation Committee for 15 years and currently serves as President.. He is a former Chair of Lawyers Lend-A-Hand, a foundation that provides grants to Chicago’s underprivileged youth.
Mr. Tomasik received his undergraduate degree in journalism from the University of Colorado and his J.D. from the University of Denver.
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