This morning the Federal Circuit issued a nonprecedential opinion in a vaccine case appealed from the United States Court of Federal Claims, a Rule 36 judgment, and an erratum. Here is the introduction to the opinion and links to the Rule 36 judgment and the erratum.
Kottenstette v. Secretary of Health and Human Services (Nonprecedential)
Maryellen and Nicholas Kottenstette (“the Kottenstettes”), on behalf of their daughter, appeal the final judgment of the United States Court of Federal Claims and a prior non-final decision by that court in the same case. Kottenstette v. Sec’y of HHS (Kottenstette II), No. 15-1016V, 2020 WL 4592590 (Fed. Cl. July 27, 2020); Kottenstette v. Sec’y of HHS (Kottenstette I), No. 15-1016V, 2020 WL 953484 (Fed. Cl. Feb. 12, 2020). Two special masters made determinations in this case. Kottenstette v. Sec’y of HHS (Special Master Decision II), No. 15-1016V, 2020 WL 4197301 (Fed. Cl. June 2, 2020), aff’d, Kottenstette II, 2020 WL 4592590; Kottenstette v. Sec’y of HHS (Special Master Decision I), No. 15-1016V, 2017 WL 6601878 (Fed. Cl. Dec. 12, 2017), vacated, Kottenstette I, 2020 WL 953484. The first special master found for the Kottenstettes. Special Master Decision I, 2017 WL 6601878. The Court of Federal Claims vacated and remanded her decision, finding that she had applied an incorrect legal standard to one aspect of her analysis. By the time the case had been remanded, she had retired, so the case was assigned to a second special master. The second special master reweighed the evidence and determined that the Kottenstettes had not provided preponderant evidence that vaccines were a cause of their daughter’s injury. Special Master Decision II, 2020 WL 4197301. The Court of Federal Claims affirmed that decision. Kottenstette II, 2020 WL 4592590. We reverse both Court of Federal Claims decisions.