Today, the Federal Circuit released a precedential opinion affirming a Special Master in a vaccine case over a dissent by Judge Mayer and three nonprecedential opinions in a patent case, a Merit Systems Protection Board case, and a veterans case. The court also released a nonprecedential order transferring two appeals and another nonprecedential order dismissing an appeal. Here are the introductions to the opinions and transfer order along with a link to the dismissal.

Winkler v. Department of Health and Human Services (Precedential)

Donald Winkler appeals from a decision of the United States Court of Federal Claims sustaining a Special Master’s denial of compensation under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, pursuant to the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, 42 U.S.C. §§ 300aa1 to -34, for the development of Guillain-Barré Syndrome (“GBS”) following a Tdap vaccination. Winkler v. Sec’y of Health & Hum. Servs., No. 18-203V, 2022 WL 1528779 (Fed. Cl. May 13, 2022); Winkler v. Sec’y of Health & Hum. Servs., No. 18-203V, 2021 WL 6276203 (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Dec. 10, 2021) (“Special Master Decision”). For the following reasons, we affirm.

MAYER, Circuit Judge, dissenting.

The special master here improperly required the petitioner, Donald Winkler, to eliminate other potential causes of his Guillain-Barré syndrome (“GBS”) and permitted the government to defeat his claim without producing any credible evidence that he was afflicted with a Campylobacter jejuni (“C. jejuni”) infection or that it, rather than vaccination, triggered his GBS. See J.A. 30–34. Under the special master’s reasoning, the government can defeat a claim for compensation under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, Pub. L. No. 99-660, 100 Stat. 3755, codified as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 300aa-10 to -34 (“Vaccine Act”), simply by speculating—rather than establishing— that an agent other than vaccination caused a petitioner’s illness. Such an approach will make it nearly impossible for claimants—even those who, like Winkler, can provide cogent medical evidence linking their vaccination to their injury—to prevail in off-Table claims for compensation.

The special master’s approach has no place in the proclaimant compensation system designed by Congress, a system where awards are to “be made to vaccine-injured persons quickly, easily, and with certainty and generosity,” H.R. Rep. No. 99–908, 99th Cong., 2d Sess. 3 (1986), reprinted in 1986 U.S.C.C.A.N. 6344, 6344, where a link between vaccination and an injury can be found “in a field bereft of complete and direct proof of how vaccines affect the human body,” Althen v. Sec’y of HHS, 418 F.3d 1274, 1280 (Fed. Cir. 2005), and where “close calls regarding causation [must be] resolved in favor of injured claimants,” id. I therefore respectfully dissent.

In re Institute Pasteur (Nonprecedential)

Institut Pasteur (“Pasteur”) appeals from a decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“Board”) affirming an examiner’s rejection of claims 35–53 of U.S. Patent Application No. 14/730,396 (“’396 Application”) for obviousness-type double patenting. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm.

Arnold v. Merit Systems Protection Board (Nonprecedential)

Keith L. Arnold appeals a final decision of the Merit Systems Protection Board that removed him from his position at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration because of his alleged violations of the Hatch Act in 2014 and 2016. S.A. 7. We affirm.

Haro v. McDonough (Nonprecedential)

Rogelio Haro appeals pro se a decision of the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims denying his petition for a writ of mandamus. We affirm.

Young v. Merit Systems Protection Board (Nonprecedential Order)

Blake Young seeks review of two related Merit System Protection Board decisions—Young v. United States Postal Service, MSPB Docket No. NY-0752-17-0024-I-1, 2022 WL 3696854 (Aug. 26, 2022) (“I-1 matter”) and Young v. United States Postal Service, MSPB Docket No. NY-752S-17-0024-B-1, 2022 WL 17587692 (Dec. 9, 2022) (“B-1 matter”)—dismissing his appeals for lack of jurisdiction.

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The appeal of MSPB Docket No. NY-0752-17-0024-I-1 and the appeal of MSPB Docket No. NY-752S-17-0024-B-1 are transferred. The petition for review and all the filings are transmitted to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1631.