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Justices to Weigh Vaccine Challenger’s Bid for Fees

WASHINGTON (CN) - A woman whose vaccination challenge spurred a minor reform of federal law will have to persuade the Supreme Court that her attorneys' fees demand merits consideration.

Claiming that vaccinations for hepatitis B caused her multiple sclerosis, Dr. Melissa Cloer sought benefits under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.

Congress had established the program with the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Vaccine Act of 1986 in response to a rising number of such lawsuits.

Though the program denied Cloer's claim, and the U.S. Court of Federal Claims affirmed, Cloer found a bit of relief from the Federal Circuit.

Summarizing its August 2011 ruling nearly a year later, the appeals court said that Cloer's challenge "prompted a change of law in a limited way that potentially opens the door to certain Vaccine Act petitioners who otherwise would have been precluded from seeking redress."

On that basis, the court said Cloer could have a case for attorneys' fees and remanded the issue.

The U.S. Supreme Court granted the government's petition for certiorari last week, giving no comment on the case, as per its custom.

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