Vaccine Litigation

Every day thousands of people in the US are safely vaccinated against diseases and illnesses. However, sometimes rare, severe, and debilitating reactions to vaccinations can happen.

Luckily, there is a little-known federal program set up specifically to help people that have an adverse reaction to a vaccine at NO COST to the victim. That program is the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP), more commonly referred to as the Vaccine Program.

Scharli Branch and David Speed are admitted to practice in the National Vaccine Court and have represented clients in all types of legal-medical settings.  Prior to joining Cantey Hanger in April 2021, Ms. Branch spent two-years at the United States Court of Federal Claims where she analyzed and drafted decisions on hundreds of vaccine claims.  Please do not hesitate to call or email David Speed or Scharli Branch if you or a loved one has suffered from an adverse reaction to a vaccine.

Information about the Vaccine Program

The government’s Vaccine Program was developed in 1986 in response to a noticeable rise in lawsuits brought against vaccine manufacturers. The basis for those lawsuits was that the vaccine manufacturer failed to warn about the potential side effects. The increasing number of lawsuits continued causing the price of vaccine production to soar, which forced some vaccine manufacturers to stop production. This began to create a vaccine shortage in the United States.

The shortage came at a time when the United States was beginning to see the eradication – because of vaccinations—of serious, highly contagious conditions such as polio and measles. Wanting to continue this positive trend and provide support for research and development of vaccines, Congress passed the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act in 1986. Part of the Act established the Vaccine Program. Its sole purpose was to provide an avenue to compensate individuals who experience a rare adverse reaction to a covered vaccine.

Funding for the Vaccine Program comes from a $.75 excise tax taken from each administered vaccine in the United States. That small tax goes to a fund, which is used to pay damages to individuals who make a claim in the Vaccine Program. Since its implementation in 1988, 24,084 claims have been filed and $4.5 billion has been paid in damages.

To receive compensation from the Vaccine Program, a claim must be filed in the United States Court of Federal Claims. Among other requirements, an individual who wants to make a claim in the Vaccine Program must have received a covered vaccine and been injured thereafter. An attorney from the Department of Justice is responsible for responding to the claim and defending the fund. All the proceedings for the claim are heard and decided by a Special Master (functioning as a Judge).

To help remove barriers to entry and make the Vaccine Program accessible, attorney’s fees are paid by the fund regardless of the outcome, assuming the case is brought in good faith. Any attorney who has been admitted to practice in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims can bring a claim on behalf of an injured party. Even with all of these benefits, the Vaccine Program remains relatively unknown, even amongst physicians who treat patients with vaccine-related injuries.

While the Vaccine Program covers the most common vaccines administered in the United States, such as measles, seasonal flu, and whooping cough (DTaP or Tdap), the COVID-19 vaccines are not included yet because of their emergency approval status. Congress can add the COVID-19 vaccines as covered vaccines if and when they receive full approval from the FDA.

Medical Device/Pharma

Cantey Hanger handles a full spectrum of health related legal matters, including civil litigation, administrative litigation, transactional health care, and statutory and regulatory compliance.

The firm has a long history of representation of physicians, hospitals, nurses, nursing homes, and other health care providers in medical negligence lawsuits. The firm also handles mass tort, drug liability, and medical device liability litigation. Our health care liability team incorporates knowledge of statutory and common law authorities with medical and nursing concepts to provide a comprehensive defense to our health care clients in civil claims and lawsuits.

Cantey Hanger represents physicians in contested proceedings and license revocation hearings before the Texas Medical Board, as well as nurses before the Texas Board of Nursing and other providers before their respective boards in Austin. Firm attorneys have comprehensive knowledge and experience in the practice of administrative litigation before multiple health care regulatory boards in Austin, including litigation before the State Office of Administrative Hearings.

Cantey Hanger’s transactional attorneys frequently represent health care clients in connection with a variety of business transactions. Matters regularly handled by these attorneys include entity formation and capitalization, private placements, recapitalizations, financings and re-financings, acquisitions, dispositions, and other liquidity transactions. The firm also prepares and negotiates contracts for physicians and other providers and their employers.

Cantey Hanger advises hospitals and other health care entities regarding credentialing and peer review matters. In addition, Cantey Hanger regularly consults with health care clients in connection with various laws and rules, including HIPAA, the STARK law, the False Claims Act, and both the federal and state Anti-Kickback rules. The firm has decades of experience in providing hospitals, physicians, and physician groups clear and straightforward answers to the complex issues that arise in today’s regulatory climate.


Distressed transactions and complex financial restructurings are known to be stressful and fast-moving. Cantey Hanger LLP’s team of attorneys have the experience to make swift calculations and advise clients under pressure in complex commercial chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings to preserve value of the bankruptcy estate and creditor claims.  Our bankruptcy attorneys have restructuring experience in healthcare, energy, aerospace, construction, e-commerce, and light manufacturing industries.

We ably analyze and formulate complicated restructuring plans, advocate vigorously in contested hearings and trials, and, when necessary, expedite appeals for our clients, whether corporate debtor, lender, or creditors’ committee. Our attorneys have argued successfully before bankruptcy courts and district courts to get the best possible outcome for creditors and debtors in chapter 11 proceedings.

Aside from financial restructuring, our attorneys have also litigated and secured relief in bankruptcy adversary proceedings (related bankruptcy lawsuits) and Texas state courts on behalf of creditors.

Business Law

Attorneys in the Business Law Section of Cantey Hanger LLP assist local, national and international clients of all sizes in a wide variety of business industries with regard to forming, financing, buying and selling business entities (corporations, partnerships, limited partnerships, limited liability companies, professional corporations, and professional associations).

Our attorneys routinely advise our clients on the day-to-day legal issues that arise in the operation and governance of their business entities. We handle mergers and acquisitions and public and private offerings of debt and equity securities for companies of all sizes, from start-ups to public companies traded on the New York Stock Exchange, NASDAQ or the over-the-counter market.

Our clients include small start-up companies, medical practices, hospitals, operating companies, financial institutions and other lenders, venture capital and other investment funds, individual investors, entrepreneurs, franchisors and franchisees, boards of directors and board committees, shareholders, business executives, joint ventures and syndicates. We provide legal services in virtually all areas involving business matters, including:

  • Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Public Securities Offerings
  • Private Placements
  • Venture Capital
  • Investment Funds
  • SEC Reporting and Compliance
  • Stock Options and Other Equity Compensation
  • Executive Employment Agreements
  • Business Formation
  • Joint Ventures
  • Franchising
  • Tax-Exempt Bonds
  • Corporate Governance
  • Fiduciary Duties of Directors and Officers
  • Tender Offers and Anti-Takeover Defenses
  • Shareholder Agreements and Disputes

Our industry experience includes, among other industries, health care, computer software, Internet and technology companies, manufacturing, bottling, food processing, retailing, venture capital, media, logistics, oil and gas, and energy services.