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Court: woman can seek lawyer fees in vaccine case

May 20, 2013

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court says a woman can seek lawyers’ fees from the government even though her lawsuit over damage she said was caused by a vaccine was ruled untimely.

The high court on Monday ruled for Melissa Cloer, who wanted lawyers’ fees for her lawsuit over damage she says was caused by hepatitis B vaccines. Shortly after finishing the vaccine, she started having symptoms of what was later diagnosed as multiple sclerosis. Cloer sued, but courts said her lawsuit was too late.

Cloer then filed for more than $118,000 in lawyers’ fees, but government officials said she shouldn’t get anything.

The justices disagreed, with Justice Sonia Sotomayor writing that even unsuccessful petitions under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act can get attorneys’ fees if they are “brought in good faith and (for which) there was a reasonable basis.”

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