CSHB 4 Rotten to the Core for Vaccine Victims
[5/4 UPDATE: HB 4, now in the Senate State Affairs
Committee has undergone some significant changes in the Senate. Article 2
has been made more balanced, but Article 5 still is bad for families with
children who react to vaccines. Even though it no longer applies to
pending lawsuits, it will impact every child in Texas who will be injured by a
vaccine in the future. Please read the bullet points below under article 5 and
call your senator to express you concerns.]
* Calls Needed to Texas Representatives to request and support amendments
removing manufacturer liability protections in CSHB 4
* Also, stories needed of Texans with PENDING lawsuits against manufacturers
whose suits are gutted by these provisions
The Texas House is about to vote on and most likely pass a sweeping "tort
reform" bill CSHB 4. There are some provisions in the current version of the
bill that have dire consequences on families either with a pending lawsuit
against a drug or vaccine manufacturer or any manufacturer of defective products
and any future claims that may arise.
We have been told that some legislators my consider offering amendments to
strip these provisions from the rest of the bill, however, there is no guarantee
that they will pass. Please call your State Representative and ask him/her to
request amendments or at the minimum support amendments to delete Article 2 and
Article 5 from the Committee Substitute of HB 4 that do nothing but serve to
protect irresponsible businesses.
* Requires the consumer to forgo recovery of attorney fees and pay the
defendant's attorney fees if they have rejected a defendant's settlement
offer and then prevail at trial by an amount less than 110% of the original
PROBLEMS FOR OUR MEMBERS: A parent could end up winning their case in court
after years of suffering that the vaccine itself or thimerosal injured their
child only to have the money recovered to care for their child being stripped to
pay the vaccine manufacturer's legal defense. Also, this section does not
account for the fact that some consumers find the confidentiality and liability
waiver conditions often placed on the terms of the settlement grossly
unreasonable. There is no penalty on the other hand in this one-sided consumer
penalty to a vaccine manufacturer if they reject a reasonable settlement offer
from a consumer and then lose in trial.
* Prevents lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies involving failure to
warn if the drug or vaccine's warning label complies with FDA requirements.
* Allows manufacturers of any defective product to evade liability if a
product complies with FDA or state regulations. These regulations are minimum
* Applies to PENDING and future lawsuits
PROBLEMS FOR OUR MEMBERS: If this bill passes and you are currently pursing a
claim against a manufacturer, including for thimerosal, your case will effective
cease on September 1, 2003 if you have not begun the trial.
This bill will make it impossible for injured people and their families to
hold irresponsible manufacturers accountable for dangerously defective products
like thimerosal, vaccines contaminated with SV40, Firestone tires, diet drugs
like Fen-Phen, and defective child car seats.
If a product meets the watered-down, minimum safety requirements of the FDA
or other agencies, or has a government approved warning label, injured parties
will not be able to pursue a claim against the manufacturer, even if the product
proves to be clearly defective or dangerous.
Families currently have the right to pursue lawsuits against vaccine
manufacturers if their claim is turned down or the family rejects an offer as
inadequate by the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. That right would
vaporize in Texas on September 1, 2003 if Article 5 is kept in CSHB 4.
Please call your Texas Representative TODAY, identify yourself as a
constituent, and ask him/her to request amendments or in the minimum vote in
favor of amendments to delete Article 2 and Article 5 from CSHB 4 on Wednesday.
The capitol switchboard is (512) 463-4630 if you already know who your State
Representative is, or you can look up the name and direct number of your State
Representative by linking to
Then link to http://www.capitol.state.tx.us
and click on House Members. Contact phone and email forms can be found on your
Representative's web site.
If you have pending litigation that would be adversely affected by this bill,
or if you are awaiting word on whether you will receive compensation from the
Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, send me a brief one page explanation of
your case, and your contact information today to PROVE
so I can forward the information to Representatives who may be willing to offer
the amendments to strip these Articles to help them make their case on the House
Floor for removal of these offensive provisions.
If you would like to read the bill for yourself, you can link to http://www.capitol.state.tx.us
and enter HB 4 and click on the bill text selections for the House Committee