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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 offer.

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 safety standards.

* 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 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 and enter HB 4 and click on the bill text selections for the House Committee Report.

Thank you.

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April 5, 2008

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