A couple of our recent posts have mentioned the alternative compensation system created by the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (“Vaccine Act”), 42 U.S.C. §§300aa-10, et seq.
This Vaccine Program is the Act’s alternative to tort litigation, which addresses alleged injuries resulting from vaccines covered by the Vaccine Act. The legal aspects of the Vaccine Program are administered by the Department of Justice, and here’s a link to government’s description of the program
For decades, the Vaccine Program has been successful in protecting the nation’s childhood vaccine supply, and stands as one of Congress’ most effective limits on the destructive use of mass tort litigation. The other side, which opposes any restraints on tort litigation, would love to see it fail. Our recent posts have detailed their attempts to do just that through exposing the Vaccine Program to mass tort litigation tactics that the program, with its statutory limit of “not more than 8 special masters,” 42 U.S.C.A. §300aa-12(c)(1), is ill-equipped to withstand.
But ill-equipped does not mean unequipped, and that’s what this shameless plug is about.
The U.S. Department of Justice, which defends Vaccine Act claims in the Court of Federal Claims, is hiring. If any blog reader is interested in defending both vaccines and the Vaccine Program, then we encourage you to think about applying.
The Office of Vaccine Litigation recently posted for a whopping twelve positions to –according to the posting − “address workload created by an increase in cases filed under the Vaccine Act.” The posting is available on DOJ’s website and at USA JOBS. These are GS 12-14 positions with starting pay (depending on experience and seniority) between $94,199 and $172,075 per year. Promotions to the GS 15 pay level are common.
These positions are a great fit for anyone who has practiced mass tort defense, and in particular those who love digging into the science, working with expert witnesses, and actually presenting cases to the special masters who try them. The job descriptions also point out that the DoJ attorneys in the Vaccine Program typically get to handle all program-related appeals to the Federal Circuit. So hands-on appellate experience comes with these jobs, too.
We think that these specialty DoJ positions would be an excellent fit for younger, defense-oriented attorneys who enjoy defending products like vaccines, but who would like more hands-on and in-court experience than big firms like ours are often able to provide.