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Finally, Some Intelligent Action by the Cali Anti SB 277 Community!

Finally, Some Intelligent Action by the Cali Anti SB 277 Community!

I’ve been a vocal opponent of all of the anti-SB 277 constitutional lawsuits. The most recent one was a federal lawsuit filed in mid-November, 2016, in Los Angeles, and dismissed by the federal district court in January 2017. I think all of these lawsuit were (and will be if more are filed) a terrific waste of time and money. As I have repeatedly said, as long as the medical consensus is that 1. Vaccines are safe and 2. Herd immunity (from vaccines) is a thing, no court will ever overturn a mandatory vaccination law or a law eliminating a PBE (personal belief exemption) or a religious exemption.

(For my reasoning, see my posts in the SB 277 section of my web site. Here is the link.
http://rickjaffeesq.com/category/sb-277/ )

Whatever satisfactory resolution the VC (vaccine concerned) community is going to achieve, I am certain it won’t come from the judiciary, at least so long as 1. and 2 above are the “accepted” scientific facts. The constitution isn’t a suicide pact, and the few do not have the right to infect the many, and that’s what judges are thinking when you file these lawsuits because of the “accepted” science. The vaccine concerned have to figure out a more productive use of their limited time and resources.

(Hint: change the accepted science or change-out the folks who decide what’s accepted, and that’s not as far-fetched as it would have seemed prior to November 8, 2016.)

While I doubt my message got through to anyone of authority in the movement, I am happy to report that I’ve seen some signs of intelligence in the VC community, post SB 277. No answers yet, but at least there is a promising gathering of some of the folks who could possibly come-up with solutions, both on the medical/research level and on the political action level.

I’m talking about the upcoming vaccine safety conference organized by a new group called Physicians for Informed Consent (PIC). As suggested by the name, this is a group of physicians who at the very least are skeptical of the current vaccine schedule and have some safety concerns. Many of the group’s members are pediatricians who have to deal with vaccine issues every day. The conference is this Sunday, May 12, 2017 at the Costa Mesa Hilton.

Here is the Facebook link to the event. Registration technically closes Friday.
https://www.facebook.com/events/1834537363451194/

The conference has two parts. The morning session is only open to physicians and will consist of a panel discussion with some of the leading vaccine concerned physicians explaining their views on when medical exemptions are appropriately given. That will be followed by a legal panel discussing the legal issues in giving medical exemptions in California. I will be speaking at that panel, and I can tell you that some discussions might be controversial, because at least one of the speakers is blunt and has been highly critical of past VC actions, (but he shall remain nameless).

If you are a California physician and write exemptions or thinking about doing so, you should be at the meeting, period.

Starting at 11:00, the meeting is open to the public. There will be various topics about vaccine safety from some well-known vaccine researchers. A couple of the docs from the morning panel will give their insights to the public about the general requirements California physicians will or should employ in evaluating when a school vaccine exemption should be given. The group’s general counsel will also give his insights about the legal challenges facing the docs and the VC community.

My guess is that this information will help the vaccine concerned public understand what’s required of them to obtain an exemption.

One of the most interesting presentations is likely to be from the founder of MADD (mothers against Drunk Drivers). That’s a pretty impressive grass-roots movement which has had a tremendous positive influence in the country and legislation. My view is that it’s going to take a MADD-like movement to effectuate any real change in the medical, public policy and legislative landscape regarding the safety of vaccines, and to take on Pharma and the medical/public health establishment. So I hope the thought and movement leaders listen carefully to what she has to say. It was a pretty nifty, out-of-the-box idea to invite her. Kudos to Shira Miller and her crew for bringing her to the VC community.

On the merits, I have a strong feeling that there’s going to be presented some new information, at least to the docs, about a powerful new explanation of the connection between vaccines and neurological related conditions, including autism, based on some doctors’ (Diane Powell) and thought leaders (JD Handley) connecting the international research dots. Think microglia/pruning and the brain’s immune system. Who knows, maybe even an attorney might talk about the implication of these concepts as a game changer which cuts across the scientific/policy/legislative and even the medical administrative landscape.

Stay tuned and more after the conference!

Rick Jaffe, Esq.
www.rickjaffe.com

Self-Dismissal of SB 277 Lawsuit: Smartest thing they’ve done so far: Is it a one-of or are they on a roll?

Self-Dismissal of SB 277 Lawsuit: Smartest thing they’ve done so far: Is it a one-of or are they on a roll?

 

I’ve been very skeptical of the federal SB 277 lawsuit and preliminary injunction motion, for technical legal and substantive reasons. (See my prior posts:

http://rickjaffeesq.com/2016/06/10/cali-anti-vaxer-friends-heres-probably-unwanted-possibly-useful-advice/

http://rickjaffeesq.com/2016/06/14/190/

http://rickjaffeesq.com/2016/08/21/time-get-real-sb-277-real-battle-will/

http://rickjaffeesq.com/2016/08/26/shocker-sb-277-preliminary-injunction-motion-denied/)

Well the powers-that-be finally did something smart; they voluntarily dismissed the case before the state had a chance to file a dismissal motion and before the judge terminated the case for good, or in legal parlance, “with prejudice.”

So what’s next? Based on Tim Bolen’s recent post, http://bolenreport.com/sb-277-lawsuit-case-dismissed/#more-4880, it looks like the case will be refiled with factual allegations on the two points which I (and any other experienced federal civil litigator) would deem necessary to try to allege a valid claim, namely, challenging herd immunity, and the alleged severe harm and danger of vaccines to significant numbers of recipients. (Which is not to say there is any realistic chance of success, but whatever chance there is has to involve these two factual contentions.)

Looking into my crystal ball, here is what’s going to happen, (or what’s not going to happen.)

  1. Think you’re getting rid of Judge Sabraw by refiling, think again.

Now that the federal lawsuit has been dismissed, it’s over, meaning, someone has to file a new lawsuit, pay another filing fee, serve the defendants again, and the rest. Normally, judges are assigned on a random basis, and there are a number of federal judges in the southern district, so one might think the odds favor getting another judge on the new case.

However, if the new case is filed on behalf of some of the same plaintiffs, and the defendants will be the same, and the same lawyers, then it’s a related case, and probably should be so designated in the initial filing, but even if not, the state will probably point that out right quick. Related cases go to the judge hearing or who heard the other case. Call it judicial efficiency or not allowing judge shopping.

So, prediction number 1 is that if the case is filed again in the southern district, it will end up with the same judge, and we already know what he thinks about whether there is any set of circumstances in which the beliefs or rights of the few can supersede the rights and health of the many.

Hint: The only way to make sure the same judge won’t hear the new case is to file in another California district court. There are three others, and Santa Barbara isn’t in the Southern District. Sure, you might be accused of forum shopping, and all the judges read the same law books, so it probably won’t matter, but if the goal is to get a different judge, a different district is the way to go.

  1. Preliminary Injunction? fugetaboutit! That ship has sailed.

The dismissed lawsuit was filed before the school year started in the first year SB 277 effected kids. So there was at least an arguable urgency, which is a prerequisite for the extraordinary remedy of a preliminary injunction. However, by the time the new case is filed (supposedly by October 1st) vaccination decisions for this school year have already been made, thereby eliminating the urgency of an expedited decision.  Any other arguable urgency would just be a pretext and won’t fly.  And even the impending school year didn’t work because the urgency was self-inflicted or a tactical decision (which is what the judge said).

Further, the whole “preserve the status quo ante” crap in the prior injunction is a joke and a non-starter in a public health case. Why? Justified or not, SB 277 was a legislative response to one very well publicized disease outbreak (and there were supposedly others).  No judge in his right mind is going to “preserve the status quo ante” by stopping a law specifically designed to prevent future disease outbreaks, not even if Jesus Christ shows up and argues for it.

Anyone who doesn’t understand this is either too close to the vaccine issue or has spent too much time doing field research on the medical marijuana issue.

And let’s not forget that a judge has already denied a preliminary injunction motion involving all or some of the same plaintiffs, defendants and lawyers. The idea that the same or even a different judge is going to reach a different outcome because of some new alleged facts in a complaint is, let’s just say, naïve.

  1. How about a Jury Trial? Not a Chance

Bypassing all the abstruse jurisprudence, there is no 7th Amendment jury trial right when you’re trying to overturn a statute. Those decisions are made by a federal district judge.

  1. So what’s Going to Happen in the New Lawsuit(s)

I get that the vaccine concerned community has a strongly held belief against vaccines, that they are toxic, hurt thousands of people and that vaccines haven’t been proven effective by scientific standards of controlled clinical trials. I also get that they think that the herd immunity concept is unproven superstition.  I am neither an anti vaxer nor pro all vaccines. Also,  I’m not a vaccine lawyer,  and there is no point for a guy like me wading into the scientific dispute or pseudo dispute since I’m just an outsider looking into this controversy. But I have spent my entire professional career litigating cutting-edge and novel legal/medical issues. In that (depressingly long) time, I’ve been thrown out of some of the finest federal courts, and have even prevailed once in a while. So on the litigation part, I’ve very confident about my ability to understand and predict litigation outcomes.

My crystal ball tells me that no federal (or state) judge is going to stop SB 277 because of any complaint or declaration (sworn statement)  supporting the complaint that may be filed. To think otherwise, in my opinion, is based on a non-objective/uncritical view of the case law, and/or a misunderstanding of the limited role of judges in matters of public health, even in the face of an alleged scientific controversy and a minority view of the overall danger of vaccination, even if that minority view eventually turns out to be true and accepted.

Further, none of these cases will ever see a bench trial and all will be dismissed under Federal Rule 12 b.

Bottom line, I do not believe that there is any viable direct legal challenge to SB 277. Indirect, maybe, where the two concepts are successfully challenged in a court case, but relief in such a suit won’t be the judicial overturning of the law. That will only come when there is some recognition/validation of the vaccine concerned’s position on the two key issues of herd immunity and vaccine harm/schedule.

In law, there are just some alleged wrongs or government actions which don’t have a judicial remedy. For the last hundred years, unfettered freedom from vaccination has not been recognized by the judiciary and will not be so recognized given the current view of vaccine science/safety, however wrong the VC community thinks the mainstream consensus view is.

So guys, file away. It’s sometimes important to empower a community even if the boost/feeling is short-lived. The vaccine concerned will certainly feel good about the new filings, and will feel that their heartfelt beliefs are being considered, and that could be a good thing and the lawyers filing these cases will be viewed as heros, (for awhile anyway).

But at the end of the day, the result will be the same as in all of the other cases. And there will be more of the same kind of explanations/excuses or different explanations/excuses, or fulminations about how we live in a police state and there will be more fragmentation of the VC community as they point fingers at eachother assessing blame for failed strategy. But none of those explanations or heartfelt beliefs or fingerpointing is going to change the “established” scientific facts or the law, until there is a change in the worldview, but I’ve said that before.

Rick Jaffe

Shocker! SB 277 Preliminary Injunction Motion Denied

Shocker! SB 277 Preliminary Injunction Motion Denied

In an 18 page decision, Judge Sabraw denied the vaccine concerned plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction. Big surprise! He also set out the grounds why he will dismiss the case, after the defendants file their motion to dismiss, which I would guess would be in the next week or two.

Unfortunately, the law has been clear for a hundred years, up to an including last year’s New York case. States are not required to have a personal belief exemption or a religious exemption to vaccines because the rights of the few are subservient to the the health of the many. That’s just established law. Until the vaccine concerned present a case to a court that 1. herd immunity is wrong and 2. vaccination damage to kids is horrible, understated or underreported and that the programs are massively unsafe and do not prevent disease, no judge is going to overturn a state’s decision to remove PBE’s or religious exemptions.  The injunction motion did not have any real record or evidence to support such a finding, so it was doomed or dead on arrival

Maybe the vaccine concerned will never accept the decision, the appeal decision or the law, but it doesn’t matter. This lawsuit is going to be dismissed, before the end of the year, the appeal will be denied, just like in Phillips v. New York (which is pretty similiar to this case and suffers from the same legal and record defects) and the  Supreme Court will not grant certiorari, just like in Phillips.

Deal with it,  and maybe it’s time for a Plan B.

Here is the Judge’s decision. He’s right on the money, based on the law, and the record before him.

denialinjunction

 

Rick jaffe

 

Is it time to get real about SB 277 and where the real battle will be?

Is it time to get real about SB 277 and where the real battle will be?

Based on the transcript of the oral argument/hearing on the preliminary injunction motion in the federal challenge to California SB 277 (the removal of the personal belief exemption), it seems pretty clear that the judge is going to follow the law, and that’s bad news for the vaccine concerned. The judge was polite to the plaintiffs’ counsel and acknowledged the deep and heartfelt beliefs of all those who support the legal challenge, but he is going to deny the motion, as he should, based on the law.   The plaintiffs’ lawyers did an excellent job, but the law and equities were against them, and there just isn’t a good enough record to make it even a close case.

Here is what I think the judge is going to say.

To get a preliminary injunction the plaintiff has the burden to show immediate irreparable injury in the absence of relief, likelihood of success on the merits, and a balance of equities weighing in favor of the granting of an injunction.

One of the biggest impediments to a preliminary injunction here is that the case/motion was filed way too late. The judge keyed into this right at the beginning. SB 277 was passed over a year ago and became effective over six months ago. You can’t get a preliminary injunction if the need for speed is self-inflicted. Plaintiffs’ counsel did his best to explain away the delay, but the facts are the facts. Tellingly, the state’s lawyer asked the judge if he needed to address the delay issue, and the judge said he didn’t.

On the merits, the judge’s questioning of plaintiffs’ counsel made it clear he didn’t think that the state  has a constitutional obligation to provide a religious exemption to vaccination, and then made a classic a fortiori argument, saying that a personal belief exemption (PBE) is just a lesser or watered-down version of a religious exemption. So if the First Amendment doesn’t require a religious exemption to vaccination, it surely doesn’t require a PBE. Then he said that if a state isn’t constitutionally required to give a religious exemption or PBE, how can it be unconstitutional to take the exemption away? This is one of the reasons the judge will say that plaintiffs have not demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits.

As to the “hybrid rights” argument, It seems like it has been at least heavily criticized and it is probably bad law, because the opinion articulating the hybrid rights theory was apparently withdrawn. It’s never a good thing to cite and rely on a decision which has been withdrawn.  The judge will reject the hybrid rights doctrine as no longer being good law.

The judge gave short shrift to the federal statutory arguments. He’ll find that they are lacking as a matter of law, I suspect.

What about the state constitutional right to education? A federal judge is not going to give a federal injunction based on a state right where there is a serious risk of harm to public health if the injunction is granted. The state’s attorney quoted language from an opinion that the rights of the few don’t justify jeopardizing the health of the many. Of course, the vaccine concerned dispute that this is the case, but the record i.e. the evidence submitted, doesn’t come close to give the judge the comfort he would need to stop the state from implementing this major public health statute. Like I said in a previous post, unless and until the herd immunity theory is refuted or at least seriously questioned (by the scientific community), no judge is going to overturn a legislature that has decided to eliminate a PBE.

So what’s going to happen to the federal case? The transcript gives a hint about that too. The judge mentioned the state’s anticipated motion to dismiss the case. My guess is that the state is in the final stages of preparing the dismissal motion papers, and is just awaiting the judge’s order denying the preliminary injunction so the state can incorporate and toss back the judge’s own words.

My prediction is that the judge will grant the state’s motion to dismiss, with prejudice on all the federal claims, and without prejudice on all the state claims. Translation: he’s going to allow the plaintiffs to refile the state claims in state court.

What about the plaintiffs’ appeal of the denial of the injunction? Not a chance in hell it will be granted. The appellate court will give deference to the self-inflicted delay finding, and the appellate judges will go along with the legal conclusions that there is no federal first amendment right to a PBE, there is no hybrid rights violation (and hybrid rights is not a thing) and that the asserted state constitutional right to education isn’t directly implicated by SB 277 and/or it’s better left to the state courts.

What about the U.S. Supreme Court? There is zero chance the Supreme Court will exercise its discretionary jurisdiction (grant certiorari) on a denial of a preliminary injunction motion on a matter of where public health is arguably protected by the denial of the injunction, especially given federal and state law on the vaccination issue, and the delay in bringing the motion. The Supreme Court doesn’t overturn denials of preliminary injunctions, at least not on a record like the one in this case.

So while I think this case certainly has made the vaccine concerned feel good, and it did a great public service in uncovering what the Santa Barbara school district (and probably others) are planning, (reporting docs who write a lot of medical exemptions), ultimately, the case is a feel good distraction from where the real, important and possibly winnable battle is going to be.

So where is the real battle going to be for the vaccine concerned? At the California Medical and Osteopathic Boards. Some docs are going to write a lot of medical exemptions and I think accusations (board complaints) will be filed against those who write the most exemptions. That’s the place for the defense/offense.

The administrative hearings on the accusations/complaints is where, if done right, the community will have its opportunity to make its case on the two big medical/epidemiological issues; herd immunity and harm from vaccines/schedules. In my view, that’s going to be the mother of all vaccine battles. But that will require more studies/reports/analysis of VAERS data, and the widespread dissemination of the information, through all forms of media and especially documentaries and TV/U Tube type media.   World views are hard to change and take time, but they do change.

 

Rick Jaffe