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Senator Pan Throws a Curveball on SB 276, and I’m glad he did

Senator Pan Throws a Curveball on SB 276, and I’m glad he did

I have been told by multiple sources who watched the Appropriations Committee hearing on SB 276 on Thursday May 16, 2019, that Senator Pan stated that the bill had been/or would be amended to remove the review/rescission of current vaccine medical exemptions.

But I would note that as of this morning, Friday May 17th, the new amendment is not up on the legislative website. So, for now, it’s just talk.

My first (and continued) reaction honestly, was (is) relief. Through these posts, and my representation of Dr. Ken Stoller in the San Francisco Administrative Subpoena matter, I’ve heard some very disturbing stories about children who have been repeatedly injured from vaccines and how their pediatricians continue to insist on adherence to the vaccine schedule, despite the serious harm they (both the vaccines and the pediatricians) are causing. That seems crazy to me. In desperation, these families have sought their way to physicians like Ken Stoller who have a better understanding of vaccine injury than most pediatricians, and many of them have received a vaccine exemption even though they don’t meet the technical CDC contraindication standards.

While that kind of exemption writing was specifically allowed under SB 277, Senator Pan and others have suffered memory lapses, or now basically say, “hey, we were just kidding, we really meant CDC contraindications (and CDC precautions) even though we had to delete that from the original bill because you vaccine concerned made such a stink about it.” And now he is shocked that doctors are following his own words. Reminds me of Claude Raines’ line in Cassablanca when he said to Bogie: “Gambling in this establishment, Monsieur Rick, I am shocked!!”

Bottom line: SB 276 is meant to finish the job that couldn’t be done last time around (or almost finish it).

Nonetheless, I am relieved that the current vaccine exempt won’t have the prospect of losing their medical exemptions.

I also saw that some on FB have called out Senator Pan for being a hypocrite, in that if he really believed the vaccine exempt were dangerous, why isn’t he sticking with rescinding the exemptions of all these public risk kids?


Or more politely, I don’t see it as hypercritical for Senator Pan to amend his bill to remove the rescission of existing exemptions. He’s a politician, and to get things done, politicians have to compromise. You folks made such a stink about all the kids who would lose their exemptions that he had to back down to push his bill through the Senate Appropriations Committee. You folks did that, which is how the process works. But you can’t call the guy out because you beat him down on this.

Take the interim and partial win and keep working and explaining to the Assembly why California needs physicians writing broad based medical exemptions, based on what Senator Pan told you legislators back then, at least until you have actual hard evidence that California citizens are being actually harmed by the 3000 extra medical exemptions that have been written last year.

Ask them to demand to see the actual evidence connecting these exemptions to all or even a majority of the new measles cases. I can’t speak to the rest of the state, but I’ve read that 28 of the 38 measles cases in the Bay area this year are in adults who have traveled abroad who were unvaccinated or had secondary vaccine failure. Maybe the legislators should mandate titer testing and revaccination of all adults, instead of picking-on the kids. Seems like a more effective solution to solve the actual problem, at least if the Bay area is representative of other parts of the state. But my guess is that’s not going to fly because adults have rights, for now at least, and kids are easier targets, sad as it is to say.

Rick Jaffe, Esq.

Ken Stoller’s GoFundMe(sometimes) campaign has been pulled, but we’re up on GoGetfunding

Ken Stoller’s GoFundMe(sometimes) campaign has been pulled, but we’re up on GoGetfunding

As many of you already know, Dr. Ken Stoller’s gofundme campaign was pulled by the company for generic violations of terms of service, meaning, the received a complaint from a pro-vaxer wing-nut and that was all she wrote.

I had naively thought that because this was a legal defense fund involving protected patient medical records, it wouldn’t be subject to the whole vax/antivax/vaccine concerned nonsense. Silly me.

So, we moved the campaign to Here is the link. Please spread the word.

I’ve been asked several times if people can just send a check and avoid the whole only funding thing.
Sure, send checks payable to my trust accound (Richard A. Jaffe Trust Account) put on it “Stoller LDF” (legal defense fund) and send to my Sacramento office, 770 L Street, Suite 950, Sacramento, Ca. 95814.

thank you for your continued support and prayers.

Update on the case:
We plan on submitting an initial response to the subpoena by tomorrow. There might be on going discussions with the City Attorney’s office, but all indications are that they are serious as a heart attack about getting the patients’ medical records. Our deadline to comply with the subpoena is Thursday May 23rd. It’s possible that deadline might be extended to allow for further discussion. If not, I would expect the case to hit the media big time around that date or before.

Rick Jaffe, Esq.

To the Families who Have Received a Medical Exemption from Dr. Stoller, Please Take a Breath

To the Families who Have Received a Medical Exemption from Dr. Stoller, Please Take a Breath

I have been told that my update on my GoFundMe Campaign has caused some consternation amongst Dr. Stoller’s patient families and families who have exemptions from other physicians. That wasn’t the intention, so please take a breath.

1. For Dr. Stoller’s patient families, all I’m asking is to contact attorney Greg Glaser,
whom I’ve asked to receive information from you all about how you feel about having your medical records turned over to the City Attorney, and otherwise to protect your interests. I need this information because the records belong to you, not Dr. Stoller. He is permitted under California law to assert your rights on your behalf since he maintains possession of your records. But again, they are your records.

We won’t be releasing any information to the City Attorney’s office in the near future, as I think there will be a lengthy process before there will be any resolution. We will keep you informed.

At some point, there might be an opportunity to address the media, in some protected fashion, meaning without revealing your identity. Tell Greg if that is something you would consider. And if we end up going to court, we may need a few declaations(with no public disclosure of your indentity.

2. For families who have received medical exemptions from other physicians: Your records are not in any danger at this point in time. I haven’t heard of any other city seeking vaccine information from other vaccine exemption writing physicians. My hope is that if the San Francisco matter can be favorably resolved either quietly, or through the courts, this government tactic will not be repeated.

In short, there’s no need for anyone to be in a panic now.

Rick Jaffe, Esq.

Remembering what the Politicians said about the scope of medical exemptions under SB 277

Remembering what the Politicians said about the scope of medical exemptions under SB 277

On Monday May 13, 2019, there will be a perfunctory hearing on SB 276 at the Senate Appropriations Committee.

If this was covered by the Las Vegas bookmakers, the smart and even the dumb money would be on it passing easliy out of committee along party lines.

Still, it’s not a bad time to remember what the politicians said and promised when the PBE was removed under SB 277 and how no-one need worry because of the robust medical exemption process would could be written by any Cali. physician. Well of course it hasn’t worked out that way.

So here are the main statements by the politicians about how broad medical exemptions could be: (My thanks to Greg Glaser, Esq. who actually put it together.)

The concluding sentence of Governor Jerry Brown’s signing statement, dated June 30, 2015, was as follows: “Thus, SB 277, while requiring that school children be vaccinated, explicitly provides an exception when a physician believes that circumstances –in the judgement and sound discretion of the physician – so warrant.”

And here is the Assembly Bill Analysis on SB277:

“A medical exemption letter can be written by a licensed physician that believes that vaccination is not safe for the medical conditions of the patient, such as those whose immune systems are compromised, who are allergic to vaccines, are ill at the time of vaccination, or have other medical contraindications to vaccines for that individual patient. Every state allows medical exemptions from school vaccination requirements.
This determination is entirely up to the professional clinical judgment of the physician.” [emphasis added]

The legislative intent of SB277 is further evidenced by the following transcripts of the official public hearings on SB227. See e.g. Assembly Committee hearing transcript, dated June 9, 2015:

“Rob Bonta: Thank you, Dr. Pan. And then finally, we have an amendment regarding the medical exemption and a physician’s judgement. And I’ve heard from a number of constituents and Californians regarding concerns that a medical exemption is difficult to obtain or was difficult to obtain. I believe that current law states that a physician has complete, professional discretion over the writing of a medical exemption. However, I have asked the author to take an amendment to clarify that a medical exemption is entirely within the professional judgement of a physician and we have agreement on that amendment.

“SB277 bill author Richard Pan: Yes.”…

See also SB277 bill Co-Author Ben Allen in that same hearing, “One of the things we’ve talked about over and over again is how important it is that there be a strong and robust medical exemption so that anybody who has a legitimate medical concern, genetic predisposition, some sort of immunological problem, they can go to a doctor anywhere in the State and get an exemption from that doctor.”

SB277 bill Author Richard Pan further addressing the State Legislature during these hearings, “If the physician feels there is a genetic association, with a sibling, a cousin, some other relative, it’s not safe for a vaccine, they can provide a medical exemption for that vaccine. There is no limitation….
“We are trying to create the space to allow doctors and their patients and their parents to work together, hand in hand.”
“… that may be family related, that therefore that child is also at increased risk eventhough that child has not yet suffered harm, then they can exercise their professional judgment to provide an exemption.”

The medical issues referenced in the above-cited legislative history, such as “genetic association” cited by Senator Pan are not officially listed contraindications to vaccination. Rather, they are precautions to vaccination recognized in different measure in different medical communities to justify a medical exemption to vaccination.

Indeed, in their Winter 2016 Newsletter sent out to all California doctors, the Medical Board of California provided guidance on any new Medical Legislation for the previous year. ( “this bill [SB277]specifies that when issuing a medical exemption, a physician must consider the family medical history of the child.”).

I guess it’s alittle dissappointing, but not entirely surprising to the vaccine concerned.
Only thing I’ve got right now is for you to keep reminding the legislators and their staffs what was promised, and tell them that regardless of how few doctors are writing exemptions now, they’re not the bad guys just because they are following the literal words of the legislators who promoted and passed SB 277.

Rick Jaffe, Esq.

Legal Defense for for Ken Stoller is Now Active!

Legal Defense for for Ken Stoller is Now Active!

Here we go!

Rick Jaffe, Esq.

The Next Battle: SF City Attorney subpoenas a Vaccine Exemption Writing Doc under a Public Nuisance Theory

The Next Battle: SF City Attorney subpoenas a Vaccine Exemption Writing Doc under a Public Nuisance Theory

Yesterday afternoon and today, there is a nationally breaking story about San Francisco physician Ken Stoller receiving a subpoena from the San Francisco City Attorney for all his medical records for all vaccine exemptions he has written.

The City’s Attorney’s action has been widely publicized in the California press and TV media, and
and nationally, so far in the Wall Street Journal and the Beast.

Of course, most of these stories key in on the increase in the reported number of measles cases which has most people alarmed. And that creates a challenging environment.

For what it’s worth, I haven’t found a single direct precedent for a government agency using a public nuisance theory on which to base an investigation seeking medical records for a possible public nuisance violation. I have seen a legal professor advocate using public nuisance as a basis to directly challenge families with PBEs/religious exemptions, but that hasn’t turned into a case, so far as I can tell. Maybe the City Attorney thinks going after a physician is an easier target.

One thing I’m fairly confident about: If they get away with it here, expect this to play at a theater near you soon, since every state, save West Virginia and Mississippi has physicians writing medical exemptions.

I have it on good authority that Dr. Stoller’s lawyer is carefully reviewing the subpoena and applicable law. Since the vaccine exemptees are the unnamed vectors of the alleged public nuisance, at some point, some of them might have something to say about the subpoena, especially those who don’t live in San Francisco.

The other issue of concern is that there does not appear to be any evidence that Dr. Stoller or any of the other exemption writing doctors have engaged in fraudulent exemption writing. It all seems to stem from Senator Pan’s unsupported allegations to sell SB 276. They can’t be getting exemption information from the schools because the records are federally privacy protected under FERPA. It’s unlikely that any of Dr. Stoller’s patients have turned over medical records, so a fair question, which hopefully will be asked, is what is the specific factual basis of the investigation?

Finally, to families who received medical exemptions from Dr. Stoller, I have it on good authority that no action will be taken without first informing you of a decision to comply with the subpoena, if that’s what happens. Despite the fact that the subpoena seeks the redaction of personal identifying information, there are still California constitutional privacy issues affecting the patients, which will be discussed at a different time and place. It is possible that some of these families may come forward publicly in some protected forum.

And lastly, my good authority referenced above is me. I am Ken Stoller’s attorney.

Here is the LA Times about the case.

Wish me luck (and prayers humbly accepted also).

Rick Jaffe, Esq.

What Happens if Cali. SB 276 Becomes Law?

What Happens if Cali. SB 276 Becomes Law?

Let’s face it, there are strong rumblings that the Dems are lined-up behind SB 276 in the Senate Appropriations Committee and in both houses in general.

That’s bad news for the vaccine concerned whose kids either have or will seek a medical exemption from all childhood vaccines. Basically, under CDC/AAP/AAFP guidelines, there is no such thing as an exemption from all childhood vaccines throughout the duration of childhood, at least not for otherwise healthy kids. And you can forget about the whole fragile child or vaccine fragile child thing. It doesn’t exist in CDC land.

What exists are CDC recognized contraindications (and you can list those on one hand, with a couple fingers left over). The amended bill adds CDC recognized vaccine precautions, some of which may come from vaccine package inserts. Here is the CDC’s list of contraindications and precautions. But vaccine precautions will not get the vaccine concerned an all-vaccination exemption throughout childhood.

Under the bill’s timetable, Current exemptees will get through the first part of the 2020-2021 school year, but I predict many will have their exemptions rescinded in the first few months of 2021. There may be eight or nine thousand exemptions which will be filed (or more). My guess is that the district health officials, rather than state officials will do the revocations, so the revocation workload will be spread around the state. Supposedly, there will be an internal review/appeal process, presumably by state health officials.

Sounds pretty bleak and it is, but let’s just play this out, get into the weeds of how this is likely to work, and explore possible legal remedies, few and relatively weak though they may be.

But before that, let me answer some questions I’ve received from comments to my posts and via email. (Sorry but I can’t answer most of the emails I get regarding the law and possible legal strategies. I deal with these inquires via my posts.)

1. Can you judicially stop the legislative process from passing SB 276?

That’s a Hard No. Passing laws is the legislators’ job. You can’t use the courts to stop them from doing their jobs just because you (and a small, albeit vocal group of your like-minded friends) don’t agree with a bill, even if you think it’s unconstitutional, un-American, vioates the Nuremberg Code, the Helsinki Doctrine, the Belmont Report, or the Code of Hammurabi.

2. What about the fact that the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee said he didn’t do a financial impact analysis of the bill, but is still voting for it. Can he be impeached?

Another Hard No. Courts don’t interfere with the legislative process and legislators have absolute immunity. Besides, the legislators seem to believe they are dealing with a potential health crises, so cost issues are secondary, or more likely irrelevant from their point of view, as erroneous and benighted as you think that point of view is.

3. Isn’t there a constitutionally protected right to a medical exemption?

One highly regarded vaccine attorney/professor advocate tells me that the 1905 Jacobson case, which started the whole mandatory vaccination jurisprudence, created a constitutional right to a medical exemption. She’s probably right, but I don’t see anything in that decision or other such constitutional decisions about who can make that decision, in part because the exemption issue wasn’t really the heart of the case (called the holding in legal terminology).

4. OK Mr. Lawyer, then is it legal for a state or district public health official who is not a licensed medical doctor to deny or rescind a medical exemption which after all is a very important medical decision?

Excellent question, grasshopper! But it’s complicated.

Surprisingly, the Medical Board of California has officially taken no position on the bill. The California Medical Association supports the bill. So, I’m going with neither have a problem with non-physicians making these important medical decisions. And obviously, the Dems in the legislature think SB 276 is legal, and presumably have been so advised by legislative counsel.

5. But it is constitutional or illegal?

Sorry, but I can’t give a yes or no answer to this. There does not appear to be direct legal precedent. Of course, two states already have that kind of exemption decision-making in place, West Virginia and Mississippi. However, I’m not aware that the issue has been litigated in those two states. So, we’re probably talking about a precedent setting case.

And based on what happened after SB 277’s passage, I suspect that there will be multiple lawsuits challenging SB 276 on a variety of bases. I repeatedly complained about the SB 277 lawsuits and said they would all fail.
(See my prior posts at

I won’t be making the same prediction on SB 276 lawsuits, at least not with the current version. For reasons which I won’t discuss at this time, I think the amended bill goes too far in terms of medical decision-making by non-physicians, and it’s possible that the California courts might agree. After all, as I pointed out in an earlier post, “Hey Numbnuts: there’s a reason they’re called medical exemptions.” See:

Ok so there might be some legal challenges to the law, but:

What about challenges to individual denials of exemptions or revocations of existing exemptions? Can aggrieved parents sue?

I’m predicting that lawsuits will be filed against the state and local officials and governmental agencies who deny or rescind exemptions. However, there are some legal and procedural hurdles.

California law allows a legal challenge to a final administrative order of a governmental agency, by way of what is commonly referred to as an administrative mandate action. It happens all the time when medical doctors or other licensed professionals appeal to the Superior Court after a licensing board takes disciplinary action. But of course, this is a new law, so there is obviously no legal precedent for this kind of case. So for now, I am sticking with the general rule that people have a right to appeal a final administrative order (until I find something out to the contrary). Arguably, federal due process jurisprudence would require such a right to appeal, but that might need to be litigated as well, since as, stated, it’s a new law.

There are some practical and financial challenges to these future actions, but nothing insurmountable

Civil lawsuits cost money, even administrative mandate actions, starting with the filing fee, which is usually $450. Then there’s service of process fees, and some other court costs.

Class actions are a possibility, but they have their own logistical headaches. The courts don’t love class actions, and they seem to want the common issues to predominate over each case’s individual issues. A better solution might be a bunch of parents in the same district filing suit suing one district and maybe the state, for the internal review. That way, the filing fee could be spread around. The proof might differ, since each case would be different, but each case would also have some common elements. Or suits could be filed per a specific reason for an exemption, thereby increasing the common elements. Point being, there’s some flexible approaches to lighten the court cost load.

Of course, there are legal fees, but here again they get spread around amonst the plaintiffs (probably technically called petitioners.) Also, I have the general sense that money could be found. These kinds of actions might draw much attention, nationally even. It could be the first time that vaccine exemption cases get litigated, or at least partially judicially reviewed. (I’ll explain what I mean by that in another post.) My sense of the national vaccine concerned community is that the money won’t be a big problem. But then I’ve always been a “build it and they will come” kind of guy. And let’s just say I’ve built things before, so I’m reasonably confident.

Another issue is that normally administrative mandate proceedings are done on a cold record, and on papers, without an evidentiary hearing, just an oral argument for the lawyers, no trial. Based on some of the stories I’ve heard from parents, it would be a very good thing to get the parents before a judge. I think that may be possible even in cases like these. I’ve got some ideas, but there’s no need to get into it now since we’re just seeing how this thing might play out. But for sure, the goal would be get the parents (and maybe a doctor or two) before the judge.

In short, educate the California judiciary, one judge at a time, or a whole lot of them at a time. Some of these cases could find their way into the courts of appeals, and eventually the California Supreme Court might weigh-in.

There could be many, dozens or even hundreds of these cases. Who knows, all with an eye to educating the California judiciary, one judge at a time.

Think of it as a Plan B.

Rick Jaffe, Esq.

SB 276 gets Amended, but still knocks-out current medical exemptions, and fragile children won’t qualify for future exemption

SB 276 gets Amended, but still knocks-out current medical exemptions, and fragile children won’t qualify for future exemption

On April 30, 2019, SB 276 was slightly amended.

Here is the link to the amended bill.

Here is the short of it:

1. Precautions are added to contraindications: The amended bill adds the following language after contraindications: “or that a specific precaution regarding a particular immunization exists. . . . “

What practical effect will that have on those with current medical exemptions or parent of medical fragile children?

I’d say none. Neither the CDC, AAP, AAFP or vaccine package inserts (from which precautions are taken) recognize the concept of medical fragility. And more importantly, it’s just a vaccine-by-vaccine determination. Basically, the conventional standard of care doesn’t recognize the concept of an exemption from all vaccines for all of childhood for healthy children. That’s something that only exists in the world of the vaccine concerned and the physicians who subscribe that this minority medical view.

2. Delay of filing of current medical exemptions:

The time for current exemptions to be filed has moved from July 1, 2020, to either December 31, 2020, (based on the change to the text of the statute) or December 31, 2021 (based on the legislative counsel’s digest) 1. So basically, if you currently have a vaccine exemption, it will be good for the first part of the 2020-2021 school year (or 2021-2022 school year based on the legislative counsel’s digest), and for many, much or all of it, because it may take some time for the public health authorities to reject them. (They’ll catch the inconsistency at some point and correct it.)

3. Parent filed medical exemption requests?

Here is the new language in the bill:

“The bill would require the department, in consultation with local educational agencies and local public health officers, to develop a process for a parent or guardian to request a medical exemption and the department to approve or deny the request and communicate its decision to the school district and the parent or guardian, as specified.”

Looks to me like the bill gives parents the ability to cut-out the physician from the exemption applying process.
I’m fine with that, but the only real practical benefit to the families is that they won’t have to pay a physician to have their exemption request denied.

4. Administrative review process:

The revised bill contains the following additions:

“(3) The denial of a request for a medical exemption may be appealed to the State Public Health Officer.
(4) For purposes of filing an appeal, the physician and surgeon may submit additional information to the department within 30 days from the notification for further review by the State Public Health Officer or designee.”

So there will be some sort of review process. I take from this addition that the plan is to have local public health officials make the initial determination (read rejection of the exemption request) and then someone from the state health department will handle the appeal (read rubber-stamp the exemption rejection, but even rubber-stamping is expensive, when done by governments).

And my friends, that’s the most interesting part of the bill. I’ll explain why very soon. You’ll want to pay attention.

Rick Jaffe, Esq.

My Letter to the Cali Senate Appropriations Committee Members

My Letter to the Cali Senate Appropriations Committee Members

I heard Senator Pan testify last week for the Health Committee. I think he was wrong in telling the Committee that the Medical Board is having difficuty pursuing physicians who are writing “fake” medical exemptions. so I decided to tell the Appropriation Committee members why.

Here’s my letter:


Rick Jaffe, Esq.

Can I sue Senator Richard Pan for doing his job as a California Legislator? THAT WOULD BE A HARD NO!

Can I sue Senator Richard Pan for doing his job as a California Legislator? THAT WOULD BE A HARD NO!

I’ve been asked this question a couple times recently as the frustration of the Vaccine Concerned grow as SB 276 winds its way through the California Legislature, so a public answer might be in order.

The job of legislators is to propose and pass legislation. It doesn’t matter if a small minority or even a large majority of citizens don’t like a particular bill or law, or think its unfair, horrible or even murderous. The process is the process, regardless of how corrupt you might think it is. The remedy is to stop a bill you don’t like and/or vote the people proposing the bills you don’t like out of office.

Legislators have absolute immunity from suit with respect to their legislative activities, which is in essence proposing bills and passing them so they become law.

You can’t sue Richard Pan for proposing SB 276. It’s just a bill and it won’t become law unless a majority of both houses of the California legislature passes it. So, you would have to sue every legislator who voted for the bill, and there is no such thing in law, based on the aforementioned absolute immunity.

So, sorry, there’s no possible judicial action against Dr. Pan or any other legislator for doing his/her job, regardless of how much you don’t like what he or they are doing.

Also, and this has been asked, neither he nor any other legislator can be sued if a parent vaccinates a child and the child suffers a serious adverse event even if the parents were forced to vaccinate if SB 276 becomes law. And for same reason; absolute immunity.

Respectfully, move on and focus on stopping the bill.

Rick Jaffe, Esq.