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Law faculty to participate in US courts' videoconference on vaccines


June 14, 2013

A groundbreaking educational program, co-sponsored by the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law and involving four law faculty members, will be held live at the law school and webcast from Washington, D.C., from noon-1 p.m. (EDT) on June 19.

“Meet the Office of Special Masters,” a program jointly presented by the U.S. Court of Federal Claims and the U.S. Court of Federal Claims Bar Association, will be available for the first time to members of the Association outside the nation’s capital. The program will be held both at the National Courts Building in Washington, D.C., and at two law schools, including the College of Law, in the Ross-Blakley Law Library, room 115, on ASU’s Tempe campus. It also can be viewed at www.uscfc.uscourts.gov/OSM-MeetTheSpecialMasters.

Professors Betsy Grey and Michael Saks, Roselle Wissler, research director of the College of Law’s Lodestar Dispute Resolution Program, and adjunct professor Daniel Orenstein, a fellow in the College’s Public Health Law and Policy Program, will participate in the videoconference along with faculty from the Chicago-Kent College of Law.

The Office of Special Masters administers the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, created under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986. The program is a no-fault compensation scheme whereby persons allegedly suffering injury or death as a result of the administration of certain childhood vaccines may petition the federal government for monetary damages.

Congress created the program to provide individuals with a swift, flexible, and less adversarial alternative to the often costly and lengthy civil arena of traditional tort litigation. All vaccine injury claims are managed and adjudicated by the congressionally-created Office of Special Masters, established within the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

The Administrative Office of the U.S. Court Office of Public Affairs also is a partner in the “Meet the Office of Special Masters.” More information is available by emailing OSM_Meetandgreet@ao.uscourts.gov.

Grey, the Alan A. Matheson Fellow, publishes and teaches on issues of tort law, products liability and mass tort litigation, as well as neuroscience and law. Her recent scholarly work has focused on the study of no-fault compensation systems in the United States, including the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. 

Saks, an ASU Regents’ Professor, focuses his research on empirical studies of the legal system, especially decision making; the behavior of the litigation system; and the law’s use of science. He is the fourth most-cited law-and-social-science scholar in the U.S., and has authored approximately 200 articles and books.

Wissler conducts empirical research on mediation, arbitration and other alternative dispute resolution (ADR) processes. Her research and writing address various policy issues relating to ADR and examine the factors that contribute to the use and effectiveness of ADR processes. Her other research interests include alternate compensation systems and decision making concerning liability and damages in civil cases.

Orenstein is the Lincoln Fellow for Ethics and Health Policy for the Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics at ASU, and Deputy Director of the Network for Public Health Law – Western Region, headquartered at the College of Law. His current research and scholarship focus on issues of public health law and ethics, including emergency legal preparedness, public health emergency ethics, obesity control and prevention, and infectious disease policy.