In a decision published on October 29, 2021, Max Muller, a managing partner of Muller Brazil, won a landmark decision, establishing that his client’s Guillain-Barre Syndrome (“GBS”) was caused by a 2015 Prevnar vaccination, a type of pneumonia vaccine.
Guillain-Barre Syndrome Caused by a Pneumonia Vaccine
This was the first successful Prevnar – GBS trial in the history of the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (“VICP”) and could pave the way for Prevnar – GBS cases to be compensated in the future.
In May of 2015, the Petitioner in this case received a Prevnar vaccination. Within about two weeks of the vaccine, the Petitioner developed symptoms of GBS and Bell's Palsy. He was ultimately diagnosed with GBS and treated with plasma exchange therapy and inpatient rehabilitation. This was a devastating injury that left the client with ongoing residual symptoms of numbness and weakness in his feet and face, diminished reflexes, and dizziness as a result of the GBS.
The case went to trial in February of 2020. The government argued that Petitioner was unable to prove that a pneumonia vaccine could cause GBS. Although it has been established that flu shots can cause GBS, the pneumonia vaccine has different components that are not thought to cause the same reaction.
Mr. Muller retained a world-renowned neurologist from Stanford University Hospital to establish his theory on causation. They were able to show that the Prevnar vaccine contains a compound called phosphoglycerol, which targets the phospholipids in the myelin sheath of the nervous system. The reaction occurs through a process called molecular mimicry. Using this medical theory, Mr. Muller was able to prove that the Prevnar vaccine could cause GBS.
It is difficult to overstate the importance of this victory. The decision is critically important to the future of the vaccine program - it is the first time a written decision has been issued stating plainly that a pneumonia vaccine can cause GBS. This could pave the way for many more winning Prevnar-GBS cases.
Paul Brazil is a native of Dunmore, Pennsylvania and a graduate of Dunmore High School. For his undergraduate education, he attended Bloomsburg University where he majored in political science. He then went on to earn his JD from Widener University School of Law. Following graduation from law school, Mr. Brazil worked at a large Philadelphia civil defense firm where he litigated workers’ compensation claims and Heart and Lung Act cases. In 2012, he joined with his coworker Max Muller to form Muller Brazil.