Elizabeth Birt Center for Autism Law and Advocacy Training
EBCALA Training offers 8.0 Continuing Legal Education hours.
Approved by the Illinois and Pennsylvania Bars.
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EBCALA Keynote: Drs. Andrew Wakefield and Arthur Krigsman
|Thursday, May 27, 2010:
||Introduction – Robert Krakow, Esq.
||Alan Phillips, Esq.
Vaccine Law in Emergency Contexts
||John Gilmore and Louis Conte
Advocacy in the States – Bills, candidates, issues, exemptions and autism insurance coverage
||Jennifer Keefe, Esq., and Lisa Colin, Esq.
Autism and Parental Rights Case Review
||Insurance – Jodi Bouer, Esq.
The 10 most important things you need to know
||C. Rick Ellis, Ed.D. and Kim Mack Rosenberg, Esq.
Autism, Law Enforcement, and the Role of Expert Witnesses – focus on ASD in criminal and family law contexts
Autism in the VICP pre-Omnibus; a Petitioner’s Perspective
||Tom Powers, Esq.
Vaccine Court – After the Omnibus: Where are we?
||Collyn Peddie, Esq. and Mary Holland, Esq.
Federal Preemption and the Vaccine Act; Bruesewitz v. Wyeth
||Keynote Speakers: Andy Wakefi eld, MD, and Arthur Krigsman, MD
The Court of Public Opinion: How Do We Win?
||Scott Bloch, Esq.
“MERCURY’S RISING: Thimerosal and the Law of Contradiction in Public Policy”
Bios and presentation abstracts
Alan Phillips, Esq.
Alan specializes in vaccine rights. He advises individuals, families, attorneys, groups and organizations throughout the US on vaccine exemption and waiver rights and supports legislative initiatives aimed at expanding vaccine freedom of choice. He is published internationally on vaccine health and legal matters and appears regularly at rallies, conferences, and on radio and TV shows discussing vaccine rights issues.
Vaccine Law in Emergency Contexts
Alan will discuss how recent federal and state legislation have limited citizens’ rights in the area of vaccines. He will specifically discuss the emergency authorization of the H1N1 flu vaccine.
John is an advocate for those who have been vaccine injured and those with autism. He is a founder of the Autism Action Network, a national 501(c) (4) organization, the Long Island Autism Coalition, and the New York Vaccine Coalition, and is a steering committee member of EBCALA. John leads state-wide legislative efforts, has testified at hearings on many occasions, and is a frequent presenter at autism conferences. He is an assistant professor of politics and media studies at the Art Institute of New York City.
Louis Conte is the father of triplet boys, two with autism. He is the president of Autism Action New York and an advocate member of the EBCALA steering committee. Louis has advocated extensively in Albany for autism health insurance reform, vaccination choice and improved educational services for people with autism.
Advocacy in the States
John and Louis will discuss their efforts in New York State to affect positive legislative change on vaccine exemptions, autism insurance coverage and limiting new vaccine mandates. They will share insights into how their organizing in New York is similar and different than in other states and will welcome participation from activists in other states. They will cover how to figure out who has influence, how to pass a bill and how to kill a bill.
Jennifer Keefe, Esq.
Jennifer is a trial lawyer for a major national law firm and has been nominated by her peers 5 years in a row as one of Texas’ Rising Stars in Texas Monthly magazine. She assists clients in a wide range of business litigation, including patent infringement-related suits, financial disputes and traditional gas and oil problems. Jennifer has received several awards for her pro bono work and serves on the Board of EBCALA.
Lisa Colin, Esq.
Lisa is a partner at Martin & Colin, P.C., a White Plains, New York litigation fi rm. They successfully represent clients in both state and federal court; they have litigated groundbreaking civil rights cases on pregnancy discrimination and sexual harassment. Lisa supports individual choice for vaccination and supports the right to fair and just compensation for vaccine injury. She is a member of the EBCALA steering committee and a founder of Autism Action New York.
Autism and Parental Rights Case Review
Jennifer and Lisa will give an update of parents’ rights cases in the last years on the medical, educational and custodial issues involved in autism. They will examine the parental decisions most at issue in autism – traditional vs. alternative medical treatments, educational interventions, custody, and vaccination decisions – and discuss how to advocate most effectively for parents’ rights.
Jodi Bouer, Esq.
Jodi is the principal in her own practice that focuses on insurance coverage for individuals on the autism spectrum in New Jersey. Jodi has extensive practice experience in the insurance field and has taught Insurance Law at Seton Hall Law School. Jodi has deep knowledge of New Jersey insurance law and perspective on how insurers assess their coverage obligations. Her firm prepares appeals, negotiates settlements and pursues court orders requiring insurers to honor their coverage obligations.
Insurance and Autism – the 10 Most Important Things You Need to Know
Jodi and her seasoned insurance coding and billing paralegal will explain the most important things you need to know about how to get coverage for autism claims in New Jersey and elsewhere. Approximately 75% of Jodi’s clients are seeking coverage for treatments for ASD. She will talk about how to present claims and how to respond to insurer queries in order to improve the chance that claims will be properly processed and paid.
C. Rick Ellis, EdD
Rick Ellis is a licensed clinical and forensic psychologist. He provides individual and family psychotherapy in private practice, forensic and hospital settings. He has written widely on psychological and educational issues. He frequently testifies in court as an expert in criminal and civil cases involving individuals on the autism spectrum.
Kim Mack Rosenberg, Esq.
Kim is a litigator at Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman LLP in New York City, where her practice focuses on products liability, class actions, insurance coverage and general civil litigation. She works closely with expert witnesses. In addition to being a steering committee member of EBCALA, Kim is the Vice President and Treasurer of the National Autism Association NY Metro Chapter.
Autism, Law Enforcement and the Role of Expert Witnesses
Rick and Kim will address the critical role of experts in cases involving individuals on the autism spectrum. Rick will discuss the role of the psychological expert; Kim will talk about the lawyer’s role in preparing the expert for trial.
Sarah Bridges, PhD, LP
Sarah is a licensed psychologist, executive coach and consultant, speaker and writer on managing people. She advises senior executives and organization leaders at a broad range of Fortune 500 clients. Dr. Bridges sought and obtained compensation for her child from a vaccine injury. She is an outspoken advocate for vaccine safety.
Autism in the VICP pre-Omnibus; a Petitioner’s Perspective
Sarah will discuss her experience seeking compensation in the Vaccine
Injury Compensation Program on behalf of her son in the days before the
Omnibus Autism Proceeding.
Tom Powers, Esq.
Tom is a partner in the Portland, Oregon, law firm Williams O’Leary & Powers. He represents people seriously injured by dangerously defective pharmaceutical products and medical devices. He has worked on national mass tort litigations, including Rezulin, PPA, PPH, asbestos and pain-pumps. As a leader in the Petitioners’ Steering Committee pursing autism and other injury claims in the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, Tom coordinated efforts of the lawyers in the Omnibus Autism Proceeding on behalf of nearly 5,000 injured children.
Vaccine Court – After the Omnibus: Where Are We?
This presentation addresses both sets of test cases in the Omnibus Autism Proceeding – that the MMR and thimerosal together contributed to autism, and that thimerosal alone contributed to autism – lost before the Court of Claims’ Special Masters. At about the time of the EBCALA conference, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit will be hearing one of the appeals, Cedillo v. HHS, from the fi rst test theory that MMR and thimerosal contribute to autism. What will happen now to the claims in the Omnibus?
Collyn Peddie, Esq.
Collyn is the principal of her own firm Houston, Texas f rm, specializing in appeals and legal strategy in pharmaceutical, medical device and personal injury cases. Collyn litigated the Bruesewitz v. Wyeth case on behalf of the Williams Kherkher Hart Boundas, LLP fi rm and continues to work on the petitioners’ behalf. She is deeply familiar with legal preemption issues and testifi ed before the Senate Judiciary Committee as “a foot-solder in the ongoing battle over the federal preemption of state pharmaceutical claims” in September 2007.
Mary Holland, Esq.
Mary is the managing director of the Elizabeth Birt Center for Autism Law and Advocacy and is also a board member of the Center for Personal Rights and the Coalition for Vaccine Safety. She teaches and NYU Law School and previously practiced private international law and worked for an international human rights organization. She researches and writes on legal issues related to autism and to vaccination.
Federal Preemption and the 1986 Vaccine Act: Bruesewitz v. Wyeth
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case this October to decide whether a petitioner in the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program may leave the Program and file a claim for vaccine design defect in a state or federal court. This case, about the DPT vaccine, has relevance for all cases of vaccine design defect and special relevance for the future of thimerosal-induced autism claims. Collyn and Mary will talk about the 1986 statute, the cases leading up to Bruesewitz, and the implications of the Supreme Court’s decision.
Andrew Wakefield, M.D.
Andrew Wakefield, MB, BS, FRCS, FRCPath is an academic gastroenterologist. He graduated in Medicine from St. Mary’s Hospital (part of the University of London) in 1981, pursuing a career in gastrointestinal surgery with a particular interest in inflammatory bowel disease. He qualified as Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1985, and in 1996 was awarded a Welcome Trust Traveling Fellowship to study small-intestine transplantation in Toronto, Canada. Discoveries made during his work in Canada led him on return to the UK to pursue the study of inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. In 1998, he and his colleagues at the Royal Free Hospital in London reported a novel inflammatory bowel disease in children with developmental disorders such as autism; the condition later became known as autistic enterocolitis. Dr. Wakefield resisted pressure to stop his research on the possible links between childhood immunizations, intestinal inflammation and autism, leaving the Royal Free School of Medicine in 2001. He is involved in many scientific research collaborations in the U.S and abroad, investigations centering on the immunologic, metabolic, and pathologic changes occurring in inflammatory bowel diseases such as autistic enterocolitis, links between intestinal disease and neurologic injury in children, and the possible relationship of these conditions to environmental causes, such as childhood vaccines. During the course of his work on childhood developmental disorders, Dr. Wakefield was increasingly convinced of the need for a research oriented, integrated bio-medical and educational approach to these disorders, in order to translate clinical benefits for affected children into measurable developmental progress. Dr. Wakefield has published approximately 140 original scientific articles, book chapters, and invited scientific commentaries. He was awarded the Fellowship of the Royal College of Pathologists in 2001; he is medical advisor to the United Kingdom charity Visceral, and sits on the board of the U.S. charity Medical Interventions for Autism.
Arthur Krigsman, M.D.
Arthur Krigsman, MD is a pediatrician and board-certifi ed pediatric gastroenterologist, and an assistant professor of pediatrics at New York University School of Medicine in New York. He has extensive experience in the evaluation and treatment of gastrointestinal disease in children with autism spectrum disorder and participates in the growing fi eld of research designed to better understand GI disease in this group of children. He has presented his fi ndings in peer-reviewed journals and has shared his experience at scientifi c and lay meetings, and at a congressional hearing dealing with autism and its possible causes.
The Court of Public Opinion: How Do We Win?
Drs. Wakefield and Krigsman have taken some hard knocks in the court
of public opinion for their scientific and medical work with children on
the autism spectrum. The Lancet recently retracted Dr. Wakefield’s article
on a possible connection between the MMR vaccine, gastrointestinal
symptoms and autism. The Special Masters in the Omnibus Autism
Proceeding leveled harsh words against Dr. Krigsman. How should the
autism community fight back? How can we win?
The Honorable Scott J. Bloch
Was as a Senate Confirmed Appointee who headed a nonpartisan federal enforcement agency, the United States Office of Special Counsel, for five years, fighting for the rights of citizens, workers and service members, and today practices law as a partner in Tarone &McLaughlin LLP in Washington, DC, where he specializes in integrity in government contracting, complex litigation, service member and contractor rights, and consumer class actions. He has appeared in the national media including The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Washington Times, the New York Times, Newsweek, the Los Angeles Times, NPR, CNN, and NBC and has a new book that came out last month, The Essential Hilaire Belloc, from Saint Benedict Press, a collection of the writings and saying of a famous British writer and statesman of the Twentieth Century. As a result of his government service, he has been hounded by interest groups and government witch hunts motivated by personal and political scores, which have resulted in major legal fees to him and his family on several fronts that continues to this day. His legal defense fund welcomes contributions at https://www.scottblochtrust.org.
MERCURY’S RISING: Thimerosal and the Law of Contradiction in Public Policy
When the Office of Special Counsel Whistleblower office examinedthe complaints of 300 whistleblowers on Mercury in Vaccines in early
childhood persons, it determined not that the thimerosal mercury
caused autism, but that it was a potent neurotoxin for which there as
no medical justification, and that no scientists thought it a good thing
to require to be injected into human beings. This seeming inarguable
position resulted in a controversy that persisted for four years and caused
many in Congress and outside groups to attack the fficeas operating
against the public interest.
ELIZABETH BIRT CENTER FOR AUTISM LAW AND ADVOCACY (EBCALA)
The mission of the Elizabeth Birt Center for Autism Law and Advocacy is to address the legal and advocacy needs of the autism community. The Center seeks to provide:
- Legal education on autism issues
- Resources for legal practitioners and advocates
- A “think tank” to strategize about the legal and advocacy needs of the autism community
Autism affects children, parents and their communities with medical, legal, social and educational challenges. Serious unmet needs often begin before a formal diagnosis and extend throughout the lives of the affected individuals, families and communities.
Government leaders and agencies have failed to explore and identify autism’s causes, at-risk populations and impact.
Using legal and advocacy tools, the Center seeks to identify and address these systemic failures and to achieve greater justice for the injured and their communities.
Specifically, the Center seeks to educate lawyers, parent advocates and others in state-of-the-art legal and medical aspects of autism. Leading attorneys, scientists and advocates will review the most current and critical issues affecting the autism community at periodic conferences. The Center also seeks to make resources available to assist lawyers and advocates in their work on autism. The Center already offers a skeletal referral service and facilitates pro bono legal services for the autism community; it seeks to expand these efforts.
Since its inauguration in May 2009, the Center has organized three continuing legal education seminars for lawyers and parent advocates on autism and law; it has submitted amicus briefs in two critical cases related to vaccine injury, one to the Supreme Court in Bruesewitz v. Wyeth, one to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Cedillo v. HHS. In addition, the Center has partnered with Pace Law School to undertake a study of the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. The Center has fielded many requests from parents looking for attorneys or expert witnesses for ASD children in cases in the criminal justice, family law and educational systems. The Center was a key player in forming the Coalition for Vaccine Safety, an alliance of autism and informed consent organizations, that spoke with a single voice to the media in response to the March 2010 Omnibus Autism Proceeding decisions. Board members from the Center have also given lectures, presentations and testimony and have written articles on the legal issues of greatest importance to the autism community [File].
The Center has worked for the last year on an exclusively volunteer basis. The Center has given voice to the autism community before the most important legal tribunals in the country. Based on its record and on its commitment to continue to address the legal needs of the autism community, the Center asks for your generous financial support.
ELIZABETH (LIZ) BIRT
Elizabeth Birt (1956-2005) was one of the earlier advocates who helped shape what would become a community of parent activists committed to finding truth and securing justice for their children. Liz was an attorney, a co-founder of SafeMinds, a founding member of the National Autism Association, a co-founder of A-CHAMP, and a principal author of Mercury in Medicine, the 2003 report by the House Government Reform Committee that found mercury in vaccines was toxic. Liz was a mom. In 1996 Liz's son, Matthew, then 15-months old, was diagnosed with autism. Liz spent the rest of her life helping her son and other affected children and families. Read more about Liz's life here. The Birt Center is founded in her honor to continue her work.
Robert Krakow, Esq.
is an attorney in private practice in New York. Bob started his legal career with the New York Public Interest Research Group, a consumer advocacy organization. For nine years in the 1980s Bob was a prosecutor with the New York County (Manhattan) District Attorney's office, serving as Bureau Chief of the special narcotics prosecution division. He founded his law firm in 1989, focusing on the trial of civil and criminal cases, and specializing in the representation of individuals injured by exposure to vaccines. Bob represents families of children with autism in a variety of venues, including insurance coverage disputes, vaccine exemption issues, IDEA education disputes with school districts, and claims of educational and medical neglect.
Mary Holland, Esq.
is Director of the Graduate Legal Skills Program at New York University School of Law. Educated at Harvard and Columbia Universities, Mary has been an advocate in the public and private sectors. Prior to joining NYU, she worked for six years at major U.S. law firms, with three years based in Moscow, Russia. Before that, she directed the European Program of the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights (now Human Rights First). After graduating law school, she clerked for a federal district court judge in New York City. She researches and writes on legal issues related to autism and vaccines and consults to the Aspen Institute Justice and Society Program.
Jennifer Keefe, Esq.
is a trial lawyer for a major national law firm who has been nominated by her peers four years in a row as one of Texas' Rising Stars in Texas Monthly Magazine (2006, 2007, 2008 & 2009). She assists clients in a wide range of business litigation, including patent infringement-related suits, financial institution disputes, and traditional oil and gas problems. Ms. Keefe has received several awards for her pro bono activities which have ranged from defending asylum cases before the U.S. Immigration courts for Human Rights Initiative of North Texas to advising on the steering committee for both BRAINS for Autism at the University of Texas Southwestern and the Elizabeth Birt Center for Autism Law and Advocacy. She received her undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt University and law degree from Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law.
Jim Moody, Esq.
practices public interest law in Washington, specializing in whistleblowers, constitutional law, deregulatory reform and policy, national security, and the promotion of government policies designed to promote liberty and accountability. Born in Kansas City, he is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (artificial intelligence and management) and Georgetown Law School. He is a Director of SafeMinds and the National Autism Association, was one of the coordinators for the Combating Autism Act, supports the Petitioners' Steering Committee for cases in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, and is committed to the goals of justice for vaccine-injured children, research to find the cause, prevention, and treatment for autism, accountability, and institutional reform.
is the father of two beautiful boys, Jarad and Ian. He co-founded AutismOne in 2002 to help facilitate greater awareness and education about the potential causes of autism and the most promising treatments. Ed is a decade-long delayed graduate of Texas A&M University, taking time off to serve in the Coast Guard and study philosophy. He has taught at UCLA and Cal State University, Long Beach schools of continuing education. He is the author of a book and numerous articles on software. While pursuing a graduate degree his son was diagnosed with autism. Inspired by Dr. Rimland
and others, Ed works to advance their message of hope and recovery.