SW Legal studies in Business

Federal Procedure Set by Congress Must Be Followed Prior to State Litigation
Description Appeals court held that administrative procedures set by Congress must be followed properly by a plaintiff before litigation may proceed. If procedures are not followed within the statute of limitations, the right to litigate is lost.
Topic Court Procedure
Key Words Preemption; Federal Procedure; Statute of Limitation
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Gina Dickey was born a healthy baby. When she was a year old, she received a vaccine that caused her to suffer mental retardation. More than three years later, her mother filed a claim with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims seeking compensation under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act. The court dismissed the petition, noting that under the Act claims had to be filed within three years of the onset of the symptoms of injury. The right to compensation under the Act had been lost. She then sued the vaccine maker in state court but that suit was dismissed as the court held that federal law preempted state action; she appealed.
Decision

Affirmed. "Federal law can preempt state law under the supremacy clause in three circumstances: 1) where Congress has expressly preempted state action (express preemption); 2) where Congress has implemented a comprehensive regulatory scheme in an area, thus removing the entire field from state realm (implied field preemption); or 3) where state action actually conflicts with federal law (implied conflict preemption)." None of those conditions apply here. However, the Vaccine Act also requires that an administrative claim be filed prior to litigation. Such administrative requirements set by Congress must be followed. No such claim was filed within the statute of limitation period, so the right to sue was lost as the state level too.

Citation Dickey v. Connaught Laboratories, Inc., --- N.E.2d --- (2002 WL 1767523, App. Ct., Ill., 2002)

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