A man who was reportedly diagnosed with autism three years after receiving a measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine has evidently sued the legal team that represented him and more than 1,000 families in legal-aid funded litigation that was dropped in 2003 after research by Andrew Wakefield purportedly linking the disorder to the vaccine was discredited. According to plaintiff Matthew McCafferty’s solicitor, the group action, which cost some £15 million in legal aid, raised the hopes and expectations of the families “driven by the irresponsible media frenzy based on an unsubstantiated health scare and junk science. Not one penny in compensation was obtained for any child. The families are just now beginning to recover and take stock.” He reportedly claims that the law firm handling McCafferty’s claim missed the time limit for filing it and was unjustly enriched through legal-aid funding. McCafferty seeks damages to “include compensation, distress, expense and inconvenience of engaging in hopeless litigation.”
According to a news source, the London-based firm sued by McCafferty has issued a statement denying any wrongdoing, noting that when it began investigating the case “there was a strongly held belief that MMR caused autism in some children. A link between the vaccine and autism was strongly asserted by the families and Dr [Andrew] Wakefield and in view of the large number of cases and the seriousness of the condition, it was appropriate for investigations to be carried out. The legal aid board [was] happy to fund these investigations.” See The Guardian, June 26, 2014; The Law Society Gazette, June 27, 2014.