A lawsuit filed on Tuesday seeks to strike down the immunity to liability provisions of the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP) Act and the “nonsense compensation program” known as the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program (CICP) because they violate the constitutional rights of those injured or killed by COVID-19 vaccines.
Filed in Louisiana federal court by ICAN, the lawsuit alleges the CICP violates the 5th and 7th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution by failing to provide “basic due process protections, transparency, and judicial oversight.”
The PREP Act—created in 2005 and expanded to include COVID-19 vaccines—provides almost complete immunity to pharmaceutical companies that manufacture COVID-19 vaccines for the injuries and deaths caused by their products, as well as immunity to those who administer the vaccines.
“This law basically provides a license to cause death with impunity,” ICAN said in a press release.
Instead of being able to file lawsuits for injuries against pharmaceutical manufacturers directly for the harm caused by their products, Congress created the CICP. According to ICAN, the CICP is a “wholly insufficient, unjust, underfunded, and consequently unconstitutional compensation scheme where 94% of its budget goes toward administration (i.e., federal employees) instead of compensating those injured, and which has compensated only four individuals to date out of over 12,000 requests for benefits.”
Those who win under the CICP can only receive limited compensation for lost employment income, unreimbursed medical expenses, and survivor death benefits. There are no provisions for other damages or legal fees—which could potentially amount to more than one would obtain through compensation.
Since its creation more than a decade ago, the program has decided less than 500 cases—denying more than 90% of requests, according to government data. When it was expanded on Jan. 31, 2020, to cover COVID-19-related treatments, it received a flood of new claims.
Government data show that out of the 12,000 COVID-related claims, only 32 have been deemed eligible for compensation, and 1,129 (97%) have been denied. Only four people to date have actually been paid—receiving an average of $2,148 each.
To receive compensation, petitioners must prove through “compelling, reliable, valid, medical and scientific evidence” that their injury was the “direct result” of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the CICP. The CICP does not hold hearings. Instead, cases are decided by unidentified officials—who could have conflicts of interest—based on a submitted record.
According to the complaint, four plaintiffs were told there was “no timeline” for adjudicating their cases. One individual had his claim denied. Three others said they were unaware of the CICP’s existence and missed the strict one-year deadline to file a case.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of eight individuals severely injured by their COVID-19 vaccines and REACT19 against the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services, and individuals in charge of administering the CICP so that Americans could seek compensation for their vaccine injuries.
Plaintiffs are seeking due process protections so that they have appropriate time limits to sue, the right to see evidence, ability to present expert witnesses, the right to discovery, and the right to appeal an adverse decision—things afforded to any other person if they were to file a lawsuit for injuries in a court of law and are “basic hallmarks” of the American judicial system.
The outcome rendered in this case wouldn’t only affect the plaintiffs bringing the case, but potentially thousands of others who have been left without compensation for their injuries.