Vaccine law becomes his life mission
By Jewell Cardwell
Countless parents around the country will be forever grateful to William S.
Over the years the Canton attorney has quietly made a big name for himself
as an expert on this country's law to compensate victims of vaccine
injuries.The little known law,the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of
1986,gives pharmaceutical companies the green light to produce vaccines or
immunizations against certain diseases,and also gives those hurt by vaccines
the green light to file a claim.
Covered are vaccines for measles,mumps,rubella,polio,and
DPT(diphtheria,tetanus,pertussis)."The law directs anybody hurt by these
vaccines to file a claim with the federal Court of Claims,"Georges said.He
has represented hundreds of clients both near and far in such cases.
Georges was one of the few lawyers to take on such cases.He did so long
before there was a law on the books."I spent 15 years on one case
alone,"Georges said during a recent interview at his Canton home.He has
stacks upon stacks of case studies to prove it.As a result of his work,phones
at his home and his downtown office often ring around the clock.
"If they(clients) can prove cause and effect-that their child died within 3
days of receiving the vaccine-the government will give them $250,000,"
"If a child survives with disabilities,the government will give them funds to
take care of that child for a lifetime."
Last month he won a unprecedented $19 million judgement.That
victory-unappealable,at that-is expected to be Georges' legal swan song.
Quite a song it is considering he's been in the legal business for 65
years,and he's 90.The time has finally come for him to slow his tempo."Oh,
I'll still offer my opinion to other lawyers," Georges assured me."I just
won't be going to court anymore.
Over the years Georges has won substantial settlements for clients all over
the country."Five years ago I got $8 million for a woman in Youngstown whose
son got a bad result from a vaccine," he said.Last month's judgement was the
largest ever awarded under the law.
'In the Brandon Pavelka case(in Robbinsville,N.C.) the government had the
specialist create a care plan which totaled $19 million over the lifetime of
this child,"Georges said."Our plan called for $9 million."
Pam Pavelka said her son was 5 months old when he had his third DPT
vaccination."Right after that he started having seizures,"she said. "His
permanent diagnosis at this time is unretractable seizures with severe
psycho-motor retardation."In layman's terms (14year old) Brandon is total
care.He wears diapers,has to sleep in a bed with rails so he doesn't fall out
and he doesn't interact with his surroundings."
Asked how she heard about Georges,Mrs.Pavelka said:"It was just pretty much
luck.I was living in Dayton at the time and trying to put Brandon in
preschool while I went to nursing school.....One of the ladies who was coming
to babysit believed my son may have had a reaction to the DPT shot like her
Mrs.Pavelka discovered the newsletter Dissatisfied Parents Together,which
talked about the vaccine law aand Georges.Mrs.Pavelka called Georges on Jan.
15, 1991-16 days before the deadline to file for children who had been
injured before 1988."I don't think he had the heart to tell me no."
"We're very grateful to Mr.Georges and his wife,who were so wonderful to us."
It took seven years to get her case into court and another two to get it
settled.Georges "didn't just fight for Brandon,but for all children injured
by this vaccine,"she said.
If you are trying to figure out his pay on the $19 million settlement,it was
what it always is:$30,000, win or lose.
"He took these cases because he cares about the children,not about the
money,"Mrs.Pavelka wanted me to know.