Gardasil HPV Vaccine Side Effects Led to Rheumatoid Arthritis Diagnosis, Lawsuit Alleges

Lawsuit claims that side effects of a Gardasil vaccine caused Ohio woman to experience debilitating rheumatoid arthritis, requiring her to give up her job in horticulture

Merck faces a new product liability lawsuit brought by an Ohio woman, who indicates she developed rheumatoid arthritis from Gardasil HPV vaccine side effects, indicating that injections received when she was 22 years old have left her unable to continue her career and activities that a normal young person would enjoy.

The complaint (PDF) was filed by Jessica Brown on February 22 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, indicating that she experienced complications after receiving three doses of the HPV vaccine.

Gardasil was introduced by Merck in 2006, and has been widely used to protect against HPV infections, which can be sexually transmitted and lead to the later development of cervical cancer. The Gardasil injection has been promoted for use among both young girls and boys before sexual activity, and is now recommended by most medical providers, since they believed it carries few, if any, serious side effects.

However, this case now joins a growing number Gardasil lawsuits being pursued against the manufacturer, alleging that Merck has withheld information about permanent and life-changing autoimmune side effects linked to the HPV vaccination from users, families and the medical community for years.

Gardasil HPV Vaccine Lawsuit

Are you suffering because of the Gardasil HPV vaccine?

Side effects of the Gardasil HPV vaccine have been linked to reports of serious and debilitating autoimmune injuries. Lawyers review cases nationwide.

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According to the lawsuit, Brown was 22 years old when she received her first Gardasil HPV vaccine injection in December 2019. She received a second injection in February 2020, and a third in June 2020.

“Following the third Gardasil vaccination, Plaintiff began experiencing joint pain, weight gain, and fatigue. Every joint in her body was inflamed and painful. She could barely move, go upstairs, or get up from her seat,” the lawsuit states. “She lost her grip to open jars, brush her teeth, or pull a bed cover over her body. She lost muscle mass in her legs from lack of movement. Plaintiff’s toes began hurting, with swelling and numbness.”

Brown indicates her symptoms continued to get worse over the following months and progressed to chronic fatigue, body pain and gastrointestinal problems. She was eventually diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and had to give up her job selling and tending to nursery plants using her degree in horticulture science, as well as giving up other activities that a normal young person would enjoy.

The lawsuit presents claims of failure to warn, manufacturing defect, product liability, breach of express warranty, fraud and negligent representation.

February 2024 Gardasil Lawsuit Update

Brown’s Gardasil lawsuit will be consolidated with similar complaints brought throughout the federal court system over the HPV vaccine’s side effects, which have been centralized as part of a Gardasil MDL (multidistrict litigation) in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina.

According to a docket report (PDF) issued on February 1, there are currently at least 140 complaints involving Gardasil POTS injuries and other autoimmune side effects pending in the federal court system. There are also a substantial number of additional claims pending in the U.S. Vaccine Court, where families must initially bring a petition seeking compensation under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, before they are able to bring a civil lawsuit if the claim is not resolved within eight months.

Given common questions of fact and law presented in the Gardasil injection lawsuits, the cases were originally assigned to U.S. District Judge Robert J. Conrad for coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings, which is expected to involve a series of early bellwether trials designed to help gauge how juries are likely to respond to certain evidence and testimony that will be repeated throughout the litigation.

However, on February 2, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation issued an order reassigning the litigation (PDF) to U.S. District Judge Kenneth D. Bell, Sr., who is also assigned to the Western District of North Carolina. The order did not state the reason for the change in judges.

While the parties continue to work to prepare a group of Gardasil cases for trial, injury lawyers are continuing to investigate and file new lawsuits for individuals who experienced a variety of complications from the HPV vaccine, including:

  • Autoimmune Diseases
  • POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome)
  • Premature Ovarian Failure
  • Premature Menopause
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
  • Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP)
  • Irregular Heartbeat/Tachycardia
  • Lupus
  • Neurologic Disorder
  • Brain Fog or Chronic Inability to Concentrate
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Chronic Pain
  • Severe Headaches
  • Difficulty Sleeping
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Nerve Damage
  • Menstrual Disorders/Problems
  • Gastrointestinal Issues (food intolerances, nausea, vomiting)

Following coordinated discovery and any bellwether trials in the federal MDL, if the parties fail to reach Gardasil settlements or another resolution for the litigation, Judge Conrad may later establish a process to begin remanding each individual claim back to U.S. District Courts nationwide for individual trial dates in the future.


See If You Qualify for Gardasil Vaccine Compensation

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