Other Torts

Gardasil Caused Life-Changing Injuries Says Michigan Woman

Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman has filed a lawsuit against  Merck & Co., Inc. and subsidiary Merck Sharp & Dohme on behalf of a young Michigan woman who developed postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), chronic regional pain syndrome (CRPS), and several other serious health issues after receiving Gardasil; a  human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine .

Gardasil attorneys have filed the complaint (Case No. 2:21-cv-12324-JEL-DRG) in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. The 22 year old plaintiff named Ashley Dalton alleges that the New Jersey-based Merck & Co., Inc. and subsidiary Merck Sharp & Dohme knowingly created a product that had significant risk of harming children, teenagers, and patients who were injected with the allegedly “defective and unreasonably dangerous” Gardasil vaccine. The suit is seeking punitive damages as a result. 

Attorney Nicole Maldonado said that “Ashley was happy and healthy before she received the Gardasil vaccine. She went from an active lifestyle as a cheerleader to endless doctor visits to treat a growing list of serious and debilitating health problems. Her life will never be the same. Merck should have warned people that these health risks were possible; instead, they chose to conceal them in the name of profit. We will hold them accountable for the unspeakable harms they have caused Ashley and countless others.”

When Ashley Dalton was just 13 years old, she received three doses of Gardasil. She received the doses between July 20, 2012, and January 23, 2013. Before receiving the HPV vaccine, Ashley was a model student and physically active. She was a competitive cheerleader for several years. A few days after her third injection of Gardasil , Ashley started to have headaches, a loss of appetite, restlessness, tingling and numbness, extreme fatigue, and irritability. By February 2013, her academic performance went from great to poor, and the symptoms she was suffering with only continued to get worse. She returned to her doctor’s office about a month later with a new symptom of abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, and discovered there was no sign of an infection.

Gardasil injections are marketed through television by Merck, promoting Gardasil as safe, and a cancer preventative. Questionable marketing shames parents who choose not to vaccinate their daughters by alluding vaccination as the right choice to do for their child.  

Unfortunately for Ashley her condition rapidly deteriorated over several months. She was treated for painful cysts, chronic migraines, dizziness,  insomnia, daytime hypersomnolence, brain fog, heart palpitations, episodes of shaking, nausea, hypnagogic hallucinations, ovarian cysts, chronic pain and fatigue, seizure-like episodes, and panic attacks.

Due to her unbearable symptoms Ashley stopped cheerleading in 2013 and her schooling suffered as her grade dropped. 

After her third Gardasil injection,  Ashley was diagnosed by doctors with the following: 

  • Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS)
  • Orthostatic Intolerance (OI)
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Autonomic Dysfunction
  • Migraines
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

 “I had no idea that Gardasil was capable of changing my life like this,” Ashley says. “Even on my best days, I’m still dealing with symptoms that keep me from living the life I want, and that’s not fair.”

 “Every decision I’ve made as a mother has been to give my daughter the best life I can possibly give her,” says Ashley’s mother, Michele. “Seeing what’s happened to Ashley all these years after the Gardasil shot, knowing what I know now, there’s no way I’d allow it.”

 Lawsuits against Merck include the following causes of action:

 1) Negligence

2) Breach of Implied Warranty (Failure to Warn)

3) Breach of Implied Warranty (Manufacturing Defect)

4) Breach of Express Warranty

5) Common Law Fraud

 Merck has a sordid history of bringing dangerous products to market, including Fosamax (a purported bone density drug that caused bone fractures) and Nuvaring (a birth control device associated with life-threatening blood clots and death).

Perhaps the most infamous drug in Merk’s library is Vioxx, a pain medication pulled from the market by Merck after discovering severe cardiovascular risks. Some tens of thousands of patients have filed lawsuits against Merck alleging that they had suffered heart attacks and other cardiovascular injuries after ingesting Vioxx.

The litigation exposed the truth that Merck knew very early about the link between Vioxx and fatal cardiovascular events. The company intentionally concealed risks from the public and the medical community. Lawsuits accuse Merck of running a scheme to downplay the severity of the risks. They misrepresented the results of its clinical trials, and didn’t participate in clinical trials that would have revealed the risks. Perhaps most disturbing was the blacklisting of medical professionals who had the moral integrity to publicly criticize the safety of Vioxx.

Merck had to pay almost $5 billion to settle tens of thousands in Vioxx personal injury actions, and an additional $1 billion to settle a securities class action. Merck was also forced to pay $950 million in both civil and criminal fines to the Department of Justice and other governmental entities as a result of various criminal activities the company had engaged in with respect to Vioxx.

The attorneys in the Gardasil litigation allege Merck to have engaged in similar corporate malfeasance as it did with vioxx with its HPV vaccine.

 Merck’s marketing claims that Gardasil provides a lifetime immunity to cervical and other HPV-associated cancers. Plaintiffs in the Gardasil litigation,  contrary to this claim, say this to be wholly unproven.  The allegations claim Gardasil may actually be more likely to cause cancer  than  prevent it in those previously exposed to HPV. 

 The lawsuits alleged that Merck not only knew, but also concealed facts about Gardasil causing serious adverse reactions and side effects purposefully. The clandestine side effects alleged include autoimmune diseases, and death in some of the recipients.  Gardasil contains numerous hazardous ingredients, including at least one ingredient that Merck failed to disclose to regulators and the public. Studies have shown that one of Gardasil’s ingredients, Amorphous Aluminum Hydroxyphosphate Sulfate (AAHS) binds to non-vaccine proteins, triggering autoimmune disorders and other serious conditions according to the complaints.

As 2019 came to a close, Gardasil had more adverse events  reported in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) than any other vaccine.  VAERS had received more than 64,000 HPV vaccine adverse event reports by that time. The Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) has paid out millions of dollars in damages for injuries and deaths. “As a result of Merck’s fraud, Gardasil  is wreaking havoc on a substantial swath of an entire generation of children and young adults on a worldwide scale,” alleged in the Gardasil lawsuits.

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