PLAGER, Circuit Judge.
Carl J. Perreira and Christina J. Perreira (petitioners-appellants) appeal the decision of the Court of Federal Claims,
Petitioners-Appellants filed suit on August 30, 1990 seeking compensation under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (Vaccine Act).
Although they were denied compensation petitioners-appellants sought an award for attorney fees and costs in the amount of $15,955.44.
The Special Master, in a decision dated June 12, 1992, partially granted the request for attorney fees and costs. In the decision the Special Master found that the claim was initially filed in good faith and with a reasonable basis for recovery. The special master found, however, that upon reviewing their expert's opinion prior to the hearing petitioners-appellants no longer had a reasonable basis for their claim. The expert opinion, which formed the basis of the claim, was found to be unsupported by either medical literature or studies, and therefore, of no value in establishing causation in-fact. In the absence of other evidence the special master found that the expert opinion alone did not provide a reasonable basis to support the claim. Therefore, the Special Master awarded only $6,200.43, the costs and fees up to the point of the hearing.
The Claims Court sustained the Special Master's decision because it was in accordance with the law and not arbitrary, capricious, or an abuse of discretion. 27 Fed.Cl. 29
We review the decision of the Court of Federal Claims under a highly deferential standard. "We may not disturb the judgment of the [court] unless we find that judgment to be arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law." Munn v. Secretary of Dep't Health & Human Servs., 970 F.2d 863, 870 (Fed.Cir.1992); see also Phillips v. Secretary of Dep't Health & Human Servs., 988 F.2d 111, 112 (Fed.Cir.1993).
Petitioners-Appellants offer three arguments to support their claim to attorney fees and costs. First, they argue that the Court of Federal Claims' decision requiring them to verify expert testimony before relying on it will cause counsel to violate their ethical duty to zealously represent their clients. Second, they argue that the intent of Congress is violated by requiring counsel to support expert opinions as a requisite to receiving attorney fees and costs under the Vaccine Act.
We are not persuaded by these arguments. As the Court of Federal Claims properly noted, counsel's duty to zealously represent their client does not relieve them of their duty to the court to avoid frivolous litigation.
Furthermore, the Court of Federal Claims properly found that the intent of Congress in enacting the Vaccine Act was not violated by the special master's inquiry into the basis of the expert's opinion. Since the funds which are payable under this statute are limited,
We agree with the Court of Federal Claims that, once petitioners-appellants reviewed the expert opinion upon which their case depended, they no longer had a reasonable basis for claiming causation in-fact because the expert opinion was grounded in neither medical literature nor studies.
Finally, we find petitioners-appellants' third argument to be unsupported by the record. When the special master asked the expert to support his theory that a vaccine can aggravate a preexisting condition 14 days after the vaccine, the expert acknowledged that it was not supported in the literature and that "... it hasn't been studied."
For these reasons we hold that the decision of the Court of Federal Claims was not contrary to the law or arbitrary, capricious, or an abuse of discretion.