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AFLDS Legal

National Case Summaries

Fearless Group of Nurses and Medical Workers File Lawsuit Against Texas Hospital Over Mandatory Covid-19 Injection Policy

Jennifer Bridges, et al. v. Houston Methodist Hospital, et al., 4:21-cv-01774

Feb. 25, 2022

U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas

Update: As of February 25, 2022, this case has been appealed to the Fifth Circuit and is still being briefed.

 

Summary:

On June 1, 2021, the Complaint for this case was filed. The plaintiffs, Jennifer Bridges and 116 other coworkers, allege the mandatory policy of the defendant, Houston Methodist Hospital (“Methodist”) is unlawful. The policy requires all employees to receive non-FDA approved, experimental mRNA COVID19 injections as a condition of employment.

The Complaint states Methodist’s policy violates the federal statute governing emergency use of medical products, the federal regulation governing informed consent by participants in medical research studies, and the Nuremberg Code.

On June 12, 2021, Judge Lynn N. Hughes (the “Judge”) abruptly ruled against the Complaint. In a terse six-page Dismissal Order, the Judge recognized the injections are “experimental and dangerous,” yet regarded the plaintiffs’ claims as “false and irrelevant.”

The Judge then declared “inapplicable,” the plaintiffs’ claim that Methodist’s policy violates the federal stature governing emergency use of medical products, but he does not say why that statute is inapplicable.

The Judge also appeared to rely heavily on the now-discredited “protection of the public” rationale, despite the fact that, as we now know, the injections neither prevent transmission to others nor confer immunity.

In his conclusion, the Judge minimizes Nurse Bridge’s claims, stating there was “no coercion,” but cites no source for his conclusion. He condescendingly states Nurse Bridges “can freely choose to accept or refuse a Covid-19 vaccine; however, if she refuses, she will simply need to work somewhere else.” The Judge concludes, “…every employment includes limits on the workers’ behavior in exchange for his remuneration. That is all part of the bargain.”

In other words, Nurse Bridges is faced with a classic Faustian bargain. Despite her previous willingness to treat seriously ill and dying patients before the policy, her job now hinges solely on her willingness to take a permanent, irreversible -- perhaps injurious and deadly -- injection.

Methodist proudly boasted its trailblazing effort to become the first major healthcare system in the nation to require injections for all its employees. In a three-page April 2021 “President’s Letter,” Methodist pressures employees to take the injections for the “safety of the patients,” to be “examples for those who are hesitant to get vaccinated” and to “show the world that we trust the safety and efficacy of the vaccine.” The plaintiffs obviously disagree, and present strong arguments to the contrary that the injections are indeed not safe.

Although the Judge indicated the plaintiffs could request a medical or religious exemption, the hospital was also the first in the nation to mandate the flu vaccine in 2009 for all employees. It’s unknown if any of the plaintiffs previously took the flu vaccines or received an exemption.

No evidentiary hearing was ever held

The plaintiffs' Appellant's Reply Brief deadline is now set for March 4, 2022

Stay Dissolved in Case Against the Biden Administration and OSHA Rule Implementing a Vaccine or Testing Mandate for Businesses with Over 100 Employees

In re: MCP No. 165, Occupational Safety & Health Admin. Rule on COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing, 86 Fed. Reg. 61402

Dec. 17, 2021

Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals

On December 17, 2021, a three-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, in a split 2-1 decision, dissolved the nationwide stay on the OSHA rule which had been in place since November 2021. OSHA had published its Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) on November 5, 2021, requiring businesses with greater than 100 employees to require their employees to be vaccinated or regularly tested.

This is a loss for those employees opposing vaccination mandates, yet it is likely that this is headed to the Supreme Court for a final decision.

After the November 5, 2021, OSHA ETS, the stay, on November 6, 2021, had been issued by a 3-0 vote of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. That was followed by petitions in several circuits, leading to a lottery to select a circuit to decide the multidistrict litigation. The Sixth Circuit was chosen by that lottery to decide whether the OSHA ETS is a lawful exercise of the administrative agency’s power.

The December 17th ruling by the Court panel ruled it is, though the panel did not address the ETS’s vaccination deadlines of December 6, 2021 and January 4, 2022. As it stands now, OSHA will not enforce compliance with the vaccination requirement until January 10, 2022 and with the testing requirement until February 9, 2022.

The Sixth Circuit panel noted that OSHA has wide discretion in how it ensures worker safety in workplaces and referred to the danger of unvaccinated workers in the workplace, and noted that a virus that causes bodily harm is within the ambit of OSHA’s role.

The panel was not persuaded by the Fifth Circuit’s argument that the OSHA ETS was an impermissibly large expansion of OSHA’s power. Nor was it persuaded by the Fifth Circuit’s argument that the timing of the ETS, long after the beginning of the pandemic, meant that OSHA was not responding to an emergency. OSHA countered that argument with an assertion that it was the rise in Delta and the approval of vaccines that played into its issuance of the ETS. Further, the Court was not persuaded by the argument that potential exposure to COVID-19 must be shown, in order to qualify for the “grave danger” requirement of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act), finding that COVID-19 was a grave danger, generally to workplaces.

The panel also found that there was no irreparable harm to the employees because of the masking and testing alternative available to them, considering the harms to be “entirely speculative.” It is the danger to the public of the virus that empowers OSHA, according to the Sixth Circuit panel.

The findings of the Sixth Circuit panel run in stark opposition to the Fifth Circuit’s findings in BST Holdings, L.L.C., et al. v Occupational Safety and Health Admin, Department of Labor, et al.

These majority and dissenting opinions will undoubtedly be compared and thoroughly analyzed in detail over the next coming weeks. The Attorney General of Texas has already announced that he will be taking the case to the Supreme Court.

It seems highly likely that this case may be one of the very first to be accepted and heard by SCOTUS on the non-emergency docket, especially if the Sixth Circuit en banc hearing is denied, as it's a case of great national importance and there is a split in the Circuits.    

Case Filed on Behalf of Federal Employees Against the Biden Administration and the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force Alleging Violations of the Federal Code of Regulations and Unconstitutionality of the Executive Order No. 14043

Health Freedom Defense Fund, et al. v. Joseph R. Biden, Jr., et al., 21-cv-02679

Nov. 12, 2021

Middle District of Florida

On November 12, 2021, several Department of Defense employees filed suit against Biden’s September 9, 2021 Executive Order No. 14043. The Plaintiffs include distinguished employees, such as a purple-heart service member and a Department of Justice Intelligence Research Specialist, along with Air Force personnel and an Air Traffic employee.

The Plaintiffs assert that they have a right to personal bodily integrity, a right which the government cannot intrude upon by mandate. The Complaint alleges, “At issue is American virtue. It comes to the court through the lens of the right to self-determination and bodily autonomy encompassed within the right to privacy.”

The suit was filed asserting violations of the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment Substantive Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause. The suit argues that the case should be evaluated in terms of strict scrutiny: that the “medical treatments are a substantial burden” and that the Defendants cannot meet their burden to show that “the Mandate is narrowly tailored to meet a compelling interest.” Plaintiffs additionally raise claims that their rights are being violated under parts 293.105 and 293.504 of Title 5 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

The case was brought by Health Freedom Defense Fund, along with Federal Employees for Freedom, on behalf of over 6000 federal employees. Plaintiffs seek declaratory and injunctive relief. Click here to access the Complaint

Case Against the Biden Administration, DOD, and Department of the Navy Alleging Discriminatory Treatment and Retaliation for Legally Exercising Rights Under Free Exercise Clause

U.S. Navy Seals 1-26, et al. v. Joseph R. Biden, Jr., et al., 21-cv-01236-P

Nov. 09, 2021

U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas

 

On November 9, 2021, Navy Seals and other Navy personnel filed a federal suit against the Biden Administration, the DOD, and the Secretary of Navy (the ”Defendants“) asserting the Defendants refused to grant religious exemptions to the COVID-19 vaccine mandate in violation of federal law and statues.

The suit was filed under the U.S. Constitution, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), the Department of Defense regulations, and the Department of Navy regulations.  The suit asserts the denial of Plaintiffs' fundamental right to their free exercise of religion, and it also seeks protection from improper agency action.

 Plaintiffs attack the Defendants’ administration of the Navy Vaccine Mandate for refusal to grant religious and medical exemptions, and for retaliatory actions because of exemption requests. The DOD and Navy regulations recognize religious and medical accommodations for immunizations under RFRA and the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment, however, Defendants’ actions are not recognizing this, the suit asserts. Plaintiffs additionally raise claims that their rights are being violated under the APA, and that the actions of the military agencies are not the least restrictive means of accomplishing their purported interests. 

 Plaintiffs seek declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as actual and nominal damages.






 

Case Against the Administration and OSHA Rule Implementing Biden’s Vaccine Mandate for Businesses With Over 100 Employees

BST Holdings, L.L.C., et al. v. Occupational Safety and Health Admin., Department of Labor, et al., Case: 21-60845

Nov. 05, 2021

Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals

On November 5, 2021, Petitioners, including numerous corporations and the states of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Utah filed an Emergency Motion to Stay Enforcement of the OSHA vaccine mandate Pending Review & to Expedite Review, pursuant to FRAP 18(a)(2)(A)(i). 

FRAP 18(a)(2)(A)(i) allows for the filing of emergency motions to stay agency actions directly in the federal courts of appeal, instead of first filing with the agency, if it can be shown that "moving first before the agency would be impracticable."  Petitioners asserted that first moving before OSHA would be “futile." The Petitioners alleged 10 violations in the suit. They are violations of the:

  1. Federal Procurement Act (FPA);
  2. Federal Procurement Policy Act (FPPA);
  3. Administrative Procedures Act (APA);
  4. Tenth Amendment (States have the police powers, not the federal government);
  5. Non-Delegation Principle (asserted under the Separation of Powers and the Legislative and Executive Vesting Clauses of the U.S. Constitution);
  6. Fifth Amendment Due Process rights to bodily integrity and to refuse medical treatment;
  7. Fourth Amendment right to privacy and asserts the mandate is an unconstitutional seizure of the person;
  8. First Amendment violation of free exercise of religion;
  9. Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), (imposes a substantial burden on the exercise of religion) and;
  10. Separation of Powers and Take Care clauses of the Constitution (the President has an obligation to faithfully enforce the laws that Congress has enacted).

In support of the alleged claims, the Plaintiffs argued that the mandate Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) put forth is neither a “workplace rule” nor “responsive to an emergency,” and that vaccination status is not a workplace issue but a public health issue; that there is no need for an “emergency rule” for a pandemic that has been ongoing for two years; that the Petitioners are likely to succeed on the merits that the ETS exceeds OSHA's statutory authority; that OSHA only has authority over workplace-related hazards, not hazards which can be found worldwide; that the ETS does not address a “grave danger”; that OSHA previously came to an opposite conclusion than they have now; that the 100+ worker requirement makes no sense; that vaccinated people can still spread the disease; that Covid-19 is not a toxic substance or agent; that OSHA’s vaccination requirement, or alternative (to have a weekly test & wear a mask), is both overinclusive and underinclusive; that Petitioners meet the three criteria for a stay, and will suffer irreparable harm without a stay and; a stay won't harm OSHA, it is in the public interest, and expedited review is warranted.

The next day, on Saturday November 6, 2021, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal granted the Petitioners’ motion and stayed the ETS mandate, finding that there were "grave statutory and constitutional issues" with the mandate.

The Chabad Rabbinical Court, in NYC, Issued a Halachic Ruling Forbidding the Administration of Covid-19 Vaccines to Children, Pregnant Women, Healthy Adults of Child Bearing Age, Older Adults, and the Elderly

Chabad Rabbinical Court

Nov. 02, 2021

New York, New Jersey

On November 1, 2021 and on the 26th of Marcheshvan (the second month of the Jewish calendar), the Rabbinic Court in New York and New Jersey rendered a decision to forbid certain members of the Jewish community from taking any of the Covid-19 "vaccines."

In the Rabbinical Court, after hearing testimony from vaccine experts, including Dr. Robert Malone (the doctor who invented the mRNA vaccine), other doctors who invented the mRNA technology, and members of the Jewish community who had suffered injuries due to the Covid vaccine, the Court determined that the risks of the vaccines exceed the level of concern allowed for by Halachic standards.

Specifically, the Court determined that, as per the teachings of the holy Torah:

“It is absolutely forbidden to administer or promote the vaccines to children, adolescents, young men or women:”

  • due to the vaccines' Halachically “problematic ingredients”;
  • the fact that there is no entity that “is liable for possible damages caused by the injection(s)”;
  • “and because administering the vaccine to one's child assists the government in forcing other children to take it as well.”

It is forbidden for pregnant women to receive the injection because due to the currently known and future unknown harms the injections cause, it may be considered "a violation of the prohibition of sterilization or preventing fertility." Also, included in this population of persons prohibited from taking the Covid injections "are all healthy adults of child-bearing age.”

Due to significant breakthrough cases of Covid-19 among the elderly who have received the injections, and because there is no indication that there is a substantial difference between those who have received the mRNA injections and those who have not, the Rabbinical Court cautioned against older adults and the elderly taking the vaccines, and urged that they error on the side of not taking the shots, and instead pursue safer and effective alternative treatments.

The order instructed that those who have received mRNA injections should distance themselves for a minimum of two weeks from any pregnant woman so that any side effects from "shedding" are minimized.

It is prohibited by Leviticus 19:14 to put a stumbling block in front of a blind person. As such, members of the Jewish community are forbidden from verbally encouraging, offering monetary incentive or other bribes, verbally pressuring or actually threatening or coercing employees or others to receive the mRNA injections.

A Several State Suit Against the Biden Administration’s COVID Vaccine Mandate for Federal Contractors

The State of Georgia et al. v. Biden et al., 21-cv-00163,

Oct. 29, 2021

U.S. District Court, Southern District of Georgia

On October 29, 2021, the States of Georgia, Alabama, Idaho, Kansas, South Carolina, Utah, and West Virginia sued the Biden Administration for Declaratory, and Preliminary and Permanent Injunctive Relief under the U.S.Constitution, Art. 3 Sec. 2, and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), from the federal vaccine mandates pertaining to federal government contractors in their respective states.

Plaintiffs’ claims arise under the Admin Procedure  Act, 5 USC. §§ 702–703, and the United States Constitution, U.S. Const. art. III, § 2.

The states attack:

  1. the Office of Management and Budget (OMB’s) "Determination of the Promotion of Economy and Efficiency in Federal Contracting Pursuant to the Executive Order No. 14042” dated 9/28/21 as violative of the APA. The states allege that the OMB determination is phrased in conclusory terms, contains no research, no supporting evidence, and violates the notice and comment requirements of the APA. The Complaint enumerates numerous adverse impacts on federal contractors located in the plaintiff States.

  2. EO 14042 as violative of the Procurement Act, 40 USC 101, 121, and of federal procurement policy, 41 USC 1707 (A). The Plaintiffs assert that the EO 14042 is unconstitutional under Art. 1, Section 1, as it is an unconstitutional delegation of legislative authority to OMB, with no statutory enabling legislative authority from Congress, the legislative branch; a violation of separation of powers; an improper exercise of authority under U.S. Const. Art. 1 Sec 8 and the Tenth Amendment, as improperly infringing on the authority of the States.

The Plaintiff’s additionally allege that EO 14042 violates the Spending Clause and of the APA, 5 USC Sec. 706. Plaintiff States seek Declaratory, and Preliminary and Permanent Injunctive relief, against the "broad-sweeping, unlawful, and unconstitutional COVID-19 vaccine mandate.”

Case Against the Health Care Facilities Alleging They Are State Actors Subject to Coercive Measures By the Federal Government

Darling, et al. v. Sacred Heart Health System, Inc., et al., 3:21-cv-01787-TKW-HTC

Oct. 27, 2021

U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida

On October 27, 2021, a group of 164 health care employees and contractors of Ascension Health Alliance and several of its North Florida hospitals sued them over their COVID-19 vaccination mandates.

The suit alleges U.S. Constitution as well as Florida State Constitution violations, including that Sacred Heart Heath Systems is a state actor, that the vaccine mandates violate the Plaintiffs’ right to privacy under the Florida state Constitution, and the mandates discriminate in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Florida Civil Rights Act.

The suit charges that Ascension is acting under color of law as a state actor in that they are doing the bidding of the federal government who has coerced and encouraged the companies to act in ways that violate the Constitution. The suit states, “Ascension Group is a state actor under both the Public Function Test and the State Compulsion Test, since it is undertaking public health functions traditionally the exclusive prerogative of the state, and has been coerced and significantly encouraged by the federal government to violate the Plaintiffs’ Constitutional rights.” The Plaintiffs further allege that the federal government has entered into the Defendants’ decision-making process, such that the Defendants’ choices may be deemed those of the federal government.

The action seeks injunctive and declaratory relief and seeks a TRO against the implementation of the vaccine mandate deadlines.

DC Complaint Against the Biden Administration, A Challenge to Federal Vaccine Mandates on Constitutional and Federal Statutory Grounds, Complaint for Injunctive Relief and a Temporary Restraining Order

Church et al. v. Biden, et al. 1:21-cv-02815

Oct. 24, 2021

U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia

On October 24, 2021, a Complaint was filed by federal civilian employees and military members from several federal government agencies against the heads of all respective Administration agencies challenging the federal mandate EO 14043 and the August 24, 2021 DOD Memorandum mandating the COVID-19 vaccine. The Complaint asserts violations of the First Amendment Free Exercise Clause, Fifth Amendment Equal Protection Clause, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), and the Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act (FDCA). 

 The suit asserts that Defendants violate Plaintiffs' First Amendment right to free exercise of their religion because: the agencies target certain "agency" employees without mandating vaccination of other agency employees from the White House, NIH, NIAID, EOP, and CDC; there was an intentional effort to deprive Plaintiffs’ of their exercise of their religious beliefs; agencies submitted Plaintiffs’ to intrusive questionnaires without reason to question the sincerity of their beliefs; and agencies set “non-deadlines” for submission of requests for accommodation for the sole purpose of collecting data on Plaintiffs that they had no right to collect.

 The Complaint also asserts that agencies: violated RFRA when they effectively prohibited Plaintiffs from seeking and receiving religious exemptions and accommodations; violated the Equal Protection Clause when they required different things (mandatory vaccines for some, but not for others) of similarly situated employees and discriminated against Plaintiffs based on their sincerely held religious beliefs; and violated the FDCA because Plaintiffs are being denied their statutorily provided option under the Act to accept or refuse the administration of the vaccine.  

 Plaintiffs seeks injunctive relief and a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO).

Employees Challenge UT-Battelle’s Forced Unpaid Leave Based on Granted Exemptions to the Vaccine Mandate, A Complaint Seeking a TRO

Bilyeu v. UT-Battelle, LLC, 3-21-cv-352

Oct. 12, 2021

U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Tennessee

On October 12, 2021, a TRO was filed by employees against UT-Battelle, LLC who required their employees to obtain a Covid-19 vaccination or an exemption. 

The Defendant granted Plaintiffs’ exemption and as an accommodation, provided unpaid leave beginning October 16, 2021, for which the Plaintiffs assert was originally for an indefinite period.   The Defendants now indicate the leave will be enforced for sixty days and then reevaluated.

The Plaintiffs are seeking a TRO enjoining the Defendant from placing Plaintiffs and similarly situated employees on unpaid leave. The Plaintiffs assert that without this relief they will suffer irreparable harm including possible loss of employment, loss of security clearances and inability to meet financial obligations for both shelter and education if the Defendant’s unpaid leave policy is maintained.

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