Federal judge to reconsider Florida’s legal challenge to prevent health care worker vaccine mandate

by | Nov 29, 2021

 

 

A federal judge has decided to take a second look at Florida’s request for an injunction against the Biden administration’s vaccine requirement for health care workers.

The state of Florida filed an injunction — a judicial order that prevents a measure from taking action under the pretense that it invades a person’s rights — which was denied by U.S. District Judge M.Casey Rodgers on Nov. 20th.

The federal rule applies to hospitals, nursing homes, and likewise healthcare settings that participate in Medicare and Medicaid programs. Under the rule, health-care workers are required to receive at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine by Dec. 6 and be fully vaccinated by Jan. 4.

Last week Florida took the case to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals following the initial decision, and requested that Rodgers issue an emergency injunction against the vaccination requirement while the appellate court considers the issues.

Rodgers ultimately did not grant the state the emergency injunction that it sought, but stated that she would reconsider the state’s original injunction request.  Rodgers gave credence to the recent results of Governor Ron DeSantis’ recent special legislative session, where lawmakers signed off on a bevy of bills that thwarted statewide mandates of vaccines and masks in schools and workplaces.

The special session was DeSantis’ latest battle against Biden, directly objecting the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) ruling that required companies with upwards of 100 employees to have fully-vaccinated workforces or administer weekly COVID-19 testing and oblige mask wearing in professional settings.

Rodgers wrote that the state had not informed her of the bill’s passage before she issued the original Nov. 20 ruling denying the preliminary injunction.

Rodgers wrote that she now consider implementing an injunction given the special session results.

“In light of this law, sovereign interests are implicated, most notably a concern that the new state law creates a conflict that forces state-run agency and facility heads to make a decision by December 6 as to which law to follow, which could give rise to an irreparable sovereign injury.” Rodgers wrote in her six-page order. “Therefore, the court will hold a hearing on the matter in advance of December 6, out of an abundance of caution.”

A hearing is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, but state and federal judges filed for a motion to vacate the meeting.

Rodgers made clear to delineate that the act of the hearing is not for the purpose of overturning her initial decision, but to adequately address the new state rulings and hear all arguments that  the state of Florida provides, which may or may not yield a reversing of the Nov 20th initial decision.

“This should not be construed as an indication that the decision will necessarily change, but because Florida argues irreparable harm could occur before the court can address the merits of the case if widespread resignations interrupt the state-run facilities’ ability to provide necessary services or if federal funding is withdrawn before then, the court will hear all evidence,” wrote Rodgers.

Florida is the 11th state to file a legal challenge against the health care vaccination requirement, joining Missouri, Nebraska, Arkansas, Kansas, Iowa, Wyoming, Alaska, South Dakota, North Dakota and New Hampshire, who filed a joint-state lawsuit on Nov. 10th.

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