Healthcare journalist Krista Mahr has spent time exploring the various lawsuits against the U.S. state for its response to the pandemic. She finds a growing legal movement and more victories for plaintiffs than one might expect.
In particular, Mahr looks at the surge of cases challenging mask and testing mandates, vaccine requirements, quarantine measures and medical malpractice.
Mahr has written about it in Politico.
There is no denying some of the lawyers challenging the Government’s right to intervene in Americans’ health are winning. Between March 2020 and July 2022, there were more than 1,000 court rulings on challenges to Government orders and regulations designed to control the spread of Covid, according to Public Health Law Watch. Most decisions sided with the Government, but in several high-profile cases – and particularly in federal courts – the plaintiffs won.
Early in the pandemic, the Supreme Court blocked California and New York’s restrictions on religious gatherings to reduce COVID-19 transmission, as well as the CDC’s moratorium on evictions. In 2022, it stayed OSHA’s [Occupational Safety and Health Administration] order that large companies require employees to be vaccinated or regularly tested for the virus. Federal courts have ruled against Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement for federal employees and stopped the CDC’s mask mandate on public transportation. On March 31st, a federal judge in Texas struck down the administration’s requirement that employees of Head Start programmes be vaccinated.
Even with most Covid mitigation measures now lifted, many of those cases are still winding their way through lower courts. At the same time, lawyers are gearing up for a new wave of tort cases seeking compensation for alleged harm those measures have done – a wave, they say, that could rival opioid litigation or the tobacco lawsuits that were argued in courts for decades and which ultimately ended in Big Tobacco paying states more than $200 billion. …
Lawyers at the [Covid Litigation Conference] were worried about the next public health crisis as well – but for altogether different reasons. Warner Mendenhall, whose firm was one of the conference organisers, is worried when another disease hits, the Government will try to bring Covid-era restrictions back.
Worth reading in full.