Healthcare workers vow to appeal court ruling upholding Kentucky hospital system’s vaccine mandate |
(The Center Square) – A lawyer representing employees of a northern Kentucky health care provider has said he plans to appeal a decision made by a federal district court judge denying an injunction on the obligation to obtain a COVID-19 vaccine.
Dominick Romeo did not give The Center Square a deadline for filing this appeal with the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. A search carried out on Monday afternoon did not reveal any deposits.
On September 3, 40 employees of St. Elizabeth Medical Center and St. Elizabeth Physicians filed a lawsuit in US District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky. The 93-page complaint listed, among several allegations, that the vaccine’s mandate was a violation of the “American Disability Act,” which Romeo said “allows anyone to seek medical or religious exemption.”
According to the lawsuit, employees at St. Elizabeth were to receive their first dose of vaccine by September 1 and complete the protocol by Friday. Failure to do so could result in complainants losing their jobs.
However, in response to the lawsuit, attorneys for St. Elizabeth said that even if the plaintiffs were fired for not having been vaccinated, it was not an “irreparable” cause as they could be compensated when the whole of the case would be tried.
“The plaintiffs still have not presented any evidence to support their claims,” wrote Mark Guilfoyle. “The health and safety of thousands of Northern Kentuckians are at stake as COVID-19 continues to ravage the region and the Commonwealth as a whole. “
In his ruling, US District Judge David Bunning noted that although the plaintiffs raised several issues, their main argument for seeking an injunction was that St. Elizabeth’s policy violated their rights.
However, Bunning noted in his order that St. Elizabeth is not a state-run entity, therefore, no constitutional claims were applicable.
“Private hospitals, regardless of the federal funding they receive, are generally not state actors for the purposes of constitutional questions,” the judge wrote.
He also found that the claimants’ assertion of their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act had no chance of success.
In a statement, St. Elizabeth said the decision was a “victory for our associates, our patients and the overall health of our community.” Our patients will find comfort in knowing that they are being cared for in the safest environment possible by healthcare workers who help protect them against this deadly virus. “
Additionally, the healthcare provider noted that as long as the Friday deadline is still met, associates who requested an exemption but were denied were given a one-month grace period. This means that they must start their vaccination protocol by Friday and finish it by November 1.