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Desrosiers, et al. v. Baker (Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, December 10, 2020): The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court upheld Governor Baker’s use of the Civil Defense Act (CDA) to order the closure of nonessential businesses and establish a reopening plan in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Business owners alleged that the Governor’s use of the CDA was unlawful because (1) the virus is not a “natural cause” contemplated by the legislature; and (2) local boards of health hold exclusive power to act under the Public Health Act. The court rejected the challenge. The COVID-19 pandemic “is a natural cause for which action is needed to ‘protect the public peace, health, security and safety, and to preserve the lives and property of the people of the commonwealth.” Read the full decision here. 

View all cases in the Judicial Trends in Public Health – February 16, 2021.

View all cases under “Public Health Emergency: Legal Preparedness & Response.”