The Network for Public Health Law monitors key court cases and relevant judicial trends in public health. The Network’s monthly reporter, Judicial Trends in Public Health (JTPH), highlights select published cases from the prior 3 months in public health law and policy. These cases are organized below by name, issuing court, date of issuance, along with a brief synopsis, link to the case abstract, and hyperlink to the full decisions (when publicly available). For more information, including a topic digest of these and other cases, see below. Questions, comments, thoughts? Contact the Network for more information.
Jenny L. Flores v. William P. Barr (U.S. District Court, Central District of California, 6/26/20): As part of the ongoing Flores Settlement Agreement (limiting the length of time and conditions under which migrant children can be incarcerated in immigration detention), the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles ruled that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) and the Office of Refugee Resettlement (“ORR”) must strictly follow COVID-19 protocols. Read the abstract here.
Slidewaters LLC v. Washington Department of Labor and Governor Jay Inslee (U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Washington, July 14, 2020): Slidewaters, a local water park, sued Governor Inslee and the Washington Department of Labor & Industries (“LNI”) alleging constitutional violations stemming from COVID-19 closure orders. Read the abstract here.
Don't Shoot Portland v. City of Portland (U.S. District Court, District of Oregon, June 9, 2020): The court granted (in part) the non-profit Don't Shoot Portland's request that the City of Portland be prohibited from using tear gas as a crowd control tactic in response to recent protests. Read the abstract here.
Agency for International Development et al. v. Alliance for Open Society International, Inc., et al. (U.S. Supreme Court, June 29, 2020): The Supreme Court held that a federal funding condition requiring foreign affiliates of U.S. non-governmental organizations (“NGOs”) to have policies explicitly opposing prostitution and sex trafficking was constitutional. Read the abstract here.
Dale Hartkemeyer v. William P. Barr et al. (U.S. District Court – District of Indiana, July 14, 2020): The court denied a request for stay of execution based on the argument that scheduling the execution during the COVID-19 pandemic violated the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act of 1993 (“RFRA”) and the Administrative Procedures Act (“APA”). Read the abstract here.
York v. Wellmark in d/b/a Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa (U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit, July 13, 2020): The court affirmed the dismissal of a lawsuit brought by women denied reimbursement for out-of-network providers of lactation services. Read the abstract here.
C.Y. Wholesale, Inc., et al., v. Eric Holocomb, et al. (U.S. Court of Appeals – Seventh Circuit, July 9, 2020): The court vacated a ban blocking enforcement of Indiana’s smokable hemp regulations. Read the abstract here.
Walter Elenils Portillo Funes v. Maryland (Maryland Court of Appeals, June 30, 2020): The court held that police officers must reasonably convey the warnings and rights in the implied consent statute prior to administering a chemical breath test. Read the abstract here.
Weissberger v. Princess Cruise Lines, Ltd. (U.S. District Court, Central District of California, July 14, 2020): The court dismissed plaintiff’s case, finding that a couple could not hold Princess Cruise Lines liable for emotional distress because of fear of contracting COVID-19 they experienced onboard. Read the abstract here.
Honorable Andrew Beshear et. al. v. Florence Speedway, Inc. et al., (Kentucky Supreme Court, July 17, 2020): The court stopped orders by 2 lower courts preventing enforcement of certain executive orders pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the abstract here.
JTPH is a collaboration of the Network’s Western and Eastern Region Offices. Contributors include: James G. Hodge, Jr., JD, LLM, Kathi Hoke, JD, Kerri McGowan Lowrey, JD, MPH, Mathew R. Swinburne, JD, Megan Griest, MPP, Emily Carey, and Elyse Pendergrass.
Legal information or guidance provided in this transmission or website does not constitute legal advice or representation. For legal advice, please consult specific legal counsel in your state.