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 in public health law and policy from the prior three months. These cases are organized below by name, issuing court, date of issuance, along with a brief synopsis, and include 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.
The Judge Rotenberg Educational Center, Inc. v. U.S. Food & Drug Administration (U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit, July 6, 2021): The U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit, vacated FDA’s rule prohibiting the use of electric shock harnesses as a behavioral deterrent for patients exhibiting aggressive or self-injuring behavior. Read the abstract here.
Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, Inc. v. Reynolds (Iowa Supreme Court, June 30, 2021): Planned Parenthood of the Heartland (PPH) challenged an Iowa statute excluding abortion providers from receiving federal education grant program funds aimed at preventing teenage pregnancies and reducing transmission of sexually transmitted infections. Read the abstract here.
Bryant v. Woodall (U.S. Court of Appeals, 4th Circuit, June 16, 2021): The 4th Circuit held that a group of abortion providers had standing to challenge a North Carolina abortion law limiting pre-viability abortions and affirmed the lower court’s decision blocking the provision. Read the abstract here.
Macklin v. Arkansas Department of Human Services (Arkansas Supreme Court, June 24, 2021): After a lower court denied a mother’s request to prevent the Arkansas Department of Human Services (ADHS) from immunizing her daughter, despite the mother’s objection, the mother appealed. Read the abstract here.
CFIT Holding Corp. v. Twin City Insurance Co. (U.S. District Court, N.D. Illinois, July 8, 2021): An Illinois federal district court found that an insurance company was not liable for financial losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the abstract here.
Hawkins v. Watson (Mississippi Supreme Court, May 14, 2021): In a 6-3 decision, the Mississippi Supreme Court overturned a voter initiative legalizing medical cannabis in the state. Read the abstract here.
Smith v. U.S. (U.S. Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit, July 29, 2021): The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals found that the Veterans’ Judicial Review Act (VJRA) did not block a patient’s medical negligence claim. Read the abstract here.
County of Los Angeles v. Superior Court of Orange County (California Court of Appeal, 4th District, Div. 1, June 15, 2021): Los Angeles County and other local jurisdictions challenged a California superior court order compelling the provision of identifiable opioid prescription data and substance abuse treatment records to a third-party vendor for de-identification on request from the defendant in the action, Johnson & Johnson. Read the abstract here.
Thomas v. Century Villa Inc. (U.S. District Court, C.D. California, June 10, 2021): Plaintiffs alleged that a nursing home caring for a patient, who later died, was negligent in failing to protect him from COVID-19 and other illnesses. Read the abstract here.
State v. Wilson (Supreme Court of New Mexico, June 7, 2021): The State of New Mexico sought relief from the New Mexico Supreme Court with respect to a number of cases brought by business owners regarding COVID-19 social distancing orders. Read the abstract here.
JTPH is a collaboration of the Network’s Western and Eastern Region Offices led by Editor-in Chief, Jennifer Piatt, JD, Deputy Director, Western Region Office. Additional Western Region contributors include: James G. Hodge, Jr., JD, LLM, Rebecca Freed, Joshua Kalanick, and Nora Wells. Eastern Region contributors include Kathi Hoke, JD, Kerri McGowan Lowrey, JD, MPH, Mathew R. Swinburne, JD, Brooke Torton, JD, and Megan Griest, MPP.
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.