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.
Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, New York, et al. v. Cuomo (U.S. Supreme Court, November 25, 2020): The Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) prohibiting New York from enforcing an Executive Order restricting the number of people permitted at religious entities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the abstract here.
Exby-Stolley v. Board of County Commissioners (U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, October 11, 2020): The Tenth Circuit ruled that the Americans with Disabilities Act’s (ADA) anti-discrimination provision does not require an adverse employment action to sue, concluding that a blind law clerk could invoke ADA protections whether or not she suffered an adverse employment action. Read the abstract here.
P.J.E.S. v. Wolf, et al. (U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, November 18, 2020): The court blocked a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) directive allowing expulsion of unaccompanied migrant children at the border in an attempt to control COVID-19. Read the abstract here.
EMW Women’s Surgical Center, et al. v. Friedlander, et. al. (U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit, October 16, 2020): In a split decision, the Sixth Circuit voided an order based on a Kentucky law requiring certain abortion facilities to implement transfer agreements with local hospitals and transport agreements with ambulance services in case of patients’ medical complications. Read the abstract here.
Cigar Association of America et al. v City of Philadelphia, et al. (U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, November 13, 2020): A federal court blocked Philadelphia’s ban on the sale of flavored tobacco intended to reduce youth access to tobacco. Read the abstract here.
Roman v. Wolf (U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, September 23, 2020): The Ninth Circuit affirmed in part a lower court preliminary injunction against conditions at an immigration and customs enforcement (ICE) processing center that placed detainees at risk of COVID-19. Read the abstract here.
Stone v. UnitedHealthcare Ins. Co. (U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, November 9, 2020): An insurance coverage denial for eating disorder treatment based solely on an ERISA plan’s exclusion of coverage for out-of-state treatment does not violate the federal Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act or California’s Mental Health Parity Act since the exclusion applies equally to mental and physical illnesses. Read the abstract here.
Daniel Wright’s Case (Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, October 27, 2020): Massachusetts’ highest court held that insurance companies and government agencies cannot be compelled to reimburse injured persons for their medical marijuana expenses. Read the abstract here.
Iglesias v. Welch Foods, Inc. (California Court of Appeals, First Appellate District, October 27, 2020): The California Court of Appeals agreed with a lower court determination that Welch Foods, Inc. could properly list “fruit puree” as the first ingredient in its fruit snacks, rather than the constituent ingredients of the puree. Read the abstract here.
Grisham v. Reeb (Supreme Court of New Mexico, November 5, 2020): New Mexico’s Supreme Court found that the state’s Public Health Emergency Response Act’s (PHERA) civil penalty provisions may be applied to enforce business restrictions and closures required under the Secretary of Health’s COVID-19 emergency orders. Read the abstract here.
Fox Fire Tavern, LLC. v. Pritzker, et al. (Illinois Court of Appeals, Second District, November 13, 2020): An Illinois appellate court voided a lower court determination which originally blocked a gubernatorial order setting COVID-19 restrictions on restaurants. Read the abstract here.
JTPH is a collaboration of the Network’s Western and Eastern Region Offices. Western Region contributors include: James G. Hodge, Jr., JD, LLM, Jennifer Piatt, JD, Claudia Reeves, and Emily Carey. 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.