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.
Juliana v. United States (U.S. Court of Appeals - Ninth Circuit, Jan. 17, 2020): The Ninth Circuit ordered a federal district court to dismiss a climate change lawsuit against the federal government, holding the court lacked the power to order the government to develop a plan to eliminate fossil fuel emissions and reduce CO2. Read the abstract and access the decision here.
California v. Texas & U.S. House of Representatives v. Texas (U.S. Supreme Court, denial of expedited certiorari, Jan. 21, 2020): The Supreme Court declined to grant expedited review of petitioners’ request for certiorari on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual mandate, and will consider the requests within a normal time frame. Read the abstract and access the decision here.
Horvath v. City of Leander (U.S. Court of Appeals - Fifth Circuit, Jan. 13, 2020): The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment to Leander, Texas (the City) regarding discrimination and First Amendment claims by a fire department employee who objected to the City’s TDAP vaccine requirement on religious grounds. Read the abstract and access the decision here.
Roe v. Department of Defense (U.S. Court of Appeals - Fourth Circuit, Jan. 10, 2020): The Fourth Circuit upheld a Virginia district court’s nationwide preliminary injunction preventing the Air Force and Department of Defense from enforcing deployment policies in a manner that limited deployment of service members diagnosed with HIV and that consequently resulted in their discharge. Read the abstract and access the decision here.
City of Flint v. Guertin (U.S. Supreme Court, denial of certiorari, Jan. 21, 2020): The Supreme Court declined to hear a case in which city officials and state regulators involved in the Flint, Michigan water crisis sought dismissal of a lawsuit by asserting immunity. Read the abstract and access the decision here.
Doe v. Trustees of Boston College (U.S. Court of Appeals - First Circuit, Nov. 20, 2019): The First Circuit reversed a district court’s preliminary injunction prohibiting Boston College from imposing a one year suspension of a student responsible for sexual assault. Read the abstract and access the decision here.
Beverly v. Grand Strand Regional Medical Center, LLC (South Carolina Court of Appeals, Jan. 15, 2020): A state appellate court held that a plaintiff insured through Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) was a third party beneficiary to a contract between BCBS and Grand Strand Regional Medical Center through which the Center agreed to provide care to BCBS insureds at established rates. Read the abstract and access the decision here.
Becerra v. Dr. Pepper/Seven Up, Inc. (U.S. Court of Appeals - Ninth Circuit, Dec. 30, 2019): The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of a complaint alleging that Dr. Pepper/Seven Up violated California consumer-fraud laws by use of the word “diet” in its product Diet Dr. Pepper®. Read the abstract and access the decision here.
Totem Beverages, Inc. v. Great Falls-Cascade County City-County Board of Health (Supreme Court of Montana, Nov. 19, 2019): The Montana Supreme Court reversed a grant of summary judgment favoring bar operators (Totem) regarding the validity of a Board of Health’s smoking regulations defining permissible smoking shelters. Read the abstract and access the decision here.
JTPH is made possible through a collaboration of the Network’s Western and Eastern Region Offices led and edited by April Shaw, JD, PhD, Staff Attorney, at the Western Region Office. Additional contributors include: James G. Hodge, Jr., JD, LLM, Kathi Hoke, JD, Leila Barraza, JD, MPH, Kerri McGowan Lowrey, JD, MPH, Mathew R. Swinburne, JD, Megan Griest, MPP, Michelle Notrica, Pharm. D., J.D., MPH, Claudia Reeves, Brianna Alford, and Erica N. White.
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.