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, recently-published cases in public health law and policy from the prior 3 months. Case abstracts are organized within 11 key topics (adapted from James G. Hodge, Jr., Public Health Law in a Nutshell, 4th ed. (2021)), including hyperlinks to the full decisions (where available). Contact the Network for more information, questions, or comments.
Adventist Health Systems/SunBelt, Inc., et al. v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, et al. (U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Cir., Nov. 8, 2021): A federal court denied plaintiffs’ request to stop an Organ Procurement and Transplant Network (OPTN) rule change from taking effect because the plaintiffs could not show that the HHS-sponsored entity tasked with establishing procedures for organ transplants violated principles of federal law in adopting the rule. Read the abstract here.
Mississippi v. Tennessee, et al. (U.S. Supreme Court, Nov. 22, 2021): In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court dismissed a claim by Mississippi seeking money damages against Tennessee for pumping water out of an aquifer that runs under the land of both states. Read the abstract here.
Whole Woman’s Health v. Jackson (U.S. Supreme Court, Dec. 10, 2021): The Supreme Court allowed private abortion providers in Texas to challenge Texas’s restrictive abortion law, SB8, but reasoned that the suit could not proceed against state court officers or the Texas Attorney General, allowing it to proceed only against state licensing officials. Read the abstract here.
Velicky v. The Copycat Building, LLC, and Walke v. The Copycat Building, LLC (consolidated) (Court of Appeals of Maryland, Nov. 29, 2021): Maryland’s highest court declined to eliminate a landlord’s right to seek repossession of their property upon expiration of a lease solely because the landlord is unlicensed. Read the abstract here.
Doe v. San Diego Unified School District (U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Cir., Dec. 4, 2021): A high school student challenged San Diego Unified School District’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate, which requires students 16 years or older to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to participate in in-person learning and extracurricular activities. Read the abstract here.
Cargill v. Garland (U.S. Court of Appeals, 5th Cir., Dec. 14, 2021): The 5th Circuit affirmed a lower court decision upholding the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) new rule classifying bump stocks as “machine guns” for purposes of the National Firearms Act. Read the abstract here.
Guns Save Life, Inc. v. Ali (Supreme Court of Illinois, Oct. 21, 2021): The Supreme Court of Illinois held that Cook County’s firearm and ammunition taxes are unconstitutional because the relationship between the tax classification and the use of the tax proceeds is not sufficiently tied to the county’s purported objective of lessening gun violence. Read the abstract here.
Center for Community Action & Environmental Justice v. Federal Aviation Administration (U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Cir., Nov. 18, 2021): The 9th Circuit upheld a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) decision finding “no significant environmental impact” with respect to a planned construction project in San Bernardino, California. Read the abstract here.
Ho v. Tulsa Spine & Specialty Hospital, L.L.C. (Oklahoma Supreme Court, Dec. 14, 2021): An Oklahoma nurse brought a wrongful discharge claim against her employer after being terminated for missing work because she refused to provide nursing services without personal protective equipment. Read the abstract here.
Heidel v. Hochul (U.S. Dist. Court, S.D. New York, Oct. 21, 2021): Three New York City bars and restaurants were denied money damages against the state of New York and New York City for pandemic-related closures because the federal court found the business owners did not allege sufficient injury in order to recover damages. 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, Erica N. White, JD, Rebecca Freed, and Nora Wells. Eastern Region contributors include Kathi Hoke, JD, Morgan Jones, JD, and Brianne Schell, JD, MA.
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.