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.
Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee (U.S. Supreme Court, July 1, 2021): In a 6-3 Opinion authored by Justice Alito, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected challenges under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA) and the 15th Amendment against Arizona state voting rules. Read the abstract here.
State of Florida v. Becerra, et al. (U.S. District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division, June 18, 2021): A Florida federal court prevented enforcement of the CDC’s “conditional sailing order,” issued in October 2020 with the purpose of safely reopening the cruise industry under a four-phased “framework.” Read the abstract here.
Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of St. Louis Region, Inc. v. Parson (U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit, June 9, 2021): The 8th Circuit blocked Missouri laws that prohibit (1) abortions after 8, 14, 18, and 20 weeks of pregnancy; and (2) abortions performed “solely because of” a prenatal test result indicating the potential or presence of Down Syndrome. Read the abstract here.
Bridges v. Houston Methodist Hospital (U.S. District Court, S.D. Texas, June 12, 2021): A federal court rejected arguments by a Texas hospital employee that the hospital’s COVID-19 employee vaccination mandate requiring vaccination or termination, was unlawful. Read the abstract here.
People v. Marrero (Supreme Court, New York County, April 13, 2021): Defendant, indicted for attempted robbery, challenged the propriety of an ex-parte subpoena for his hospital records in the absence of a Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule authorization. Read the abstract here.
In re: Zofran (Ondansetron) Products Liability Litigation (U.S. District Court, D. Massachusetts, June 1, 2021): A Massachusetts federal judge ruled that state-law claims of failure to provide an adequate warning label are preempted by federal law. Read the abstract here.
LA Alliance for Human Rights v. City of Los Angeles (U.S. District Court, C.D. California, April 20, 2021): In response to L.A.’s homelessness crisis and the City and County’s lack of satisfactory action, a federal court, on its own motion, issued an order mandating certain actions. Read the abstract here.
Martinez v. City of Chicago (U.S. District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division, April 14, 2021): A federal judge rejected plaintiffs’ motion to prevent the relocation of a large recycling facility to the southeast side of Chicago, “an area that is a majority-minority, with the most recent census data showing that 55.80% of residents are African-American and 37.7% are Hispanic.” Read the abstract here.
Tavern League of Wisconsin, Inc. v. Palm (Supreme Court of Wisconsin, April 14, 2021): The highest court in Wisconsin upheld the appeals court decision that the state Department of Health Services Secretary-designee’s COVID-19-related emergency order that limited the size of indoor public gatherings was unlawful and unenforceable as a matter of law, because the order met the definition of a “rule” and therefore should have been promulgated according to rulemaking procedures outlined in state law. Read the abstract here.
State ex. rel. Riddle v. Oliver (Supreme Court of New Mexico, May 6, 2021): Plaintiffs, 27 New Mexico county clerks, filed an emergency request to compel the Secretary of State to mail ballots to registered voters in New Mexico during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the abstract here.
JTPH is a collaboration of the Network’s Western and Eastern Region Offices. Western Region contributors include: Jennifer Piatt, JD, 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
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