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.
Raysor, et al. v. DeSantis (U.S. Supreme Court, July 16, 2020): The Supreme Court ordered that it would not disturb an eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that left in effect a law requiring former felons in Florida to pay all fines and fees owed before voting. Read the abstract here.
Skyline Wesleyan Church v. Cal. Dep't of Managed Health Care (U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, July 21, 2020): The Ninth Circuit overturned the dismissal of a lawsuit alleging the California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) violated Skyline Wesleyan Church’s constitutional right to free exercise of religion because of its requirement that insurance plans must offer abortion as a basic health care service. Read the abstract here.
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists v. Hahn (U.S. District Court of Maryland, July 13, 2020): The court required the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to temporarily suspend enforcement of a restriction on medication used to terminate early pregnancies or manage miscarriages. Read the abstract here.
Proctor v. Krzanowski (U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit, August 13, 2020): The Sixth Circuit rejected a Michigan doctor’s claim that his Fourteenth Amendment due process rights were violated when Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) temporarily rejected all medical marijuana patient applications signed and certified by the doctor. Read the abstract here.
In re Republican Party of Texas, Relator (Texas Supreme Court, July 13, 2020): The court held in a 7-1 vote that the Republican Party of Texas could not force a convention center to hold the July 2020 state convention after the City of Houston and center terminated the agreement due to COVID-19. Read the abstract here.
Bahamas Surgery Center v. Kimberly Clark Corp. (U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, July 23, 2020): The Ninth Circuit overturned a $24 million verdict in a class action suit accusing Kimberly-Clark Corp. of misrepresenting the effectiveness of their hospital gowns for stopping the spread of disease. Read the abstract here.
T.L. v. Cook Children's Med. Ctr. (Texas Court of Appeals, July 24, 2020): An attending physician is not authorized to unilaterally discontinue life-sustaining treatment for a terminally ill minor patient over the objection of his or her parents. Read the abstract here.
Foster v. Commissioner of Corrections (Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, June 2, 2020): Massachusetts’ highest court denied a request that the Department of Corrections (DOC) take immediate steps to depopulate detention centers while the case proceeds to trial. Read the abstract here.
Natural Resources Defense Council, et al. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, June 5, 2020): The court vacated an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule exempting importers from reporting products that have components containing mercury. Read the abstract here.
Grisham v. Romero, et al. (New Mexico Supreme Court, August 4, 2020): The court dismissed claims brought by several New Mexico businesses (e.g., a restaurant, gym, massage parlor, diner, and auto part store) suggesting that Governor Lujan Grisham lacked authority to set civil administrative penalties under the state’s Public Health Emergency Response Act for violations of restrictions on business operations and mass gatherings in response to 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: James G. Hodge, Jr., JD, LLM, Leila Barraza, JD, MPH, Emily Carey, and Claudia Reeves. 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.