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Constitutional Rights & the Public’s Health

Slidewaters LLC v. Washington Department of Labor and Governor Jay Inslee

Overview

Slidewaters LLC v. Washington Department of Labor and Governor Jay Inslee (U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Washington, July 14, 2020): Slidewaters, a local water park, sued Governor Inslee and the Washington Department of Labor & Industries (“LNI”) alleging constitutional violations stemming from COVID-19 closure orders. Slidewaters argued its seasonal opening is imperative to its business survival, but prohibited by the Governor’s COVID-19 State of Emergency order and resulting restrictions, even with cleanliness and social distancing measures in place. Plaintiffs argued the Governor’s order prohibiting operation of waterslide parks wrongfully deprived them of property interests without due process. The court disagreed. Governor Inslee’s emergency power granted by the Legislature “clearly encompasses an outbreak of a pandemic disease.” LNI was legally authorized to create rules enforcing the Governor’s emergency proclamations. Quoting Jacobson v. Massachusetts, state governments can enact public health laws via their police powers, provided the laws are reasonable, equally applied, and not overly broad despite limited infringements of other protected interests. Read the full opinion here.

View all cases in the Judicial Trends in Public Health – August 11, 2020.

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