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Court Revives COVID Shot Mandate Lawsuit Against LA School District

By Carolyn Hendler, JD

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has reinstated a lawsuit filed by employees of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) who argued that the school system’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate violated their constitutional and other rights. The Appellate Court vacated the lower court ruling in a 2-1 decision and remanded the case back to the District Court for further arguments.1

The lawsuit, which was originally filed in November 2021 by California Educators for Medical Freedom (CEMF) on behalf of 1,000 LAUSD employees, alleged that the second largest school district in the country’s COVID policy violated the U.S. Constitution. A group of employees immediately filed suit against that school district after the COVID policy went into effect on Mar. 4, 2021. The day after the lawsuit was filed, LAUSD sent out a memo stating that employees could have the option of testing for COVID rather than getting the shot.2

LAUSD Drops and Then Reinstates COVID Shot Mandate

By July 2021, LAUSD represented to the court that the COVID shot mandate was no longer in effect. Accordingly, the court dismissed the lawsuit stating that the case was no longer “ripe.” Because the school district’s policy changed to allow for testing in lieu of the shot before the vaccine mandate went into effect, the school district contended it would be pure speculation to suggest the mandate would be reinstated and an employee’s exemption denied, which could be a basis for a lawsuit.3 4

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