Louisiana State Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Attacking Vaccine MandateRead Time: 1 min
On September 23, 2021, at the conclusion of a contentious hearing, a Louisiana state court judge in Lafayette dismissed a lawsuit filed by 48 employees and contractors of Ochsner Lafayette General Health System seeking to have the hospital’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate declared unlawful. The judge ruled that the employees did not have a cause of action because the hospital system is a private employer, not a state actor whose actions can be declared unconstitutional, and because the plaintiffs were “at will” employees who, in Louisiana, can be fired for any lawful reason. A federal judge in Texas previously dismissed a similar lawsuit, and other vaccine mandates have so far been upheld. The plaintiffs will appeal this decision.
The hospital’s policy was announced on August 24 after the FDA’s full final approval of the Pfizer COVID vaccine. The policy requires all doctors, vendors, students, staff, and residents to be vaccinated by October 29 or face suspension and then termination. Pursuant to the policy, unvaccinated employees were to be placed on leave from November 1 until vaccinated, or up to 30 days, at which time they will be terminated.
The dismissed lawsuit was one of two lawsuits filed against hospital systems in Louisiana on September 20, 2021. A hearing date has not been set in the second lawsuit.