In various places throughout the country, and here in New York, state and local governments have adopted COVID-19 vaccine mandates. But the legal landscape on mandates continues to change almost daily, as challenges make their way through the court system and new cases are brought.
In a new article published on the NYSBA website on Oct. 14, 2021, Harris Beach Partner Chris Palermo and his co-authors examine the current legal playing field on the issue of vaccine mandates and religious exemptions. They cover this week’s ruling from a federal judge in the Northern District of New York that New York State cannot impose a vaccine mandate on healthcare workers without permitting consideration of religious exemption requests. With Governor Hochul’s promise that the state will appeal the decision, and legal challenges anticipated to the Biden administration’s mandatory vaccination plans, this is an area that bears continued close watching, pitting the government’s authority to enact emergency measures to protect public health against individuals asserting religious and other constitutional liberties.
Chris is a partner in our Business and Commercial Litigation Group, a member of the Executive Committee of the NYSBA Food, Drug and Cosmetic Law Section and is the Section’s Delegate to NYSBA’s House of Delegates. He co-authored the article with Mary Beth Quaranta Morrissey, PhD, MPH, JD, a public health law attorney and an adjunct professor at Fordham University’s Graduate School of Social Service and Graduate School of Business, and Thomas G. Merrill, who served as General Counsel of New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for more than 13 years.