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U.S. Takes Contractor Vaccine Order Loss to Third Appeals Court

Jan. 12, 2022, 3:29 PM

The Justice Department will appeal a Louisiana federal court’s ruling that blocked President Joe Biden‘s order for government-contractor workers to get the Covid-19 vaccine.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit will be the third federal appeals court to consider a challenge to the measure. A coalition of three states—Louisiana, Mississippi, and Indiana—sought to block the mandate for companies that do business with the federal government. U.S. District Court Judge Dee Drell of the Western District of Louisiana granted a preliminary injunction in December.

The federal contractor mandate—which won’t be enforced while litigation proceeds—would apply to roughly a quarter of the U.S. workforce, and affect businesses including Lockheed Martin Corp., Microsoft Corp., Alphabet Inc.‘s Google, and General Motors Co.

Appeals are ongoing in the Eleventh and Sixth circuits, respectively, over a nationwide injunction against the measure from a Georgia federal court and a narrower one from a Kentucky federal judge for a coalition that includes Ohio and Tennessee. A Missouri federal court also blocked the executive order, but that ruling has yet to be appealed.

Other Biden administration efforts to boost Covid-19 inoculation rates have similarly met legal roadblocks, including an Occupational Safety and Health Administration emergency shot-or-test rule for large employers and a vaccine mandate for health-care workers. The U.S. Supreme Court is weighing whether those efforts should be paused while litigation continues.

The case is Louisiana v. Biden, W.D. La., No. 21-cv-03867, notice of appeal 1/11/22.

To contact the reporter on this story: Erin Mulvaney in Washington at emulvaney@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jay-Anne B. Casuga at jcasuga@bloomberglaw.com; John Lauinger at jlauinger@bloomberglaw.com

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