Modified: October 13, 2021 9:17am
In a recent decision striking a blow at anti-masking activists, NYS Supreme Court Judge E. Jeanette Ogden denied all eight requests of Christian Central Academy (“CCA”) in the Academy’s lawsuit seeking injunctive relief from COVID-19 related state and county public health regulations in schools. Erie County was represented by the Erie County Attorney’s office in this lawsuit, as has been the case with all COVID-related litigation involving the county.
Among the noteworthy comments in the court’s decision, Judge Ogden found that “the Erie County health order for masking complies with the state health order for masking in schools” and that “the state and county can also impose regulations for the safety of students in public and private schools.” Furthermore, the decision noted that “the petitioner is not exempt from following state health guidance or regulations. The masking guidance promulgated by the state respondents and the Erie County respondents is in line with the CDC guidance for children in a school setting, and is authorized by section 308 subdivisions D
and E” and “moreover, Public Health Law section 228 subdivision three allows localities to enact law as long as they comply with the minimum standard in the state health code. The Erie County health order for masking complies with the state health order for masking in schools.”
Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz said, “The complete dismissal of this lawsuit, as well as others COVID-related lawsuits that have been dismissed recently, is a vindication of the life-saving efforts of my administration. I thank Judge Ogden for her well-reasoned, deliberate and point-by-point decision that was based on long-standing legal precedent. Public health is a serious responsibility and we all have a role to play in defeating the COVID-19 pandemic. Having my administration’s approach to winning this battle affirmed by Judge Ogden shows once again that we are doing the right thing for Erie County.”
Judge Ogden’s decision, dated September 22, is the latest in a string of defeats for activists seeking to subvert state and county public health laws. Two separate similar actions brought earlier this year by the Coalition of Clarence Parents against county and state defendants were voluntarily discontinued by the plaintiffs, while two such actions brought by the Coalition of Grand Island Parents were withdrawn (April 2021) and voluntarily discontinued (June 2021).
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