December 16, 2021

Injunctions Against CMS Vaccine Mandate Partially Upheld – Supreme Court Review Requested

Three-Judge panels in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th and 5th Circuits have partially upheld recent District Court injunctions prohibiting enforcement of the vaccine mandate for healthcare workers.  The mandates, originally adopted in rules adopted by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), required employees of Medicare- or Medicaid-certified providers to be vaccinated against COVID-19.  On November 29, 2021, a U.S. District Court judge in the Eastern District of Missouri issued an injunction preventing CMS from implementing and/or enforcing the mandate in the 10 states which filed that lawsuit.  The following day, a U.S. District Court judge in the Western District of Louisiana issued a similar injunction in a separate lawsuit, but extended it to cover all U.S. states not covered by the Missouri injunction.  Meanwhile, on December 5, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit denied the State of Florida’s request for an injunction against implementation and enforcement of the CMS mandate in that state.

On December 13, 2021, the 8th Circuit panel upheld the injunction entered in the Eastern District of Missouri.  The 5th Circuit panel partially upheld the injunction entered in the Eastern District of Louisiana on December 15, 2021, limiting it only to the states who filed the lawsuit.

As a result of these decisions, CMS is currently enjoined from implementing or enforcing its mandate in the following states: Louisiana, Montana, Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Missouri, Nebraska, Arkansas, Kansas, Iowa, Wyoming, Alaska, South Dakota, North Dakota and New Hampshire.

On December 16, 2021, the U.S. Department of Justice asked the U.S. Supreme Court to stay the injunctions upheld by the 5th and 8th Circuit panels while the cases are pending.

CMS announced on December 2, 2021, that it does not intend to implement or enforce the COVID-19 vaccine mandate in any U.S. state while the injunctions are in place.  However, CMS has not yet issued a statement regarding whether that position changed after the 5th Circuit’s modification of the injunction entered in the Eastern District of Louisiana.

If you are an Employer and have questions and need assistance, please contact the lawyers at Cummins, Goodman, Denley & Vickers at (503) 476-8200.

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