Status Update: Federal Vaccine Contractor Mandate Injunction Reduced | Ballard Spahr LLP

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On August 26, 2022, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit restricted the nationwide injunction of Executive Order 14042, which requires federal contractors and employees who work on or in connection with a covered federal contract, or share a workplace with another employee who works on or in connection with such contracts, to be fully vaccinated against the COVID-19. The Eleventh Circuit ruled that the nationwide injunction issued by a federal district court in Georgia in January 2022 was too broad. The Eleventh Circuit narrowed the injunction to apply only to federal procurement contracts and selection processes involving the actual parties to the case, which include the states of Georgia, Alabama, D ‘Idaho, Kansas, South Carolina, Utah and West Virginia, as well as the Associated Builders and Contractors, a construction industry trade organization. The Eleventh Circuit left the injunction in place “to the extent that it prevents federal agencies from considering the warrant’s applicability when deciding who should receive a contract, if a plaintiff is in the bidding group.” The deal is Georgia v. President of the United States.

The Eleventh Circuit said the plaintiffs in the Georgia v. President of the United States the case will likely culminate in their underlying allegation that the mandate exceeds the president’s authority, dismissing the administration’s argument that the public procurement law, on which President Biden relied, allows the president to take any action that improves efficiency. The Eleventh Circuit therefore agreed with the Federal Court that “the President likely exceeded his authority under the Public Procurement Act when directing executive agencies to enforce [the COVID-19 vaccine] warrant.” But ultimately, the Eleventh Circuit narrowed the national scope of the Georgia federal court’s injunction, finding that the injunction was too broad and that extending the injunction beyond the parties to the original trial n was unfounded.

Despite the Eleventh Circuit’s action, court watchers expect there will be further lawsuits in other jurisdictions over the issue of the applicability of Executive Order 14042, and notably the Biden administration has not not changed its position on the vaccination mandate for federal contractors. Ballard Spahr regularly advises federal contractors on this issue; and recommends that federal contractors seek legal counsel regarding such contracts and vaccination mandates.

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