On January 12, 2023, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky’s decision to issue a preliminary injunction blocking the enforcement of the federal contractor vaccine mandate in Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee. In doing so, the three-judge panel unanimously concluded that President Joe Biden exceeded his delegated authority from the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949 (FPASA) by issuing the 2021 Executive Order 14042, mandating COVID-19 vaccinations and other COVID-19 safety measures for federal contractors and subcontractors. While the Sixth Circuit agreed with the district court’s decision to issue the injunction, it concluded that the scope of the injunction — which applied to party and non-party contractors in Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee alike — extended further than necessary to remedy the plaintiff’s injury. As a result, the Sixth Circuit narrowed the injunction’s scope by limiting its application to only parties to the litigation (those parties being Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee and two Ohio sheriff’s offices).
Similarly, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently upheld an injunction blocking the enforcement of the federal contractor vaccine mandate while also limiting the scope of the injunction to only parties to the litigation (those parties being Georgia, Alabama, Idaho, Kansas, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia, and a construction industry trade association). The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals also upheld a district court’s issuance of an injunction against the mandate; the states challenging the mandate’s enforceability include Louisiana, Indiana, and Mississippi.
Given the trend of appellate losses, the enforcement of the federal contractor vaccine mandate is significantly less likely. Nonetheless, covered federal contractors and subcontractors may want to monitor developments concerning legal challenges to the federal contractor vaccine mandate, as well as potentially growing or evolving Safer Federal Workforce Task Force FAQs.
If you have questions about how this ruling may impact your operations, please contact Erin L. Scott, email@example.com and Daniel C. Wennogle, firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is written here is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Readers of this website should contact their attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular legal matter.