Judge rules in favor of Houston Methodist in lawsuit over COVID-19 vaccines

117 employees file lawsuit against Houston Methodist for mandating workers to take COVID-19 vaccine; deadline is June 7
117 employees file lawsuit against Houston Methodist for mandating workers to take COVID-19 vaccine; deadline is June 7

HOUSTON – A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit Saturday from a group of Houston Methodist employees opposing the hospital’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

117 employees sued the hospital over its policy requiring staff to get the vaccine or be fired.

“This is not coercion. Methodist is trying to do their business of saving lives without giving them the COVID-19 virus. It is a choice made to keep staff, patients, and their families safer,” said U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes.

The judge also denied a request for a restraining order to block Houston Methodist from suspending the unvaccinated employees.

The hospital’s vaccine deadline was last week, and more than 170 employees were suspended without pay for the next 14 days after not complying with the vaccine requirement.

“In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs falsely claimed that the COVID-19 vaccines are not safe. With more than 300 million doses administered in the United States alone, the vaccines have proven to be extremely safe. The number of both positive cases and hospitalizations continues to drop around the country, proving that the vaccines are working in keeping our community protected,” Houston Methodist wrote in a statement.

Jared Woodfill, the lawyer represent the Houston Methodist employees, said they will appeal.

All of my clients continue to be committed to fighting this unjust policy,” Woodfill said in a written statement. “What is shocking is that many of my clients were on the front line treating COVID-positive patients at Texas Methodist Hospital during the height of the pandemic. As a result, many of them contracted COVID-19. As a thank you for their service and sacrifice, Methodist Hospital awards them a pink slip and sentences them to bankruptcy.”

Here is the full statement by Woodfill:

This is just one battle in a larger war to protect the rights of employees to be free from being forced to participate in a vaccine trial as a condition for employment. Employment should not be conditioned upon whether you will agree to serve as a human guinea pig.

We will be appealing this case to the United States Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court if necessary. Additionally, we will be seeking a ruling from the Texas Supreme Court in a similar case.  All of my clients continue to be committed to fighting this unjust policy.

What is shocking is that many of my clients were on the front line treating Covid positive patients at Texas Methodist Hospital during the height of the pandemic. As a result, many of them contracted COVID-19.

As a thank you for their service and sacrifice, Methodist Hospital awards them a pink slip and sentences them to bankruptcy.

If this ruling is allowed to stand, employers across the country will be able to force their employees to participate in a vaccine trial as a condition for employment. This legal battle has only just begun.

Ultimately, I believe Methodist Hospital will be held accountable for its conduct. Sometimes the wheels of justice move slower than we like.

Here is the full statement from Houston Methodist:

Houston Methodist is pleased and reassured after U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes today dismissed a frivolous lawsuit filed by some employees who fought our COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

Judge Hughes wrote in his order:

“This is not coercion. Methodist is trying to do their business of saving lives without giving them the COVID-19 virus. It is a choice made to keep staff, patients and their families safer.”

Also recently, Judge Hughes denied the plaintiffs’ request for a temporary restraining order to block Houston Methodist from suspending them. The vaccine deadline passed this week and 24,947 Houston Methodist employees have now met the vaccine requirements.

In the temporary restraining order, Judge Hughes wrote:

“The public’s interest in having a hospital capable of caring for patients during a pandemic far outweighs protecting the vaccination preferences of 116 employees. The plaintiffs are not just jeopardizing their own health; they are jeopardizing the health of doctors, nurses, support staff, patients and their families.”

In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs falsely claimed that the COVID-19 vaccines are not safe. With more than 300 million doses administered in the United States alone, the vaccines have proven to be extremely safe. The number of both positive cases and hospitalizations continues to drop around the country, proving that the vaccines are working in keeping our community protected.

Dr. Marc Boom, president and CEO of Houston Methodist said:

“We can now put this behind us and continue our focus on unparalleled safety, quality, service and innovation. All our employees have now met the requirements of the vaccine policy and I couldn’t be prouder of them. Our employees and physicians made their decisions for our patients, who are always at the center of everything we do. They have fulfilled their sacred obligation as health care workers, and we couldn’t ask for a more dedicated, caring and talented team.”


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