Attorney Chad LaVeglia, who announced the verdict outside the Richmond County courthouse, said the mandate was now “null and void.”
“So, we just defeated the vaccine mandate for every single city employee—not just sanitation,” LaVeglia said in a video on Twitter account NYCforYourself.
#BREAKING Judge Strikes Down NYC Vaccine Mandate for City Workers. “It’s null and void,” says attorney @ChadLaveglia. “We just defeated the vaccine mandate for every single city employee.” pic.twitter.com/PqqjhfNNCq— NYCforYourself (@nycforyourself) October 24, 2022
The ruling strikes down the mandate that saw over 2,000 city workers fired for not getting a COVID-19 vaccine. LaVeglia said the ruling extends to all public workers, including the New York fire department, the police department, and the Department of Corrections.
“For all the brave men and women who have been our first responders and have been brave through all this are now free, and you should be able to go back to work,” he said.
George Garvey and 15 others who worked at the New York City Department of Sanitation filed the lawsuit on July 20 after they were terminated for failing to comply with the mandate.
Judge Ralph Porzio ruled against the city and found the mandate, which allowed exceptions, to have been an arbitrary and capricious order. He said that Mayor Eric Adams, a Democrat, “made a different decision for similarly situated people based on identical facts” in his Executive Order No. 62.
However, there wasn’t anything in the record to “support the rationality of keeping a vaccination mandate for public employees, while vacating the mandate for private sector employees or creating a carveout for certain professions, like athletes, artists, and performers.”
“This is clearly an arbitrary and capricious action because we are dealing with identical unvaccinated people being treated differently by the same administrative agency,” Porzio said in his ruling (pdf).
‘No Reason’ to Terminate for Noncompliance: Judge
The ruling noted that all but one of the 16 petitioners applied for exemptions and received “generalized and vague denials.” They remained unvaccinated during the time their exemptions were being processed. Porzio said there was “no reason” they couldn’t have been allowed to keep working while submitting to COVID-19 testing.