Bob Van Voris
A judge temporarily blocked New York City’s Covid vaccine requirement of municipal workers for a Police Department detective who doesn’t want to get the shot.
In a hearing Tuesday, State Supreme Court Justice Frank Nervo granted a temporary restraining order requested by Detective Anthony Marciano, who sued Mayor Bill de Blasio on Dec. 1 on behalf of himself and all others “similarly situated.”
But the parties disagree on whether the decision applies to anyone other than Marciano and, when asked in court by a lawyer representing the city, the judge declined to say. Nervo didn’t issue a written order and said “the court declines to define it any further.”
Patricia Finn, the lawyer for Marciano, proclaimed herself “tickled pink” by the ruling, which she said applies to all those “similarly situated,” noting that Nervo declined to add to his ruling, which he issued from the bench.
The city’s legal team disagreed.
“Unlike every other court that has considered the question, a single judge appears to have issued a TRO prohibiting the City from putting a single police officer who refuses to be vaccinated on leave without pay,” the Law Department said in a statement after the hearing. “If we get a written order, we will immediately appeal. The City’s vaccine mandate is lawful and a proper exercise of the Health Commissioner’s authority.”
In the hearing, Finn argued that Marciano, who has already had Covid-19 and recovered, shouldn’t be forced to take a vaccine he doesn’t want that he believes may harm him. She argued the mandate violates his right to informed consent and that the city’s Health Department lacked the authority to issue the vaccine requirement.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is fully approved for ages 16 and up. The other available vaccines are cleared under emergency-use authorizations, though large clinical trials have shown them to be safe and effective.
Earlier Tuesday, a federal judge declined to block New York City’s requirement that teachers and other school employees be vaccinated against Covid-19 or face suspension. The lawsuits are part of a wave of litigation across the country over the legality of vaccination mandates by governments and private employers struggling to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
The case is Marciano v. De Blasio, 160914/2021, New York State Supreme Court, New York County (Manhattan).