Fifth Circuit upholds dismissal of Methodist vaccine mandate lawsuit


A federal appeals court on Monday upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit challenging Houston Methodist’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, which last year thrust the hospital into the national spotlight as the first healthcare system in the U.S. to require the shots for its employees.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of 117 Houston Methodist employees who refused to abide by the policy, was dismissed in June 2021 by U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes, who at the time decried arguments comparing the requirement to those made under Nazi Germany.

In its opinion, the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals said it affirmed the original ruling “because plaintiffs do not demonstrate any error in the district court’s judgment on the arguments made in that court but instead make an entirely new argument on appeal.”

The plaintiffs’ attorney, Jared Woodfill, said “this battle is far from over.”

“We believe employment should not be conditioned on your willingness to take an experimental shot,” he said in an email to the Chronicle. “During oral argument, the court indicated that one way to potentially address this case of first impression is to take it back to state court. We will pursue every legal avenue available to our clients, including taking this case to the United States Supreme Court.”

Woodfill added that a “companion case” has been filed in Harris County, though records of that lawsuit could not be found by press time.


The lawsuit brought three separate claims of wrongful termination, alleging violations of state and federal law. In their appeal, the plaintiffs “pivoted” from focusing on the federal law violations to state law, the appeals court notes in its opinion.

The plaintiffs “now even equivocate on whether federal law supports their claim,” according to the opinion. “Federal law does not, and the district court did not err in dismissing plaintiffs’ claim.”

See here for the previous update. As noted at the time, Texas state law isn’t exactly employee-friendly, so the odds of a better result for the vaccine refuseniks seems quite low. But hey, they have Jared Woodfill, Super Genius, on their side. What could possibly go wrong?

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One Response to Fifth Circuit upholds dismissal of Methodist vaccine mandate lawsuit

  1. Jason Hochman says:

    They are using an argument of employer/employee relations. Of course, the employer/employee relationship is a direct descendant of the plantation, slave/master relationship, just as the police are a modern day evolution of the slave patrols. “Free election of masters doesn’t abolish the masters or the slaves.”–Herbert Marcuse. Where is Sr. Maxine Waters and her militia to enforce the rights of the people?

    Scientifically there is no justification for forcing the vaccinations on people. They have proven that they don’t stop the spread, don’t stop you from getting sick, but maybe, they are a symptom mitigation treatment. Maybe. I find it funny that people are now saying “we’re all going to get it.” Which is what some in the know people said before the two weeks to flatten to curve–we will all get it at some point, but for most, it will be another cold or flu–not a serious problem, but an annoyance. Those in the know saw the Diamond Princess data which showed this. Even noted vaccine expert Bill Gates recently claimed that at first, “we didn’t know that this had a low case fatality rate, and was mainly a disease of the elderly.”

    Since then, we also have the Nature paper that shows the Israeli data that mRNA vaccination correlates (not necessarily causes) with an increase in cardiac deaths in young adults. The cynical side of me would say that Big Pharma and the federal government funds these hospitals, so they have to squeal to keep a place at the trough.

    Also, these hospitals are not honoring Juneteenth today. It’s a federal holiday. The cynical side of me would say that diversity is simply a money making ploy and a way to divide the people. Keep in mind that we are all different, and can never understand the “other” or unite with “them.” But we should be nice to each other and respect the fact that we are all separate but equal, an enshrinement of Plessy v. Ferguson. Where is Sr. Maxine Waters with her militia?

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