A group of Naperville Fire Department employees have filed a lawsuit alleging that vaccine requirements put in place by the City of Naperville and State of Illinois violate their constitutional rights.
The complaint, filed in federal court September 23, pushes back on the State of Illinois and City of Naperville’s mandate requiring healthcare workers be vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to weekly testing, or be placed on administrative leave without pay. That mandate took effect September 19, with weekly testing to begin September 20.
Who Is Involved?
The complaint was filed against the City of Naperville, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, and Edward-Elmhurst Healthcare, as the suit claims the medical group directed the city to put the requirements in place.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are John Halgren, John K. Stiegler, Gil Cortez, Chris Garon, Robert McCormick, and Joel Fox. They filed the suit “individually and on behalf of similarly situated employees of the City of Naperville.”
The fire department employees, represented by Attorney Jonathan Lubin, said in the lawsuit that weekly testing for unvaccinated workers “is not narrowly tailored to forward the interest of preserving the life and health of Illinois’ citizens.”
Instead, they see it as a “punitive measure taken against those who assert their fundamental rights.”
Citing studies from the National Institute of Health and the State of Israel, the employees said the natural immunity many paramedics have from having contracted the virus is comparable to immunity from vaccines.
“The implication that these heroes are somehow public health hazards is wrong, and does a disservice to them and to the health of the people in this State,” the employees said in the complaint.
The employees requested that the court acknowledge their “fundamental right to their bodily autonomy,” and find that the Governor’s executive order and city’s mandate exceeded the authority granted to them and violated constitutional rights.
Executive Order Reasoning
Pritzker cited increased COVID-19 Delta variant case numbers, stress on hospital and ICU capacities, and COVID-19 cases among young people as reasoning for his September 3 executive order.
Following the court findings desired by the employees, the employees requested the city and state be barred from enforcing the requirements, that the plaintiffs be compensated for their damages, and that the defendants pay the plaintiffs for the costs associated with bringing the lawsuit.
NCTV17 reached out to both Edward-Elmhurst Healthcare and the City of Naperville for a statement. Both groups declined to comment on the lawsuit or pending litigation.
The Naperville Professional Firefighters Union said in a release it does not support the lawsuit, and has “bargained in good faith with the city of Naperville to implement a fair solution to the mandate.”
Naperville News 17’s Casey Flanagan reports.
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