US District Judge Denies Motion to Stay Vaccine Mandate for Prison Workers


By Amy Fullerton and Lorelei Olivas

OAKLAND, CA – United States District Judge Jon Tigar denied a motion for a stay pending appeal in the case of Marciano Plata v Gavin Newsom, after the California Correctional Peace Officer Association sought to appeal the court’s decision to uphold mandated vaccinations for workers in correctional facilities.

In the largest prison class action lawsuit in recent memory, Plata v Newsom, petitioners attempted to enforce the rights of prisoners residing in state prisons during the COVID-19 pandemic through cases that address medical care.

According to The Prison Law Office, the petitioners in Plata v Newsom argue that cruel and unusual punishment took place in prisons as California officials allegedly neglected and were indifferent towards the serious medical needs of prisoners.

Defendants CCPOA, who appealed the decision made in Plata v Newsom, believed that the COVID-19 vaccination mandate was unconstitutional and hoped the Court would hear their request for stay.

Judge Tigar struck down each of the arguments made by the defendants, citing that this particular situation differs from any previous.

For example, the defendants interpretation of Fraihat v. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement failed to take into account the deliberate indifference standard that was considered by the Court and later ruled upon, Tigar said.

According to the order, the court believes that “deliberate indifference” was the defining characteristic of Plata v Newsom, a characteristic that set the case apart from the Fraihat precedent set back in 2019.

“Here, defendants are ignoring undisputed medical and scientific evidence, as well as the opinions of their own expert,” Judge Tigar wrote.

The defendants’ expert concluded that vaccinations are the “single most effective intervention available to prevent cases and outbreaks of COVID-19, both among those who are vaccinated and those who cannot be vaccinated.”

Judge Tigar also cited vaccination mandates for other state workers in California and wrote that this “underscores defendants’ deliberate indifference.” He wrote that vaccination mandates are put in place to protect those who are most vulnerable to the virus.

In addition to evidence presented against the defendants, Judge Tigar believed that this ruling is necessary to uphold public interest despite possible harm it may cause the defendants.

“Finally, even assuming that defendants and CCPOA might face some irreparable harm, the balance of hardships and the public interest would still weigh against a stay,” wrote Judge Tigar.


About The Author

Amy is a junior at UCSB triple majoring in Psychology and Brain Sciences, Communication, and Political Science. She is from Redwood City, California.

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