UMM appeals federal judge’s decision on vaccine mandate

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) – Almost three weeks after a federal judge extended a temporary restraining order against Western Michigan University for its COVID vaccine requirement, WMU administrators are appealing the ruling.

In a case filed Monday, legal counsel representing the directors of the WMU responded to the ruling of United States District Court Judge Paul Maloney, requesting a stay of proceedings and a stay of injunction in a court of federal appeal.

Levine & Levine’s attorney, Sarissa Montaque, explained what this entails.

“If you request a stay, then the stay means: ‘OK, wait a minute. Don’t let them start doing it now. Let these procedures continue. Let the rest of the proceedings unfold. But in the meantime, allow things to stay the way they are, ”Montaque said.

Both stay motions were dismissed in district court, but lawyers in western Michigan plan to appeal to federal circuit court.

According to court documents, they argue that the current ruling is “inconsistent with free exercise jurisprudence” because it requires them “to extend to plaintiffs privileged treatment that is not available to any other student-athlete and to give them authorization to expose their teammates to an increased risk of exposure to COVID-19. ”

Maloney’s decision to extend the temporary restraining order against WMU allowed 16 Bronco athletes to play and train while being religiously exempt from the university’s coronavirus vaccine mandate.

Montaque explained that the likelihood of a civil case being appealable depends on the timeliness and seriousness of the issues. In this case, medical needs and freedom of religion are the relevant factors.

“There has to be a legal basis, a legal basis on which they find the decision to be incorrect,” Montaque said. “That’s why we have a judicial system so that an impartial person can look at these matters and decide constitutionally what the school can do and what it cannot do. “

These developments only apply to the injunction and the temporary restraining order since the whole civil case is still pending in the district court. The plaintiffs in this lawsuit – the athletes – have until Wednesday to answer the appeal.

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