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United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, Northeastern Division
November 30, 2021, Decided; November 30, 2021, Filed
Civil Action Number 5:21-cv-01508-AKK
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Hunter Creger, Benjamin Eastman, Sherrie Maine, Lance Norwood, and Zachary Breland filed this action seeking relief from United Launch Alliance's COVID-19 vaccination policy. Doc. 1. United Launch, an aerospace engineering firm, recently implemented a policy requiring employees to either get vaccinated against COVID-19 or obtain a medical or religious exemption. Id. at 6, 8-9. Employees who refuse vaccination and are not granted an exemption are considered to have "voluntarily resigned." Id. at 8. The plaintiffs, all unvaccinated current or former employees [*2] at United Launch's Decatur, Alabama facility, requested exemptions. Id. at 3-6. After United Launch denied their requests, the plaintiffs filed this action "on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated," alleging that the implementation of the COVID-19 vaccination policy and the denial of their exemption requests violate Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and Alabama law. Id. at 1, 3-6, 15-17. The plaintiffs seek: (1) certification of a class under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23; (2) a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction preventing United Launch from effectuating its vaccine policy; (3) a permanent injunction doing the same; and (4) various monetary damages. Id. at 18-19.
Now before the court is the plaintiffs' motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction, doc. 2, in which they argue that unless the court "temporarily enjoins [United Launch's] mandate for all employees with religious or medical reasons for seeking an accommodation, plaintiffs and hundreds of others similarly situated will suffer harms that neither the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, the Alabama Department of Labor, nor this court can remedy," doc. 3 at 2. The plaintiffs [*3] asked the court to rule on their motion the same day they filed it. See docs. 7, 8. The court declined, finding that the plaintiffs "had not, at this juncture, demonstrated an irreparable injury requiring immediate injunctive relief," and instead allowed the parties to fully brief the motion. Doc. 9 at 2-3. Now, with the benefit of the parties' briefs, docs. 10 and 12, and for reasons stated below, the court finds that the plaintiffs have failed to meet their burden as to any of the four requirements for preliminary injunctive relief. Accordingly, their motion is due to be denied.
COVID-19 has killed well over three-quarters of a million people in the United States. COVID Data Tracker, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (last visited Nov. 30, 2021), https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#datatracker-home.Over 16,000 of these deaths have occurred in Alabama. Coronavirus Resource Center, Johns Hopkins University (last visited Nov. 30, 2021), https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/region/us/alabama. In Morgan County, where United Launch's Decatur facility is located, the current level of COVID-19 transmission in the community is "substantial." Tracking COVID-19 in Alabama, Alabama Political [*4] Reporter (last updated Nov. 29, 2021), https://www.alreporter.com/mapping-coronavirus-in-alabama.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 228949 *; __ F.Supp.3d __; 2021 WL 5579171
HUNTER CREGER, et al., Plaintiffs, v. UNITED LAUNCH ALLIANCE LLC, Defendant.
Launch, vaccination, accommodation, employees, exemption, religious, plaintiffs', Alabama, injunction, preliminary injunction, requests, reasonable accommodation, undue hardship, terminated, merits, contracts, reasons, testing, private cause of action, substantial likelihood, disability, factors, movant, essential function, religious belief, public interest, unvaccinated, irreparable, irreparable injury, discharged
Civil Procedure, Injunctions, Grounds for Injunctions, Balance of Hardships, Remedies, Preliminary & Temporary Injunctions, Likelihood of Success, Irreparable Harm, Public Interest, Labor & Employment Law, Religious Discrimination, Burdens of Proof, Burden Shifting, Defenses, Reasonable Accommodation & Undue Hardship, Employee Burdens, Evidence, Allocation, Evidence, Employee Burdens of Proof, Disability Discrimination, Scope & Definitions, Qualified Individuals With Disabilities, Business & Corporate Compliance, Reasonable Accommodations, Undue Hardship, Interactive Process, Public Health & Welfare Law, Healthcare, Public Health Security, Communicable Diseases, Governments, Legislation, Interpretation