Settlement ends in medical student vaccination lawsuit

The settlement could be overturned by a court order filed by three medical students who have demanded a religious exemption from the COVID-19 vaccination requirements of the North Louisiana Medical College.

On Tuesday, lawyers for the students filed papers in federal court in Monroe seeking permission to file an amended complaint in a lawsuit against Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine in Monroe.

Last month, a judge signed a settlement to the lawsuit, stating that the college had formally agreed to exempt students from the vaccination requirement. In August, a judge issued an interim order in favor of three students.

On Tuesday, student lawyers Rachel Lynn Magliulo, Matthew Shea Willis and Kirsten Willis Hall accused the college of continuing what they call discriminatory policies, including requiring only unvaccinated students to wear masks indoors on campus and take weekly COVID-19 testing. …

The college is a private institution, but operates on the campus of the University of Louisiana at Monroe.

A federal judge in the case ruled that the medical college’s partnership agreement with a public university is subject to state laws that prohibit religious discrimination and allow students to disagree with vaccine demands.

The attempt to reopen the lawsuit is the latest in legal battles between state and nation over vaccine requirements from employers or governments. The Biden administration on Tuesday asked a federal appeals court in Cincinnati to allow it to push forward a workplace rule that would require employees of larger companies to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo weekly testing. A panel of three judges at the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans recently ruled to suspend the mandate. But the case was merged with another mandate trial and assigned to the 6th District in Cincinnati.

Meanwhile, the Louisiana Supreme Court has set a December 7 hearing date for arguments about whether the state’s largest healthcare provider can demand COVID-19 vaccinations from its employees. Cases involving Ochsner Health employees in the Shreveport and Lafayette areas were joined by the state’s highest court.

Cindy Rawlins, spokeswoman for Edward Via College, said his attorney is reviewing the latest documentation. She said the requirement for all unvaccinated students and staff on campus to wear masks and take weekly testing is in line with new federal employer regulations, as well as guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The College operates in accordance with CDC guidelines and Louisiana law as we continue to strive to create a safe environment for all of our students and staff,” she wrote in an email.

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