Naperville firefighters' COVID-19 vaccine lawsuit could be combined with others

A federal lawsuit regarding Naperville's COVID-19 vaccine and testing mandate may be combined with two similar lawsuits filed against Cook County and Chicago.

Judge John R. Blakey raised the issue at a hearing Friday morning on the Naperville case in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

Six Naperville firefighters are suing the city, Edward-Elmhurst Health and Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

They contend the city's requirement that firefighters either get the vaccine or submit to weekly COVID-19 tests violates their Constitutional rights to due process and equal protection.

They seek a preliminary injunction preventing the city from enforcing the city and state mandates.

The city has said if firefighters don't comply, they could be suspended without pay.

The firefighters also contend Pritzker does not have the authority to enact such a mandate.

Blakey said under district court rules, it might be most efficient to combine the matters, given some of the issues being argued are the same.

Jonathan Lubin, the Naperville firefighters' attorney, did not object to the idea.

But he told the judge there is at least one difference between the Naperville case and the others: The Naperville firefighters are not making any First Amendment claims regarding religious freedom. The other cases do. Lubin also represents the Chicago and Cook County workers in their suits.

The case against Cook County has been brought by health care contractors and employees who work at John Stroger Hospital and the Cook County Jail. The next court date is 9 a.m. Nov. 17 before Judge Robert W. Gettleman.

The case against Chicago has been brought by fire, water and transportation department workers.

The case is due to be heard at 4 p.m. today by Judge John Z. Lee.

Six Naperville firefighters suing city, Edward-Elmhurst Healthcare, Gov. Pritzker over vaccine, testing mandate

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