Judge denies preliminary injunction in Naperville firefighter COVID-19 lawsuit

A judge denied a preliminary injunction for six Naperville firefighters who are suing the city, Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Edward-Elmhurst Health over a COVID-19 vaccine and testing mandate.

Judge John R. Blakey made the ruling Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, deciding the mandate will stay in place for the firefighters. After Blakey issues his ruling in writing in the next 10 days, Jonathan Lubin, the attorney for the firefighters, will have the opportunity to appeal.

Reached Monday after the hearing, Lubin said he needed to consult with his clients before deciding whether to appeal the ruling. Lubin also said the six firefighters - Gil Cortez, Joel Fox, Chris Garon, John Halgren, Robert McCormick and John K. Stiegler - continue to work as Naperville firefighter-paramedics as they submit to weekly COVID-19 testing.

The firefighters filed the lawsuit in September, asking the court to rule unconstitutional the governor's Sept. 3 executive order mandating COVID-19 vaccination or weekly testing for health care workers.

The lawsuit states the government and its entities overstepped their authority by enforcing the mandate, and the plaintiffs have a "fundamental right to their bodily autonomy, and to make health decisions in accordance with their beliefs and conscience."

Also at Monday's hearing, Blakey discussed the possibility of reassigning two similar lawsuits, one against the city of Chicago and another against Cook County, so all three lawsuits could be heard by Blakey. Consultation with the judges in the other lawsuits, though, first needs to occur.

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