Judge dismisses firefighters' challenge to LA vaccine mandate

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought forth by more than 100 Los Angeles Fire Department firefighters, challenging the city's employee COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

"For more than a century, plaintiffs have filed lawsuits to halt vaccination mandates," Judge Michael P. Linfield wrote in the ruling, adding that most challenges against mandates have not been successful. "This case is equally without merit," he continued. "The case is dismissed."

The city of Los Angeles adopted an ordinance over the summer, which would require all city employees to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19. In November, the city gave employees extra time to meet the vaccination requirement. At the time, Mayor Eric Garcetti said that any employee not vaccinated by that deadline "should be prepared to lose their job." 

The nonprofit Firefighters4Freedom Foundation sued the city in September 2021, saying that the city's vaccination mandate violated the firefighters constitutional right to privacy, and caused them emotional distress. The group later amended the suit after the deadline was extended.


In his court papers opposing the dismissal motion, Firefighters4Freedom attorney Scott J. Street stated that his clients were not challenging the vaccine ordinance on its face, but instead, the city's decision, made several months later, to stop paying more than 100 city firefighters without a prior hearing — an action Street maintained was unconstitutional.

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer supported Tuesday's decision, mentioning that most first responders have been vaccinated. "Getting vaccinated and boosted can help us continue this encouraging, and long overdue, trend," he said in a press release.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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