Six Naperville Firefighters Sue Naperville, Edward-Elmhurst Healthcare and Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Claiming There’s No Legal Right to Enforce COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Mandate

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Six firefighters are challenging vaccine mandates that they and their attorney Jonathan Lubin say are unconstitutional mandates in Illinois.

Lubin wrote that the “plaintiffs are a group of heroes who have risked their lives time and time again from the beginning of the pandemic through today.” He added that Gov. JB Pritzker “is trying to scapegoat these heroes, despite the consensus of the scientific community, and in violation of the law.”

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According to a lawsuit filed Thursday, September 23, 2021 in federal court, six firefighter-paramedics — Gil Cortez, Joel Fox, Chris Garon, John Halgren, Robert McCormick and John K. Stiegler — are asking the court to declare the governor’s mandate from September 3, 2021 unconstitutional. The six Naperville firefighters are suing the City of Naperville, Edward-Elmhurst Healthcare and Gov. J.B. Pritzker, claiming the organizations have no legal right to enforce a COVID-19 vaccination and testing mandate based on an executive order from the governor. 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.”

The lawsuit further asks that the plaintiffs be compensated for damages and have their attorney fees paid for by the defendants.

A phone hearing is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. Thursday (September 30, 2021) in front of U.S. District Court Judge John Robert Blakey to decide on a temporary restraining order they’ve requested on the mandate. For example, according to the Halgren Petition for TRO and PI FILED, plaintiff John Halgren, is a paramedic who contracted COVID-19 and recovered. According to a statement in the Temporary Restraining Order, he therefore likely has a natural immunity to COVID-19 that protects him better than any vaccines presently in existence would protect him.

Lawsuit Intro

In March, 2020, American life was irreparably changed both by COVID-19 and by the
various governments’ response to it. During that time, paramedics – who were already heroes – began to become ever more vital to the health and safety of millions of Americans. Literally before we had sufficient data to know how susceptible a given individual was to COVID-19, and before we had come to an understanding of how dangerous the virus was, paramedics were the front line of America’s response to COVID-19. They continued to treat patients in close quarters, even when it was possible or even likely that such patients suffered from COVID-19, and were therefore contagious.

Now, the State of Illinois and the City of Naperville is threatening to terminate its firefighter/paramedics unless they agree to take a vaccine for the SARS-COV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 (hereinafter, simply “COVID-19”), or submit to weekly testing for COVID-19 despite the fact that many paramedics impacted have already contracted COVID-19, and are therefore largely immune to it already.

The implication that these heroes are somehow public health hazards is wrong, and does a disservice to them and to the health of the people in this State.

Firefighters vs City of Naperville
Facts Common to All Counts Regarding COVID-19

(begins with #10 without footnotes. See FULL COMPLAINT FILED)

10. COVID-19 is a virus that was first detected in Wuhan, China, and eventually made its way to the United States of America, setting off a chain of events that has irretrievably changed the day-today life of many if not most Americans.

11. When the virus first appeared in the United States, some believed that the number of deaths in America would reach 2.2 million. This was based upon an assumption that the Infection Fatality Ratio was as high as 9% in some populations.

12. Despite these terrifying predictions, paramedics like plaintiffs here nonetheless were frequently among the first medical professionals to encounter patients who were suffering from COVID-19. As a result, paramedics became one of the hardest-hit subgroups in March and April of 2020 in terms of COVID-19 infections.

13. Until now, the Naperville Fire Department did not require any of their employees, including firefighters and EMS personnel, to engage in periodic COVID-19 testing.

14. Indeed, at no time though the effective date of the Executive Order did anybody require Naperville firefighter and EMS personnel to engage in periodic COVID-19 testing despite the widespread availability of such testing.

15. This was true despite the fact that case rates in Illinois were highest in the fall and winter of 2020, were higher in May of 2020 and April of 2021 then (sic) they are today, and are presently on a downward trend.

16. Relatively speaking, it is safer to be an Illinois resident today than at several different points, spanning weeks and months, over the last 18 months. Still, no COVID-19 testing was required.

17. The National Institute of Health and other bodies have found that natural immunity to COVID-19 – that is, immunity caused by infection with COVID-19 and recovery – is incredibly strong. Specifically, antibodies against the spoke protein of the COVID-19 virus remain in 98% of people who have recovered from the virus 6 to 8 months after infection (and the outer limit of the study was simply because the study was done on individuals who were 6 to 8 months out of recovery, not because immunity begins to wear off).

18. Health and Human Services’ Assistant Secretary, Dr. Admiral Bret Diroir stated in August, 2021, in a nationally televised interview that “there are still no data to suggest vaccine immunity is better than natural immunity. I think both are highly protective.”

19. Even Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the vaccines’ chief proponents, admitted in September, 2021, while being interviewed on CNN that “I don’t have a firm answer,” on whether the vaccines offer immunity that was comparable to natural immunity.

20. The data out of the State of Israel underscores this point. In a paper that is awaiting peer review, scientists out of the State of Israel report that in studying thousands of patients, those whose only source of immunity was a vaccine (in the case of Israel, the Pfizer vaccine was used) had a 5.96 to 13.06-fold increased risk of a breakthrough infection with the Delta variant of COVID-19 over
those whose immunity was natural.

21. Israel is one of the most vaccinated places in the world, with close to 80% of the country having been vaccinated. Israel’s bout with the Delta variant of COVID-19 has demonstrated that the vaccine is only 64% effective at preventing symptomatic cases of COVID-19.

22. Despite its high vaccination rates, Israel is becoming “the world’s COVID hotspot.”

23. While the vaccines have been effective at preventing serious cases and deaths, they lag far behind natural immunity in preventing symptomatic cases of COVID-19, and, therefore, transmission of COVID-19.

24. On September 3, 2021, Governor Pritzker issued Executive Order 2021-22. That order requires any Health Care Worker to have the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by September 19, 2021, and to have taken a second dose within 30 days after the first dose.

25. Health Care Workers include any person who is employed by a Health Care Facility (other than state-owned facilities). A Health Care Facility includes emergency medical services and IDPH licensed emergency medical service vehicles.

30. Though COVID-19 is still very much a part of the lives of nearly every Illinoisan, the cases are presently on the wane, and there are many fewer new cases today (to say nothing of deaths) than there were at several other points over the last 18 months.

The plaintiffs, represented by attorney Jonathan Lubin, allege that the policy of forcing paramedics to vaccinate is unconstitutional in that it involves the following three issues. The policy …

1.) Violates their substantive due process rights to make their own private medical decisions;

2.) Was signed by the governor without any authority under Illinois law; and

3.) Ignores scientific and medical realities.

Pritzker’s executive order mandated that health care workers receive their first COVID-19 vaccination dose by September 19, 2021 and, if necessary, the second dose within 30 days. If they don’t receive the vaccination, the mandate states health care workers must submit to weekly COVID-19 testing.

According to the lawsuit, any members of the Naperville Fire Department who don’t comply with the mandate will be placed on administrative leave without pay.

The plaintiff’s have also petitioned for a Preliminary Injunction as well as a Temporary Restraining Order.

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