Federal Court Grants Injunction Preventing Contractor Vaccine Mandate Enforcement Nationwide

On Dec. 7, 2021, the Southern District of Georgia issued an injunction preventing the vaccine mandate from being enforced on federal contractors and subcontractors nationwide.

As discussed in our previous article, the Eastern District of Kentucky issued a preliminary injunction preventing the enforcement of the vaccine mandate for contractors and subcontractors located in Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee. In State of Georgia, et al. v. Biden, et al., the Southern District of Georgia followed similar reasoning, but has issued an injunction that applies nationwide.

Importantly, the Associated Builders and Contractors Inc. (ABC), a trade organization representing contractors and subcontractors, filed a motion to intervene in the Georgia suit. The court’s order granted this motion. The non-ABC plaintiffs agreed at oral argument that an injunction that only applied to its states would suffice. However, ABC argued that such a limited injunction would not afford proper relief for its members and urged for a nationwide injunction.

As in the Kentucky case, the court found the plaintiffs had shown that the Biden Administration had likely exceeded its authority. Then, it considered the scope of the injunction. Unlike in the Kentucky case, here plaintiff-intervenor ABC, with contractor and subcontractor members nationwide, argued that the injunctive relief needed to be broader. The court agreed and issued a nationwide injunction.

This nationwide injunction will eliminate the confusion created by the injunction in the Kentucky case to only three states. It effectively halts enforcement of the federal contractor vaccine mandate – for now. 

This remains a rapidly evolving situation. Taft’s Government Contracts group will continue to monitor this situation. Stay tuned for further developments.

Please visit our COVID-19 Toolkit for all of Taft’s updates on the coronavirus.

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