Intra-Governmental Litigation Over COVID-19 Reopening Efforts

Intra-Governmental Litigation Over COVID-19 Reopening Efforts


A blog post by WilmerHale Kelly Dunbar and Thomas Sprankling, published by the US Chamber Litigation Center

Excerpt: In response to the spread of COVID-19, a number of state governors and other executive branch officials claimed emergency powers to enact comprehensive shelter-in-place policies. We wrote a post last month on potential intergovernmental litigation, i.e., litigation between different States or between States and the federal government, over these stay-at-home orders. This post covers intragovernmental litigation. Unable to shape the scope of emergency orders through normal political processes, state legislators and local governments alike have filed lawsuits trying to strike down the orders in full or in part—with mixed success.

These suits will continue to be a mechanism for challenging the authority of existing shelter-in-place orders—and potential future COVID-19 measures. While the orders targeted by the intragovernmental lawsuits discussed below are already in the process of being lifted across the country, a number of States have adopted laws regarding face-masks or other prophylactic measures. And commentators have already begun to speculate that another round of shelter-in-place orders may be necessary if a second wave of COVID-19 emerges in the fall and winter. These measures, and legal challenges to them, will continue to be important to businesses navigating the challenges of reopening.

Read the full post.