A Tough Loss
We lost our state actor appeal Ciraci v. J.M. Smucker at the 6th Circuit.
One of the first cases we filed against the mandates was to stop J.M. Smucker Co. from imposing mandatory shots on its employees. (The jam and jelly company is a federal contractor). We pled that the U.S. Government coerced and controlled the company through millions in federal contracts and/or was entwined with corporate decisions to mandate Covid-19 shots. Management level employees, aircraft mechanics, and a pilot refused the shot and were fired. These courageous people prevented further mandates on shop level employees of which there are about 2,000.
Despite quotes like this:
The idea is that the government cannot escape responsibility for its own actions by farming out tasks to private entities, lest the Constitution’s constraints become a “dead letter.” See United States v. Ackerman, 831 F.3d 1292, 1300–01 (10th Cir. 2016) (Gorsuch, J.).
By comparison, in cases in which a claimant brings action against a private actor, that “plaintiff must allege . . . that state officials coerced or participated in the company’s decisionmaking to the extent required to trigger state actor status.” Wilcher v. City of Akron, 498 F.3d 516, 520 (6th Cir. 2007).
Which is what happened. Though we never got into discovery we had many documents and admissions.
The Court found this:
But federal contracts by themselves do not create the requisite entwinement. Rendell-Baker v. Kohn, 457 U.S. 830, 841 (1982); see Howell, 976 F.3d at 755…. In this case, the federal government never required Smucker’s to vaccinate the claimants, for the Executive Order did not tell Smucker’s to deny exemptions to anyone. It told Smucker’s to grant religious exemptions to those legally entitled to them, and let Smucker’s decide on its own who qualified. The claimants contend that Smucker’s has exercised its discretion under the Executive Order stingily, not that Smucker’s has been dragooned by the government into denying an exemption.
As in Blum, the President’s Executive Order gave Smucker’s discretion to decide which of its employees merited religious exemptions. When Smucker’s exercised that discretion, the government did not coerce it.
Who are those who decide if a person “merits” and exemption anyway?
We never got discovery in this case, but in another case, we discovered monetary incentives for federal contractors to get to a certain percentage of “vaccinations” in the workforce.
The opinion is here.
We are still pursuing Title VII and state level civil rights claims for many of the individuals. We will discuss the state of employer mandates litigation at the upcoming conference: