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Norris v. Stanley

CASE: Norris v. Samuel L. Stanley, Jr., in his official capacity as President of Michigan State University, et al.

STATUS: Active

NCLA ROLE: Counsel

COURTS HEARD IN: 6th Cir., W.D. Mich.

ORIGINAL COURT: U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan

DECIDING COURT: U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

OPENED: August 27, 2021

AGENCIES: Michigan State University


Due Process Violations

The due process of law guarantees a right to be held to account only through the processes of an impartial court—something administrative tribunals violate every day.

Jeanna Norris, Kraig Ehm, and D’Ann Rohrer were all Michigan State University employees who naturally acquired immunity to COVID-19. However, the university threatened disciplinary action, even termination, if she and other employees did not comply with the its mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy. Ms. Norris received a religous exemption to the rule, but Mr. Ehm and Ms. Rohrer were eventually fired for refusing Covid-19 vaccination. NCLA lawsuit challenges the policy on behalf of these three individuals and others similarly situated at MSU.

MSU first announced “COVID Directives” for the Fall 2021 semester via email on July 30, and shortly thereafter on its website, alerting faculty, staff, and students that by August 31 they must complete a full COVID-19 vaccine course or receive at least one dose of a two-dose series, unless they obtained a religious or medical exemption. MSU’s policy specifically excluded natural immunity as a basis for a medical exemption.

Ms. Norris’ immunologist, Dr. Hooman Noorchashm, has advised her that it is medically unnecessary to undergo vaccination. Yet, if Ms. Norris followed her doctor’s advice and elected not to take the vaccine without recieiving a religious exemption, she would faced adverse disciplinary consequences from her employer. That policy could not reasonably be considered anything other than coercive.

Jeanna Norris, Plaintiff

Mark Chenoweth
President and Chief Legal Officer
Jenin Younes
Litigation Counsel
John J. Vecchione
Senior Litigation Counsel
Greg Dolin
Senior Litigation Counsel

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