Judge Hears Motion to Dismiss Arguments in Confluence Health Lawsuit
The Douglas County Superior Court is considering whether a lawsuit by former employees against Confluence Health will go forward.
The lawsuit from the workers claims they were wrongly fired for declining to get vaccinated for COVID-19.
A total of 92 employees filed a class action suit in April.
Confluence is asking for the suit to be tossed out, while the former employees filed with the court to move forward.
East Wenatchee attorney Steve Lacy is representing the plaintiffs, and he says Confluence is trying to avoid responsibility for their actions.
"It's their burden, ultimately, to show they were justified in the actions that they took," said Lacy. "And they don't want you to allow me and my clients to explore that justification in any significant degree.".
Seattle-based lawyer Jeffrey James is representing Confluence Health. He says the former employees failed to include religious and medical exemptions in their wrongful termination claims.
"If they had pled a claim for failure to accommodate a religious belief, or failure to accommodate an actual medical exemption, we would be having a different discussion, your honor," said James. "But they did not plea that. And that is why their claim needs to be tossed."
In Addition, the two sides are locked in a fight on whether expert testimony from a COVID vaccine critic, Dr. Peter A. McCullough, should be allowed in the case.
Confluence Health filed a motion to strike McCullough's declaration, saying it does not contain relevant information and advocates for the disregard of the rule of law.
The former employees say McCullough's testimony "contains relevant information and medical opinion testimony examining the knowledge available to the Defendants when they decided to issue discharges of the plaintiffs, such as whether the "jabs" affected transmissibility of COVID-19."
McCullough's Declaration dismisses COVID-19 vaccines as not being effective in preventing the spread of the virus among vaccinated and unvaccinated people, and not effective in improving workplace safety.
The workers have also claimed their firings were unnecessary because nearly all the employees possessed natural immunity after having worked directly with COVID-19 patients.
The lawsuit is being heard by Douglas County Superior Court Judge Brian C. Huber. Both sides presented their case Thursday morning on whether to lawsuit should be dismissed,
It's the second high profile case Huber has presided over in recent months, having previously determined a state excise tax was illegal.
That decision was appealed to the Washington State Supreme Court. which has agreed to take the case.
Huber did not say when he would issue a decision on whether the Confluence Health lawsuit will be dismissed.