Pennsylvania A Legislature Tags In For Third Round of Fight Against Governor Wolf’s COVID-19 Orders (PA)
Pennsylvania businesses, while understanding the unique threat posed by COVID-19, have not been uniformly pleased with Governor Wolf’s various shutdown orders that mandated large swaths of business closures. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court held that Governor Wolf had the authority to implement emergency measures. Businesses attempted to short-circuit the original stay-at-home orders arguing it exceeded the authority of the Governor and was unconstitutional for a litany of reasons. The PA Supreme Court disagreed.
Now, the PA legislature passed a resolution terminating the emergency orders of Governor Wolf. The PA legislature is arguing that the Governor, in light of the resolution terminating the emergency orders, has no choice but to rescind all COVID-19 closures. The Governor, unsurprisingly, disagrees. The Governor points to a provision that requires his approval of almost any order, rule, or law passed by the legislature. Litigation has commenced.
Future employers, hit with lawsuits arguing that an employee was exposed to COVID-19 in the workplace, could point to the resolution by the legislature, indicating that they believed it was “safe” to open and were merely complying with government wishes and trying to start earning money again. Conversely, a plaintiff could point to Governor Wolf’s pronouncements, arguing that it was unwise to open and that the executive branch still considered it unsafe. Thus, given this legal wrangling, on both sides, this will only be one wave in the coming COVID-19 litigation. It won’t be the last.
Thanks to Matt Care for his contribution to this post. If you have any questions or comments, please contact Colleen Hayes.