Judge Grants Change In Lawsuit Against Confluence Health
A judge is granting a request by former employees of Confluence Health to include additional language in their lawsuit against the health care provider.
The workers claim they were wrongly fired for declining to get vaccinated for COVID-19.
The judge is now allowing their complaint to include the claim that they were discriminated against based on medical and/or religious disabilities.
The change comes after Confluence Health filed to have the lawsuit thrown out, specifically stating the plaintiffs failed to include religious and medical exemptions in their wrongful termination claims.
Douglas County Superior Court Judge Brian Huber is currently considering the lawsuit and the motion to have it dismissed.
He told the litigants last week that he would release his decision in the case by issuing a letter instead of holding a hearing.
A motion filed by East Wenatchee Attorney Steve Lacy states that Confluence has already raised and argued the issue of failure to accommodate the plaintiffs’ claims of medical and religious exemptions, and thus allows the court to grant the motion.
Confluence Health also filed a motion seeking to deny the plaintiff's request to include the exemptions.
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 the 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.
A total of 92 employees filed a class action suit in April.