City and state ask judge to dismiss COVID vaccine mandate lawsuit


HONOLULU (KHON2) — The city and state asked a judge to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the COVID vaccine mandate for public workers. They said the workers have already received exemptions, which means their lawsuit is not necessary; however, the attorney for the workers said, “not so fast.”

A federal court charge is expected to make a decision on the case on Friday, Oct. 15. Attorney Michael Green said the idea is to give the workers more options. First responders filed the lawsuit in August. Among them, Honolulu Fire Captain Kaimi Pelekai.

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“I have to choose between that career that I’m committed to or put in an experimental drug that I don’t know what it’s gonna do to me in my body, or I got to give all that up.”

Honolulu Fire Captain Kaimi Pelekai said in August

The city and state filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit because first responders have since received a religious exemption. The filing said: “This city is puzzled as to what precisely plaintiffs seek by way of this lawsuit given the fact that the vaccine mandate no longer applies to them.”

Green, who represents the workers, said there are hundreds more included in the class action lawsuit.

“I want a judge to make a pronouncement as to what people are required to do legally. That’s all we want. No one knows what’s going on, except people are terrified,” Green explained.

Honolulu workers who get an exemption are required to get tested weekly. The other three counties allow unvaccinated workers to get tested without an exemption.

“My clients are willing to be tested. It depends on the testing there is because some of the tests are almost as bad as the vaccination. So, we want to agree to what the test is, but they’re all willing to do something other than lose their entire career and their livelihood,” said Green.

He pointed out that he has nothing against the COVID vaccine itself.

“Look, I am vaccinated. My wife almost died from COVID. She got a vaccination after that. We did this to give people a voice,” Green added.

Find more COVID-19 news: cases, vaccinations on our Coronavirus News page

A spokesperson said the city will proceed with its motion to dismiss in court and sent a statement that said: “The city policy regarding employee vaccinations was implemented with advice from medical, public health and legal professional, and follows all applicable laws.”

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