Pennsylvania Judge Halts School District’s Mask-Optional Plan
On January 21, 2022, Luke Pepper and his co-counsel filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against Perkiomen Valley School District alleging their “strongly recommended masking policy” violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. The suit alleges that the school district’s policy is contrary to the guidance of the Centers of Disease Control and American Academy of Pediatrics discriminates against medically fragile children who have medical conditions that put them at a heightened risk of COVID 19 complications including hospitalization and death. Per their physicians’ orders, these medically fragile children cannot enter school in a “mask optional” environment. Plaintiffs sought a temporary restraining order to preserve the masking mandate in the school district until a motion for a preliminary injunction was decided.
After oral argument, United States District Judge Wendy Beetlestone entered a temporary restraining order requiring Perkiomen Valley School District to keep mandatory masking in place for 14 days. Plaintiffs filed a motion seeking a preliminary injunction to have mandatory masking stay in place in the school district until the merits of case are resolved. On February 4, 2022 as part of evidentiary hearing to determine whether a preliminary injunction should be entered, the Court heard evidence from a board member for the Perkiomen Valley School District, Superintendent and Director of Special Education of Perkiomen Valley School District.
On February 7, 2022, Judge Beetlestone entered a preliminary injunction finding:
“Plaintiffs have pointed to evidence showing that the optional masking policy will directly contribute to an increased likelihood of contracting COVID-19, as other students in the school district will choose to no longer wear masks in school in the absence of a directive requiring them to do so.”
The preliminary injunction freezes the implementation of the Perkiomen Valley school board’s “strongly recommended” masking policy until the case is resolved.
Mr. Luke Pepper joined Burg Simpson in January 2021 and focuses his legal practice primarily in the areas of complex commercial litigation, pharmaceutical mass tort, and class action litigation including consumer protection, securities fraud, product liability, and construction defects.
Mr. Pepper’s current practice involves primarily complex and class action litigation on behalf of aggrieved consumers, corporate shareholders, and property owners, and pharmaceutical mass tort litigation on behalf of those injured as a result of their ingestion of prescription medications and the implantation of medical devices. In addition, Mr. Pepper represents injured railroad workers under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA).
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One of America’s foremost plaintiff trial firms, Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine, has a longstanding and nationwide reputation for fighting relentlessly and successfully for victims of negligence, malfeasance, malpractice, and abuse. Our award-winning attorneys have never hesitated to fight for our client’s rights and consistently face and defeat formidable adversaries that include big insurance companies, big banks, and big pharma. Burg Simpson has secured more than $2.7 billion in verdicts, settlements, and judgments in practice areas spanning catastrophic personal injury, mass tort and class actions regarding gas explosions, dangerous pharmaceutical drugs and devices, medical malpractice, complex commercial and business litigation, construction defects, and workers’ compensation. The firm’s success has also included more than 200 recoveries in excess of $1 million.
Burg Simpson was founded in 1976 by distinguished American trial lawyer Michael Burg. Mr. Burg is an inductee in the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame and a recipient of the Clarence Darrow Award. He has also been named to the 2016 RoundTable: America’s 50 Most Influential Trial Lawyers by The Trial Lawyer magazine; Law Week’s “Barrister’s Best” as “Best Civil Litigator”; and one of “America’s 50 Leading Trial Lawyers” by the U.S. Legal 500. Mr. Burg has also been recognized by Best Lawyers in America® and Super Lawyers®. Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine now has more than 75 lawyers and over 90 legal professionals. The firm is based in Colorado and has offices in Arizona, Florida, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, California, and Wyoming.
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