Supreme Court Declines to Consider Nurses’ Challenge to NJ COVID-19 Booster Mandate

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

On November 13, 2023, the Supreme Court declined to consider, without comment, the case of Katie Sczesny, et al. v. Murphy, Gov. of New Jersey, et al.  Petitioners in this case are nurses who were subject to Governor Murphy’s Executive Orders Nos. 283, 290, and 294, issued on January 19, 2022, March 2, 2022, and April 13, 2022, respectively, which required workers in healthcare settings to be “up to date” with COVID-19 vaccinations, including boosters for which the employee was eligible.   Although Petitioners each received at least one initial dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, they declined to receive additional boosters for a variety of personal reasons.  After refusing to receive booster shots, three of the nurses were terminated and one resigned to avoid termination. 

Petitioners filed a Verified Complaint on April 21, 2022, seeking a preliminary injunction from enforcement of the Executive Orders.  The application was denied on June 7, 2022.  Petitioners appealed to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals on July 6, 2022, and oral argument was held on March 21, 2023.  On June 12, 2023, Governor Murphy rescinded the Executive Orders at issue.  On June 14, 2023, the Court of Appeals denied Petitioners’ appeal as moot in light of the rescission of the Executive Orders, as there was no longer a “live issue for review,” but offered no comment as to the merits of the case itself and remanded for further proceedings.

In their petition for certiorari, Petitioners argued that the appeal was not, in fact, moot because (a) the mandate could be reinstated, and (b) relief was still available to the nurses in the form of judicial recognition that the Executive Orders were unenforceable, thus nullifying the basis for their termination. 

With the Supreme Court’s denial of certiorari, the lower court’s decision upholding the Executive Orders stands.  Given that the COVID-19 pandemic is, in many minds, in the rearview window, and most vaccination mandates have already been rescinded, it remains to be seen whether the Supreme Court will at some point take up another challenge of this type.

Employers are cautioned to continue to consult with employment law counsel regarding any vaccination policies.


SIGN UP NOW to receive time sensitive employment law alerts and invitations to complimentary informational webinars and seminars.

"*" indicates required fields

By clicking this button and submitting information to us, you will be submitting certain personally identifiable information, or information which used together with other information, can be used to identify you and/or identify information about you, to Nukk-Freeman & Cerra, PC (“NFC”). Such information may be used by NFC to contact or identify you. Personally identifiable information may include, but is not limited to, your [name, phone number, address and/or] email address. We collect this information for the purpose of providing services, identifying and communicating with you, responding to your requests/inquiries, and improving our services. We may use your personally identifiable Information to contact you with time sensitive employment law e-alerts, marketing or promotional offers, invitations to complimentary and informational webinars and seminars, and other information that may be of interest to you. However, by providing any of the foregoing information to you, we are not creating an attorney-client relationship between you and NFC: nor are we providing legal advice to you. You may opt out of receiving any, or all, of these communications from us by following the unsubscribe link in any email we send. However, this will not unsubscribe you from receiving future communications from us which are based upon an independent request, relationship or act by you.