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North Carolina federal judge rules for transgender state employees challenging health plan – JURIST

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A judge for the US District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina ruled Friday in favor of transgender state employees who were denied gender-affirming health care coverage. Judge Loretta Biggs ruled that the state health plan must offer “medically necessary services for the treatment of gender dysphoria.” The plaintiffs, represented by Lamda Legal and the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF), filed their complaint in 2019, alleging that the denial of coverage for gender-affirming health care by state employer health plans violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, by unlawfully discriminating on the basis of sex and transgender status. Biggs agreed, concluding: Related Issues Transgender health care evokes strong emotional and political views. … But politics and emotion are not admissible as evidence in a court of law. Plaintiffs’ physicians, their experts, all major medical associations, and Defendants’ own outside administrators agree that, in certain cases, gender-affirming medical and surgical care may be medically necessary to treat gender dysphoria. gender. The defendants attempt to create scientific controversy in this uniform settlement through experts mixing their scientific analysis with hypothetical speculation and political hyperbole. However, only science that is relevant, reliable, and offered by a qualified expert is admissible, and the admissible portions of Defendants’ expert testimony, even when taken in the light most favorable to Defendants, do not warrant exclusion in question. The defendants’ belief that gender-affirming care is ineffective and unnecessary is simply not supported by the record. Consequently, its sex-based and transgender-based categorical exclusion of gender-affirming treatments from coverage unlawfully discriminates against Plaintiffs in violation of the U.S. Constitution and Title VII. Julia McKeown, assistant professor in the College of North Carolina State University Education, said the following of the ruling, “I am beyond thrilled by this powerful victory not only for myself but for other transgender employees across the state.” She also noted, “As government employees, all we want is equal access to health care, but we were denied just because we are transgender.”

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US Supreme Court Grants Review of Federal Bankruptcy Case – JURIST

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On Monday, the US Supreme Court agreed to hear MOAC Mall Holdings v. Transform Holdco, a case examining appellate court jurisdiction over sales orders in federal bankruptcy proceedings. The case revolves around the sale and transfer of a lease for a store in a shopping center. In 1991, Sears obtained a lease for a store in the Mall of America in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The lease only cost Sears $10 a year and was supposed to last 100 years. Sears, however, went bankrupt in 2018. As part of federal bankruptcy proceedings, Sears sold its assets and the Mall of America lease was transferred to Transform Holdco LLC, a corporation formed by Sears’ new owners. Mall of America sought to prevent the transfer because they claim that Transform Holdco LLC does not intend to occupy the leased facilities but to sublet them to other companies. Transform Holdco LLC argues that the long-term lease constitutes a substantial portion of the value Sears was sold for in the bankruptcy proceeding. The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit transferred the lease as it was deemed “integral” to a court-approved bankruptcy sale. Mall of America filed a petition with the US Supreme Court, arguing that a remedy is available that would not affect the validity of the sale. Therefore, according to Mall of America, the appellate court should be allowed to intervene. Transform Holdco LLC responds that no such remedy exists, and that the Second Circuit’s ruling should stand. The US Supreme Court must now determine whether federal bankruptcy law limits appeals on sales orders deemed “comprehensive,” even when a remedy is available that will not affect the validity of the sale. The court is set to hear oral arguments in the case next term.

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US appeals court to rehear challenge to Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine executive order – JURIST

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The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued an order on Monday stating that the court will rehear Feds for Medical Freedom v. Biden, a challenge to President Joe Biden’s 2019 executive order that required federal employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or face termination. In late May and early June, America First Legal Foundation, America’s Frontline Doctors, Airline Employees For Freedom Health, and an additional group of vaccine plaintiffs filed four amicus briefs in favor of a new full hearing. The plaintiffs in Rodden v. Fauci also filed a class action lawsuit made up of federal employees who contracted COVID-19, developed COVID-19 antibodies, “but remain subject to the federal employee vaccination mandate.” The Rodden plaintiffs argue that Biden and the “agencies he directs have no power to direct the personal medical decisions of federal employees,” and therefore this executive order is like an illegal government mandate. In addition, the group asserts that the panel’s refusal to review executive employment decisions is unlawful and thus protects “the exercise of unlawful governmental power.” In January 2022, a Texas judge blocked Biden’s executive order. Other state judges have also blocked enforcement of the COVID-19 vaccine mandate. In December 2021, a Georgia judge blocked the COVID-19 vaccination mandate for government contractors after the Texas Governor ordered a statewide ban on all COVID-19 vaccination mandates in October 2021 .

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Ukraine’s richest man sues Russia for loss of property and profits – JURIST

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Ukraine’s richest man on Monday filed a lawsuit with the European Court of Human Rights against Russia for “serious violations of his property rights during Russia’s unprovoked aggression against Ukraine.” Rinat Akhmetov, a Ukrainian businessman who owns much of the country’s manufacturing infrastructure, says he has lost billions of dollars in business since the Russian invasion began. Akhmetov’s announcement highlighted both ongoing human rights violations and infrastructure destruction committed by Russia. He wrote: In addition to the untold human suffering he has caused, Russia’s invasion has resulted in massive destruction of Ukraine’s infrastructure. The shelling of the Azovstal steel complex in Mariupol by Russian artillery seeking to eliminate the last vestiges of Ukrainian resistance in that city has become an international symbol of Russia’s disregard for international law and human rights. As the owner of the Azovstal steel complex, Akhmetov has suffered estimated losses of billions of dollars in both property and profits as a direct result of the Russian invasion. This lawsuit is one of the first initiated by a private individual against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. Akhmetov stated several times throughout the announcement that he hopes the court will award him damages so that Ukraine can begin to rebuild.

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