Federal appeals court affirms hold on vaccine rule for larger businesses

Staff Report
Ascension Parish business owner Brandon Trosclair joined a lawsuit challenging the Biden administration's vaccine rule for larger businesses.

A federal appeals court on Nov. 12 ordered that a Biden administration rule requiring larger companies to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for workers remain blocked.

A three-member panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans affirmed its ruling, calling it "staggeringly overbroad."

Businesses with 100 or more employees had been required under the rule to vaccinate workers or submit to regular testing by Jan. 4. Penalties of nearly $14,000 per violation could be accessed under the emergency Occupational Safety and Health Administration rule. 

The judges also called the rule "fatally flawed" and said it "grossly exceeds OSHA’s statutory authority."

Business owner Brandon Trosclair, who owns 15 grocery stores in Louisiana and Mississippi, and a group of employees from Texas sued over the mandate on Nov. 5.

In a news release from the Liberty Justice Center, the ruling from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans was called "a complete victory in this stage of the fight against the mandate."

Trosclair, who employs nearly 500 people across the 15 stores, called the ruling a "tremendous success."

A previous Republican candidate for the Louisiana House of Representatives, Trosclair is well-known locally as the owner and operator of the original Ralph's Market on Hwy. 44 north of Gonzales, as well as the Ralph's Market on Hwy. 44 near Pelican Point and the two Butcher Boy stores in Donaldsonville and Plaquemine.

"I am proud to be in this fight on behalf of not just my employees, but all Americans. It’s wrong for the federal government to order me to interfere in the private medical decisions of my team members or to impose insurmountable costs on my businesses. I look forward to taking my fight all the way to the Highest Court," Trosclair said in the statement.

Patrick Hughes, president and co-founder of the Liberty Justice Center, said the ruling represents "a complete and total victory" for the center's clients and "all Americans" at this stage.

"The court rightly recognizes that the federal government has grossly exceeded its authority and is right to grant our request for extended stay. This mandate represents the greatest overreach by the federal government in a generation. It is illegal and unconstitutional and we are committed to ensuring it never sees the light of day," Hughes stated in the release.

The USA Today, which shares the parent company Gannett with this publication, published a Nov. 10 opinion article contributed by Trosclair.

"My employees were heroes last year, now COVID-19 mandate might force them out of a job" was the headline of the opinion piece.