• Tom Drake

Florida and CDC Lawyers Will Argue Before Judge on Thursday

Judge Merryday will listen because mediation failed.

U.S. District Judge Steven Merryday will hear arguments Thursday in Florida’s suit against the Federal Government to overturn the Conditional Sail Order and show that the CDC does not have the right to shut down an industry Merryday will hold a hearing in Tampa on Florida’s request for a preliminary injunction against restrictions imposed by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This hearing follows two weeks of court ordered mediation where both sides failed to reach a compromise.

Attorneys for the Federal Government will ague that there is not any basis for this suit since the cruise industry has restarted. They wrote in a recent brief “Cruising is on track to resume by mid-summer, and Florida cannot establish an irreparable injury that would occur in the absence of an injunction,” the brief said. “Plaintiff’s original motion was premised on the misconception that an ‘industry’ was ‘shut down’ indefinitely. That was never a valid characterization of the CSO (conditional sailing order), and it is demonstrably not the case now.”

The state’s lawsuit contends that the CDC exceeded its authority with the restrictions and that the conditional sailing order is “arbitrary and capricious.” Also, it alleges that the CDC has violated the Administrative Procedure Act, which deals with how agencies impose regulations and carry out laws.

Department of Justice lawyers have countered by saying the federal government has long had authority to regulate ships to prevent the spread of communicable diseases.

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