The State Attorney General’s Office has appealed a State Supreme Court ruling that said the State Department of Health exceeded its authority by using rulemaking process for isolation and quarantine procedures.
The lawsuit against the State Department of Health had been brought by State Senator George Borrello and others in regards to the enactment of a state DOH regulation that establishes isolation and quarantine procedures for those who are suspected of having a communicable disease. The proposed regulation was adopted as an emergency regulation on February 22, 2022 and has been renewed at 90-day intervals through July 20, 2022. It has also been published in the New York State Register for permanent adoption through the rulemaking process.
The proposed rule would allow the Health Department to coordinate with a local health authority to mandate isolation and quarantine for individuals exposed to communicable diseases, even in locations beyond their own homes.
Cattaraugus County State Supreme Court Judge Ronald Ploetz issued a ruling on July 8, 2022 that cited the fact that there is already established Public Health Law governing isolation and quarantine which balances individual rights and the need for public safety.
He notes that in Rule 2.13 there is “no such due process protections…The Commissioner has unfettered discretion to issue a quarantine or isolation for anyone, even if there is no evidence that person is infected or a carrier of the disease… Involuntary detention is a severe deprivation of individual liberty, far more egregious than other health safety measures… Rule 2.13 merely gives “lip service” to Constitutional due process.”
In response to the state’s appeal, State Senator George Borrello issued a statement saying the state’s appeal is “disappointing, but not a surprise,” calling their actions, “.. an egregious waste of taxpayer dollars and an attempt to defend an indefensible policy. The constitutional separation of powers and the right of due process are principles that cannot be compromised.”
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