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Sean D. Reyes
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Utah AGO Report: Multistate Lawsuits, Comments/Letters/Highlights

SALT LAKE CITY — The information below is a list of the current multistate lawsuits, comments, letters, and other items the state of Utah is involved in, as of January 25, 2022. This information can change at any time and its accuracy may need to be verified.

Vaccine Mandates on Large Employers:

  • Texas v. DOL (Sup. Ct.). Utah joined a 5-state coalition suing the Secretary of Labor challenging the OSHA vaccine mandate. After the petitions were consolidated in the 6th Circuit, 27 states successfully received an emergency application for stay from the U.S. Supreme Court. The states also submitted comments to the Federal Register relating to the proposed rule.

Vaccine Mandate for Medicaid and Medicare Providers:

  • Louisiana v. Becerra (W.D. La.). Utah joined a 12-state coalition suing the Secretary of Health and Human Services challenging the vaccine mandate for Medicaid and Medicare providers. After successfully receiving an injunction in the district court, the government appealed and the U.S. Supreme Court granted the government’s stay, allowing for immediate enforcement. The states also submitted comments to the Federal Register relating to the proposed rule. The district court recently ruled that some of the claims survive and the states may proceed against the rule.

Vaccine and Mask Mandate for Head Start:

  • Louisiana v. Becerra (W.D. La.). Utah joined 24-state coalition suing the Secretary of Health and Human Services challenging the mask and vaccination mandate applying to preschool programs funded by the federal Head Start program. On January 1, 2022, the states successfully received an injunction preventing enforcement. The states also submitted comments to the Federal Register relating to the proposed rule.

Vaccine Mandate for Federal Contractor Employees:

  • Georgia v. Biden (S.D. Ga.). Utah joined a 7-state coalition challenging the executive order requiring vaccinations of all federal contractor employees. The states successfully obtained an injunction stopping enforcement of the mandate. The government appealed, which remains pending.

Elimination of Oil-and-Gas Leasing Program:

  • Juliana v. United States of America (D. Or.). Utah joined an 18-state coalition intervening for purposes of opposing any settlement between a group of student-plaintiffs and the U.S. relating to plaintiffs’ claims seeking to eliminate oil-and-gas leasing programs. The states’ intervention remains pending.

EPA Authority to Seize Control of Power Grids and Electricity Production:

  • West Virginia v. EPA (Sup. Ct.). Utah joined a 19-state coalition intervening in a challenge to EPA’s authority to seize control of power grids and electricity production nationwide. The case will be argued this month.

Moratorium on Federal Oil-and -Gas Leasing Programs:

  • Louisiana v. Biden (5th Cir.). Utah joined a 13-state coalition challenging Biden’s executive order requiring a moratorium on federal oil-and-gas leasing programs. The states successfully obtained an injunction against enforcement of the moratorium. The government has appealed that decision, which remains pending in the Fifth Circuit.

Tax Mandate in American Rescue Plan Act:

  • West Virginia v. Department of Treasury (11th Cir.). Utah joined a 13-state coalition suing the Department of the Treasury regarding its tax mandate provision in the American Rescue Plan Act which would prohibit states from cutting taxes, threatening the state’s cuts to taxes for families, vets and the elderly. The states successfully obtained an injunction prohibiting enforcement, which the government has appealed and remains pending in the Eleventh “

Executive Order Revoking the Keystone Pipeline Border Permit:

  • Texas v. Biden (5th Cir.). Utah joined a 21-state coalition challenging Biden’s executive order revoking the Keystone Pipeline border permit. The district court dismissed the case and the states did not appeal.

“Social Cost” of Carbon:

  • Missouri v. Biden (8th Cir.). Utah joined a 13-state coalition challenging Biden’s executive order requiring a working group to set values for the global “social cost” of carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane that all federal agencies are required to use when monetizing the value of changes in greenhouse gas emissions resulting from regulations and other relevant agency actions. The district court has dismissed the case as not ripe and the states have appealed which remains pending.

Endangered Species Act (ESA):

  • Center for Biological Diversity v. Haaland (N.D. Cal.). The states intervened in a challenge to final rules relating to the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The federal government has indicated that it no longer intends to defend the rule and the states have requested the court to remand without vacatur.

Car-Emission Rule:

  • Union of Concerned Scientists v. NHTSA (D.C. Cir.). Utah joined a 12-state coalition intervening in an action challenging the Trump Administration’s car-emissions rule that withdrew a previously-issued waiver to California.  The EPA had previously issued that waiver only to California under a rule that only allows waiver to California and would permit California to dictate emissions standards. The case remains pending.

Recent Utah-led Amicus Briefs

Agricultural Operation Protection from Deceptive Trespassers:

  • Kelly v. ALDF (Sup. Ct.). Utah drafted an amicus joined by 10 other states requesting the Supreme Court to grant certiorari relating to Kansas’s law that protects agricultural operations from deceptive trespassers.

Transport of Prisoners:

  • Twyford v. Shoop (Sup. Ct.). Utah drafted an amicus joined by 14 other states requesting the Supreme Court to grant certiorari relating to the Sixth Circuit’s rule that poses unnecessary risks to the public caused by permitting transport of prisoners for no valid reason.

Other Amicus Briefs

Utah took the lead on several other amicus briefs and also joined more than 50 amicus briefs last year concerning various issues including First Amendment rights, Second Amendment rights, Fourth Amendment rights, abortion, antitrust, voting rights, energy, environment, and others.

Comments Letters

Utah recently led a 22-state coalition of states submitting a letter to the Department of Labor regarding its proposed rule that threatens the retirement savings of all Americans. The rule amends ERISA fiduciary obligations and encourages the consideration of environmental, social and governance factors in investment strategies.

Utah has joined over a dozen Comments Letters opposing federal regulations and dozens of other letters to the federal administration regarding various issues including antitrust, education, energy, environment, financial, health, religious liberty, and other issues.