Full approval of COVID-19 vaccine could impact suit of 9 terminated firefighters

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The lawsuit filed by nine terminated firefighters against the Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services and its commissioner, Dennis Mendiola, could possibly be impacted once the Food and Drug Administration fully approves the COVID-19 vaccines. Currently, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are under an Emergency Use Authorization but both have already started the process for full FDA approval, with the latter possibly gaining full approval as early as next month.

During a hearing last week, Superior Court Associate Judge Joseph Camacho was notified by the parties involved in the case of the anticipated full approval of the vaccine.

Following the hearing, Camacho ordered the parties to keep a close watch on any development with the EUA of the COVID-19 vaccine and file a notice to the court if or when an event occurs.

Camacho said if or when the vaccines are fully approved, the court will give the parties the opportunity to make additional arguments, if necessary, as the posture of the case and some of issues may change.

While the approval of the vaccines is being closely monitored by the parties, Camacho said he would take under advisement the firefighters’ request for a preliminary injunction that would reinstate them to their previous positions while a decision on their lawsuit is pending.

The plaintiffs in the case are Paul Acebedo, Jose K. Angui, Allen T. Calvo, Cain C. Castro, Argenon A. Flores, Derek B. Gersonde, Shawn DLR Kaipat, Philip Kalen, and Adam J. Safer. They are represented by attorney Joseph Horey.

The plaintiffs were terminated for insubordination following their refusal to take the COVID-19 vaccine.

Kimberly B. Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.
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