Lawsuit over Department of Correction’s handling of COVID-19 will proceed

Published 5:37 pm Friday, April 2, 2021

ST. PAUL — A Ramsey County judge has ruled a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota can proceed against the Minnesota Department of Corrections over its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Judge Sara Grewing ruled this week that all Minnesota inmates could be included in a class-action suit, and that Gov. Tim Walz and Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm can be added as defendants.

The lawsuit alleges that just one-fifth of Minnesota’s approximately 7,600 inmates have been fully vaccinated. Grewing will later decide whether or not the state’s inmate vaccination effort violated state law.

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“At this point in the fight against COVID-19, it is universally accepted that people working and living together are at exponentially heightened risk for contracting COVID-19,” Grewing said.

Department of Corrections Commissioner Paul Schnell says all inmates will be vaccinated by April 9.