The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has revived a lawsuit filed by employees of Tyson Foods who contracted COVID-19 at work.
The same appeals court ruled in July that Tyson wasn’t acting under the direction of the federal government when it remained operational during the pandemic, leading to this latest decision.
Forty-one employees of Tyson Foods who worked at a facility in Texas filed the lawsuit claiming the company was negligent when it failed to follow federal guidance meant to protect workers from the coronavirus.
District court’s decision conflicted with prior ruling
Tyson removed the case to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, asserting federal officer removal jurisdiction, meaning it had been operating under federal orders to remain open in the early days of the pandemic. That court found federal officer removal jurisdiction existed which led to the court dismissing the lawsuit.
The employees appealed and the Fifth Circuit vacated the dismissal of the case and remanded it back to the district court for further proceedings.
The Fifth Circuit said this was because its July ruling that Tyson wasn’t acting as an agent of the federal government conflicted with the district court’s decision that said it was.