NYVIC (New Yorkers for Vaccination Information and Choice)

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The Wexler Decision

X. SUMMARY

For the reasons set forth throughout this opinion, the Court hereby holds that:

1. The Court should not abstain from assuming jurisdiction over the Sherrs and Levys' actions.

2. The Sherrs and Levys have standing to pursue their respective actions.

3. Section 2164(9)'s limitation of the availability of a religiously-based exemption from immunization to "bona fide members of a recognized religious organization" whose doctrines oppose such vaccinations violates both the establishment and free exercise clauses of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

4. The respective beliefs espoused by the Sherrs and Levys as the bases of their claims of entitlement to religiously-based exemptions from immunization under 2164(9) must both be classified as "religious" in nature for purposes of this litigation.

5. Although the Sherrs genuinely oppose vaccination of Jared Ryan Sherr, they do not sincerely hold the religious beliefs that they put forth as the basis for their claim of entitlement to a religious exemption from immunization under 2164. The Sherrs, therefore, are not entitled to the religious exemption that they seek, and their complaint must be dismissed.

6. The Levys do sincerely hold the religious beliefs that they put forth as the basis for their claim of entitlement to a religious exemption from immunization under 2164(9). The Levys, therefore, are entitled to the religious exemption from immunization that they seek. Defendants may not require that Sandra Jasmine Levy be vaccinated as a condition of attending school.

7. Defendants are enjoined from unconstitutionally applying the religious exemption that 2164(9) creates so as to make the exemption available only to "bona fide members of a recognized religious organization," but must offer the exemption to all persons who sincerely hold religious beliefs that prohibit the inoculation of their children by the state.

8. The Court need not rule at this time upon the Levys' request for monetary compensation. Plaintiffs shall notify the Court as to whether they wish to pursue their damages, costs, and attorneys fees claims by no later than Friday, November 6, 1987.

The Clerk of the Court is to enter judgment accordingly.

SO ORDERED.

(signed)

LEONARD D.WEXLER

UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

Dated: Hauppauge, New York

October 21, 1987

FOOTNOTES - Wexler Decision


The Wexler Decision - Menu
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