An unvaccinated judge serving on the upstate bench is suing New York courts for “paradoxically” barring her from the courthouse and allowing her to practice law, new court filings show.
Judge Jennifer Donlon — one of two part-time judges on the Hornell City, Steuben County courthouse — alleges her requests for religious and medical exemptions from the COVID-19 vaccine were denied without reason, according to her lawsuit in Manhattan Supreme Court Thursday.
The Hornell native, who was appointed to the judiciary in 2017, is not allowed to sit at the bench at the Hornell City courthouse and can only preside over cases remotely, the lawsuit states.
But “when Judge Donlon isn’t on the bench, she practices as a solitary attorney” and “was the first female solitary attorney in town,” her suit reads.
All court employees, including judges, had to be vaccinated by September 27, 2021. The rule would not apply to a private attorney like Donlon who is not a clerk of the court.
“Paradoxically… [she] can enter the courthouse as an attorney, but not as a judge,” her lawsuit alleges.
Donlon claims the contradiction shows the vaccine policy is “purely arbitrary and capricious,” according to the lawsuit.
Donlon’s lawsuit, which named the NY Unified Court System and the NY Office of Court Administration as defendants, seeks to overturn the refusal that barred her personally from the bank.
One of the few judges in the state to deny the stab, Donlon says “she’s an outcast” and that she’ll have a hard time finding a judge who wouldn’t oversee the case with a bias.
“MS. Donlon starts this trial on an uneven playing field,” the suit accuses. “The task of this court is not easy.”
Donlon is asking the judge on the case to “treat her as your Honor would expect treatment if the roles were reversed,” according to the court filing.
NY Courts spokesman Lucian Chalfen told The Post: “As we have not been served and litigation is pending, it would be inappropriate to comment further.”
https://nypost.com/2022/12/09/ny-judge-jennifer-donlon-sues-courts-for-vaccine-denial/ New York Judge Jennifer Donlon is suing courts for refusal to vaccinate