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Judge: Minnesota inmates can sue state over COVID concerns


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    MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Ramsey County judge ruled Wednesday that a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota (ACLU-MN) can proceed against the Minnesota Department of Corrections (MNDOC) over its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Judge Sara Grewing ruled that all MNDOC 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.

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

“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,” Judge Grewing said.

MNDOC Commissioner Paul Schnell pledges that all inmates will be vaccinated by April 9.

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