Renne Public Law Group RPLG logoRenne Public Law Group Trial Attorney Geoffrey Spellberg successfully represented Monterey County in a lawsuit brought by 16 County employees regarding the Natividad Medical Center’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate. After nine days of trial, with another nine days to go, the plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the case – handing the County a decisive victory.

“This is a significant trial victory for Renne Public Law Group,” said Founding Partner Art Hartinger. “We pride ourselves on being the go-to firm for high stakes public sector litigation. The firm is extremely proud of Geoff and his team in this case.”

One of 21 public health care systems in California, Natividad Medical Center (Natividad) is owned and operated by Monterey County and governed by the Monterey County Board of Supervisors.

After the California Department of Health issued its COVID-19 vaccine mandate on August 5, 2021, the 172-bed hospital complied and issued directives requiring its approximately 1,600 employees to obtain the COVID-19 vaccine.

Natividad instituted a protocol to evaluate whether to grant or deny employees’ medical and religious exemption vaccine requests. Natividad placed employees who were granted medical or religious exemptions on unpaid leaves of absence, with continuing medical benefits and located alternative work positions within the County for the unvaccinated employees.

The 16 plaintiffs in the case—Albano, et al. v. Natividad Medical Center—pursued a claim for religious discrimination claiming that Natividad failed to reasonably accommodate them in connection with the vaccine mandate.

“Geoff Spellberg and his Renne Public Law Group team recently represented the County of Monterey in a very sensitive and challenging employment lawsuit,” said Janet Holmes, Assistant County Counsel of the County of Monterey. “Mr. Spellberg’s advocacy was exemplary. County staff enjoyed working with him; every county representative agreed that his advice brought out the best in these county employees when they testified. The Renne Public Law Group and Mr. Spellberg presented legal arguments both effectively and efficiently; the assigned judge clearly appreciated Mr. Spellberg’s advocacy. Working with the Renne Public Law Group and Mr. Spellberg was a pleasure, with a positive learning experience for all involved!”

A copy of the verdict may be found here.