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2 Beverly Hills Firefighters Sue Over Vaccine Mandate

BEVERLY HILLS (CBSLA) – Two Beverly Hills firefighters and a nonprofit group are suing Los Angeles County and the city of Beverly Hills over the coronavirus vaccination mandate.

The Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit was brought Friday by Beverly Hills firefighters Josh Sattley and Ettore Berardinelli Jr. and the organization Protection for the Educational Rights of Kids. PERK's website states it is a grassroots organization dedicated to empowering parents, educators and parents to take an active role in education-centered legislation.

However, the city said the work of emergency first responders puts them on the front lines of patient care.

"While we have not yet seen the lawsuit, the city remains committed to protecting the health of our residents and visitors during this ongoing pandemic," a Beverly Hills spokesman said.

A representative for the county could not be immediately reached for comment.

In August, L.A. County Health Officer Muntu Davis issued an order requiring all health care workers in Los Angeles County get a COVID-19 vaccine, including firefighters. The suit alleges Davis' actions were arbitrary and capricious because he failed to consider evidence of the coronavirus shots' effectiveness and necessity as well as the costs of the mandate, including short- and long-term side effects that have allegedly been linked to them.

"These actions are blatantly unlawful," the suit alleges. "Muntu Davis does not have the authority to order thousands of workers to get a medical treatment. The city does not have that power either."

While some employers have recognized requests for religious and medical exemptions, the city of Beverly Hills wants universal vaccination, according to the suit.

Sattley objected to the vaccine mandate and has been on unpaid leave for months, the suit states. Berardinelli received a religious exemption, but has been under constant review by the city and subjected to retaliation, the suit alleges.

While extending his religious exemption earlier this fall, the city assigned Berardinelli, who recovered from a COVID-19 infection and believes he has natural immunity, to a different job that receives far fewer calls, according to the suit.

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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