Air Force Class Action

Religious Exemptions

UPDATE: On July 27, 2022, Judge Matthew W. McFarland in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio granted a class-wide preliminary injunction (PI) in Doster v. Kendall which will remain in place through the resolution of the litigation. The PI extends the relief originally granted to the 18 named plaintiffs to the entire Class, which is defined below. If you fit the criteria below, you are a “Class Member.”  The PI also expands the Class to include the National Guard and clarifies what exactly Defendants are enjoined from doing.

** Excluded from this definition shall be any person within the above class who: (i) opts out, by delivering notice to the Government and Class Counsel in writing of his or her election to opt out, by electronic mail addresses to be filed with Court

Relief Granted:

Defendants, and their officers, agents, servants, employees, and attorneys, and other people acting in concert or participation with them, who receive notice of this preliminary injunction, are PRELIMINARILY ENJOINED from:

(i) taking, furthering, or continuing any disciplinary or separation measures against the Members of the Class for their refusal to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, while keeping in place the current temporary exemption; such disciplinary or separation measures include, but are not limited to, “adverse administrative actions, non-judicial punishment, administrative demotions, administrative discharges, and courts-martial”; for the benefit of Defendants, this includes continuing any administrative separation or punitive processes or initiating the same.

(ii) Defendants shall not place or continue active reservists on no points, no pay status for their refusal to get vaccinated for COVID-19 due to their sincerely held religious beliefs; and

(iii) Defendants shall not refuse to accept for commissioning or enlistment any inductee or appointee due to his or her refusal to get vaccinated for COVID-19 due to his or her sincerely held religious beliefs.

(iv) Further, Members who submitted requests for religious accommodation may cancel or amend previous voluntary retirement or separation requests or requests to transfer to the Air Force Reserve.

If you are a Class Member and are facing imminent adverse action by the Air Force, please contact us immediately.

How do I know if I am a Class Member?

You are a Class Member if you:

  1. You are an active-duty or active reserve member of the United States Air Force or Space Force (this includes, but is not limited to Air Force Academy Cadets, Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC) Cadets, Members of the Air Force Reserve Command, and any Airman who has sworn or affirmed the United States Uniformed Services Oath and is currently under command and could be deployed; AND
  2. You submitted a religious accommodation request to the Air Force from the Air Forces’ COVID-19 vaccination requirement on or after September 1, 2021; AND
  3. Were confirmed as having had a sincerely held religious belief substantially burdened by the Air Force’s COVID-19 vaccination requirement by or through Air Force Chaplains; AND
  4. You either had your request denied or you have not had action on that request.

What does the current temporary restraining order (TRO) protect me from?

The TRO prohibits Defendants (the Air Force and their actors) from enforcing the vaccine mandate against any Class Member.

Will there be a class-wide preliminary injunction (PI) issued after the TRO expires?

Defendants (the Air Force) have been ordered to file a supplemental brief, no later than July 21, 2022, identifying why the Court should not grant a class-wide preliminary injunction.  Counsel for the Class will get a chance to respond, and that response is due on July 25, 2022.  The Judge will then issue a decision on the class-wide PI.  We will update this page with that information as soon as it is available.

How do I reach someone at Siri & Glimstad if I have any questions about my specific situation?

First, please note that if Class Members need to take any affirmative action, we will update this page with that information.  At this time, there is nothing you must do in order to be part of the Class; if you meet the criteria of a Class Member (listed above), then you are automatically part of the Class.

If you have concerns that you are not being treated by the Air Force as a Class Member, or if you have a question specific to your situation, please call us at 458-AIR FORC (458-247-3672) or email us at airforceclassaction@sirillp.com.  We will endeavor to get back to you within 24 hours.

I read in Judge McFarland’s order that I can opt out of the class by sending an email to government counsel and class counsel, but should I?

It is your option whether to opt out of the class or not. It is important that you know that if you choose to opt out, you are removed from the class, and then we are unable to ensure your characterization of discharge, nor can we prevent any additional punitive administrative actions that may be taken against you for your alleged failure to follow a lawful order to receive the COVID-19 vaccination. We recommend that you speak with legal counsel (an Area Defense Counsel (ADC) or legal assistance attorney) before making any decision to opt out.

Where can I read all of the papers filed with the Court?

Below is a list of the relevant Court filings for your review:

Complaint [Dkt. No. 1]

Motion for TRO and PI [Dkt. No. 13]

Motion to Certify Class [Dkt. No. 21]

Defendants’ Opposition to Motion for TRO and PI [Dkt. No. 27]

Plaintiffs’ Reply to Defendants’ Opposition to Motion for TRO and PI [Dkt. No. 30]

Plaintiffs’ Notice of Subsequent Factual Development [Dkt. No. 33]

Defendants’ Opposition to Plaintiffs’ Motion for Class certification [Dkt. No. 34]

Notice by Defendants of Supplemental Authority [Dkt. No 43]

Plaintiffs’ Response to Defendants’ Notice of Supplemental Authority [Dkt. No. 44]

Plaintiffs’ Reply to Defendants’ Opposition for Class Certification [Dkt. No. 46]

Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction [Dkt. No. 47]

Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss [Dkt. No. 51]

Plaintiffs’ Opposition to Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss [Dkt. No. 60]

Defendants’ Notice of Appeal as to the Court’s Order Granting Plaintiffs’ PI [Dkt. No. 62]

Defendants’ Reply in Support of Motion to Dismiss [Dkt. No. 63]

Order Denying Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss [Dkt. No. 71]

Order Regarding Pending Motions (Order granting class certification and TRO) [Dkt. No. 72]

Defendants Opposition To Class Wide Preliminary Injunction with Exhibits [Dkt. No. 73]

Plaintiff Response Brief [Dkt. 074]

ORDER GRANTING CLASS-WIDE PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION

DEFENDANTS’ ANSWER TO PLAINTIFFS’ VERIFIED CLASS ACTION COMPLAINT FOR DECLARATORY JUDGMENT AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF

DEFENDANTS’ RESPONSE REGARDING ONGOING PROCEEDINGS UNDER THE UNIFORM CODE OF MILITARY JUSTICE

What if I am a member of a different branch of the military and am in a similar situation?

If you are in another branch of the military, then you are not a Class Member in this litigation. However, we can evaluate your situation if you fill out this contact form. We will endeavor to get back to you as soon as possible.