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MDHHS Pleased with Ag, Food Worker Testing Case Dismissal
Michigan Ag Connection - 09/11/2020

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Thursday issued the following statement regarding dismissal of a lawsuit that had challenged the department's order requiring COVID-19 testing for certain agricultural and food processing employees:

"MDHHS is pleased that we will be able to move forward with testing that will save lives. We look forward to continuing to work with farms, food processing plants and migrant worker camps to protect their employees from COVID-19. Farms have been hit hard with COVID-19 outbreaks, and testing is one of the best tools we have for limiting the spread."

The legal challenge to COVID-19 testing requirements on Michigan farms has been dismissed in the federal court system.

Two Michigan farms -- True Blue Berry Management in Grand Junction, and Smeltzer Orchards in Frankfort -- and several workers filed the lawsuit against the state in August, claiming the testing requirements discriminated against Latinos, who make up the majority of farm workers in the U.S.

Immigrant advocates have called that claim "preposterous" and "absurd." They've pointed out that the testing order applies to workers regardless of race or ethnicity.

Diana Marin, supervising attorney at the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center, says she was "pleasantly surprised to hear that the plaintiffs (the farms) agreed to dismissal "with prejudice."

That means they're barred from filing another lawsuit on the same grounds.

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