A federal judge today tossed a former BU theology grad student's attempt to permanently ban the school from ever making her take a nasal Covid-19 test should she return to classes and should the school resume Covid-19 testing.
US District Court Judge Denise Casper agreed with BU that Caitlin Corrigan's suit, filed on March 23, was now moot because the school has ended its testing requirements.
Casper rejected attempts by Corrigan - who loves ivermectin as much as she hates Covid-19 vaccines - to keep the suit alive because BU could reimpose the testing requirements in the future. Casper wrote that federal lawsuits generally require proof of current or imminent harm:
Mere speculation that a defendant will repeat challenged conduct cannot rescue an otherwise moot claim.
Also, Casper rejected Corrigan's argument that BU withdrew its testing regime only because of her suit. Although BU announced the impending end of its required testing on March 24, the day after Corrigan filed her suit, that came after the university had already made clear it was winding down its more active measures against Covid-19, Casper wrote. For example:
On March 1, 2022 - three weeks before Corrigan initiated this action - BU issued a communication to the entire BU community, ending the mandatory testing requirement for faculty and staff and the mask requirement in most areas on campus. ... This suggests that the termination of BU’s mandatory testing program for students was "an event that was scheduled before the initiation of the litigation, and [was] not brought about or hastened by any action of the defendant."
And the March 24 announcement - the one posted the day after Corrigan's suit - discussed further progress in the battle against Covid-19 transmission on campus, the judge continued:
After almost two years in place, BU retired the program not in response to Corrigan’s lawsuit, but rather because of more favorable trends in regard to COVID-related illnesses and hospitalizations.
Corrigan entered BU's two-year theology graduate program in the fall of 2021 with a side gig of advising people how to file for religious exemptions to vaccination requirements.
Corrigan formally did not raise religion in objecting to BU's testing requirements, but instead to the alleged physical harm she said the use of nasal swabs would cause her - violating her rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
She requested that she be allowed to use an alternative saliva-based test, but BU rejected that and, in October, suspended her and barred her from the campus for at least two months. She appealed her suspension, but BU twice rejected her appeal.
She then moved back to Long Island and briefly ran for a Congressional seat as a 2020-denying Trump-supporting Republican, but elections officials removed her name from the Republican primary.