Federal Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Challenging NY’s Masking, Vaccination Mandate


A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging the state’s COVID-related responses, saying that the lawsuit was largely a “diatribe against COVID-19 policies in general.”

Michael Corrin Strong, a retired lawyer from Geneseo, had argued in a federal lawsuit that the state is wrong to draw distinctions between vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. Strong, who contracted COVID-19, contended that he had a natural immunity in the aftermath of the coronavirus and he should be granted the same allowances as vaccinated people or people who don masks.

In dismissing the lawsuit, U.S. District Judge David Larimer said that Strong’s lawsuit and “its histrionic tenor” had not demonstrated any harm that he had suffered. Strong said he had stopped going to the gym because of masking requirements and that he skipped a concert because it required either vaccination or a negative COVID test.

Strong challenged New York’s use of the Excelsior Pass to demonstrate vaccination status.

“The Excelsior Pass is not a compulsory vaccination program, and indeed (Strong) himself has never been compelled to accept vaccination,” Larimer wrote in dismissing the lawsuit. “He has chosen not to do so, and has not been punished or penalized for that choice by the State.”

In the lawsuit, Strong said that federal reporting showed over a half million “adverse effects,” including 6,756 deaths among people who received the vaccination. But, as Larimer noted, that data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are reports that, according to the reporting mechanism itself, “may contain information that is incomplete, inaccurate, coincidental, or unverifiable.”

In an interview in January, Strong said he has twice had COVID and thinks he has natural immunity and is not in need of a vaccine. He said at age 71 he would have difficulty with masks when exercising.

Vaccine mandates, he said, are leading to “a severe segregation and it’s growing.”

The court’s role is not to establish public health policy or determine the best methods to control the coronavirus, Larimer determined in the decision released this week.

“Whatever their merits or efficacy, it cannot be said that the State’s policies are an irrational means to achieve the legitimate goal of curbing the spread of COVID-19,” he wrote.