In what is getting to be habit in the OSHA ETS litigation with courts issuing orders late Friday afternoons, the Sixth Circuit on December 3, 2021 tersely denied a petition to transfer the case back to the Fifth Circuit. In the same order, the Sixth Circuit also denied, without explanation, the union petitioners’ bid to transfer the case to the D.C. Circuit where there is pending litigation of the OSHA Healthcare ETS issued in June 2020.
The order perfunctorily addressed several pending motions on the docket, including OSHA’s motion for an expedited briefing schedule, which would have set the close of briefing on the merits for December 29, 2021 with oral argument held as soon as practicable thereafter. In denying the motion, the Sixth Circuit stated little more than it was reserving judgment on setting a merits briefing schedule. Obviously, there are a tremendous number of parties with varied interests and a multitude of legal arguments both statutory and Constitutional, which the court clearly recognizes are at play and likely require a schedule that is not rushed.
The next big issue for the court to tackle will be OSHA’s motion to dissolve the stay with the close of briefing just a week away on December 10, 2021. Whether the court will dole out more good news for employers, states, and other challengers to the ETS for the holiday season is anybody’s guess, but a decision before the holidays seems imminent.