Federal court denies Tyson COVID lawsuit appeal

A federal appeals court has ruled Tyson Foods can’t claim it was operating under the guidance of the federal government when it tried to keep its processing plants open as coronavirus spread rapidly through its facilities early in the pandemic.

The ruling means the lawsuit involving families of four employees who died after contracting COVID-19 while working at Tyson’s pork processing plant in Waterloo will proceed in state court.

Tyson had sought to move the case to federal court because the company said federal officials wanted to keep its plants running.

Tyson cited former President Trump’s executive order that designated meat processors as essential infrastructure.

Judge Jane Kelly wrote in her decision “the fact that an entity, such as a meat processor, is subject to pervasive federal regulation alone is not sufficient to confer federal jurisdiction.”

A company spokesman says they are disappointed by the court ruling, but Tyson defends its actions to protect workers during the pandemic.

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