June 15, 2021

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Management of the Covid-19 epidemic: demands for collective action rejected

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More than 600 citizens and some associations had taken legal action to obtain the publication of documents relating to the management of the Covid crisis.

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Justice did not respond to their request. The Paris judicial court rejected, Wednesday, June 9, the request of more than 600 citizens and a few associations, who had taken legal action to obtain the publication of documents relating to the management of the Covid-19 crisis. LThe court ruled that the applicants, which included members of the medical staff and relatives of victims of the disease, did not “position[nés] clearly on the nature of the action envisaged on the merits in connection with the information requested“. The number and heterogeneity of members of the action and of the organizations targeted as well as “the diversity of the subject of requests” born “do not allow the court to characterize, for each of the plaintiffs, a potential future dispute”, specifies the court in a press release.

The applicants had grouped together in a collective action on behalf of the “right to know” and had requested, during a hearing on March 3 with the summary judge, the communication of numerous documents. Their “referral-probationary” targeted three aspects of public and private management of the health crisis: the shortage of masks in spring 2020, possible instructions on a “sorting of patients “ in hospitals and the significant excess mortality recorded in residential establishments for dependent elderly people (Ehpad). Among the institutions and companies targeted were the Assistance publique-Hôpitaux de Paris (AP-HP), the Regional Health Agency (ARS) of Ile-de-France, but also customs and the Carrefour and Leclerc groups.

The court also noted that some requested documents already have “been made public “ where are already “accessible” and “various commissions have already started an analysis of the impact, management and consequences in all its dimensions of the epidemic (…) in addition to several criminal proceedings also underway”.

Several proceedings have in fact been initiated against ministers before the Court of Justice of the Republic (CJR), the only body empowered to judge them in the exercise of their functions, in particular for “abstention from fighting a disaster”. Furthermore, 365 complaints against officials of the administration have been filed since March 24 at the public health pole of the Paris court.

Five investigating judges are seized, in pairs, of four judicial inquiries, opened on November 10, 2020 against X for “voluntary abstention from fighting a disaster”, “endangering the life of others” or “manslaughter and unintentional injury”.



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