Legal Updates

July 29 (New F&F Decision):
1. Caviezel v. Great Neck Public Schools, 10-cv-652 (July 23, 2011) (Joseph W. Carbonaro, Esq., of Counsel)
Martina and Andreas Schenk Caviezel, who claimed their religious beliefs bar them from vaccinating their daughter, lost their bid to enroll the child the Great Neck School District. The Caviezels sought to enroll their 5-year-old daughter, CC, in Great Neck without immunizations. However, after previous rulings denying a preliminary injunction and narrowing claims, Eastern District Judge Arthur D. Spatt ruled that the Caviezels had not shown additional evidence of their religious beliefs to withstand a summary judgment motion on the remaining State claim under Public Health Law §2164(9). This statute offers exceptions to immunization laws for religious beliefs. The text of the decision is available at:

In Caviezel v. Great Neck Public Schools, 10-cv-652, Judge Spatt held that the Caviezels had not shown "a valid religious objection" to immunization. "[B]ecause the plaintiffs present no additional evidence to the Court beyond what was adduced at the preliminary injunction hearing, the Court's analysis of that evidence, as set forth in its extensive Caviezel I opinion, stands." As you may know, last year, Judge Spatt denied the Caviezels' request for a preliminary injunction that would have allowed them to enroll their child in pre-kindergarten, holding that the Caviezels' pantheistic beliefs were genuine but not religious and, therefore, did not deserve an exemption from immunization laws (NYLJ, April, 7, 2010). Later, Judge Spatt denied the their constitutional claims as well (NYLJ, Sept. 28, 2010).

See related citations: Caviezel v. Great Neck Public Schools, 739 F.Supp.2d 273 (E.D.N.Y., September 24, 2010) and 701 F.Supp.2d 414 (E.D.N.Y., April 5, 2010); see also the related NYLJ Article entitled, "Couple's Bid to Enroll Unimmunized Daughter in Public School Rejected" (07-27-2011) at

For further information on earlier updates, or if you have questions about any of the above items, please email


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