A federal judge dismissed Amazon’s lawsuit challenging New York’s authority to investigate the company’s pandemic procedures at a fulfillment center on Staten Island, the latest setback for the online retailer in its ongoing clash with the state.
The suit was dismissed Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Brian M. Cogan in Brooklyn, reaffirming the validity of New York Attorney General Letitia James’s underlying lawsuit against Amazon already proceeding in state court in Manhattan.
The Seattle-based company had argued in the federal suit that James was investigating Amazon in bad faith and that her state powers to probe such health matters were preempted by federal law.
Amazon sued James in February, seeking to block New York from pursuing claims that the company failed to protect employees from the virus in its New York facilities. But the judge on Tuesday ruled James’ state lawsuit was proper.
James alleges that since the start of the pandemic last March, Amazon failed to do enough cleaning and disinfection; didn’t notify workers who had been in contact with infected colleagues; and maintained productivity policies that didn’t give workers enough time for hygiene and social distancing.
Amazon didn’t immediately respond to a message-seeking comment. Amazon has said the attorney general’s findings don’t represent an accurate picture of the company and that Amazon’s response to the pandemic was “industry-leading.”
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