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Judge grants CDC more time to respond to Florida's cruise lawsuit

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A US judge gave the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through July 22 to respond to Florida's challenge of the cruise shutdown.

This is related to the underlying lawsuit; the July 2 deadline for responding to the preliminary injunction still stands.

The CDC had requested an approximately 30-day extension to address the original complaint, until Aug. 2, but Florida did not agree, proposing a two-week extension instead. So US District Judge Steven Merryday made a compromise.

A second extension

The US was served with Florida's challenge to the conditional sailing order on April 13. The original deadline for CDC to respond, June 14, was extended by the judge until July 1 after the agency cited the time spent on Florida's intervening litigation over the motion for a preliminary injunction, as well as time spent in mediation.

On June 18, Merryday granted Florida's motion for preliminary injunction and said the state has a likelihood of success on several of its claims. The injunction was stayed until July 18 and the judge invited CDC to file a motion by July 2 for a 'narrower injunction both permitting cruise ships to sail timely and remaining within CDC's authority as interpreted' by the court.

As well, the parties were ordered to return to mediation before Magistrate Judge Anthony Porcelli.

Why CDC asked for more time

In its request for more time, CDC said it was still reviewing the order, including consideration of whether to seek a narrower injunction, appellate review or other relief 'as well as any other options that may be available.' And the CDC's attorneys noted they must also address the demands of additional mediation.

'Several novel issues'

They stated any response to Florida's complaint would need to take into account Merryday's 'lengthy' preliminary injunction order — 124 pages — 'which addresses several novel issues.'

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