Most New York State counties, including Monroe, Onondaga, and all the counties in between, have a law on their books which allows the county public health commissioner to issue an order for involuntary isolation if an individual disobeys a quarantine request and is believed to be an immediate threat to public health. And the counties are not shy to enforce the law. Example: One of my brothers, who lives in Auburn, New York, developed Coronavirus symptoms a few weeks ago. The Onondaga County Health Department ordered him to get the test (which he willingly did) and then ordered him quarantined in his home until the test results came back (7 days later). Fortunately, he tested negative, but a County Health Inspector stopped by his house two times a day to make sure he was not leaving the home. If they had found he had “flown the coop”, they likely would have issued an order for his arrest.
Here’s an even better example: A Monroe County resident with Covid-19 symptoms, who refused testing, and then disobeyed a Monroe County Department of Public Health civil order to quarantine himself, was arrested and jailed recently in a County jail in Brighton, New York. He has been isolated from other inmates to prevent COVID-19 spread.
Assuming this selfish and anti-social person passed the virus onto others, who got very sick or died, can his victims or their families sue him for money damages in New York? That’s our New York personal injury law question for today.