TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The Christie administration has agreed to put new rules in place for quarantines after a woman was held back in 2014 because she had contact with Ebola patients in West Africa, attorneys announced Thursday.
The American Civil Liberties Union said the decision by the Christie administration was the result of a lawsuit filed by Kaci Hickox, a nurse who had been working with Doctors Without Borders in Sierra Leone during the deadly Ebola outbreak in 2014.
She was stopped when she arrived at Newark Liberty International Airport and questioned before being quarantined. She tested negative for Ebola and was later allowed to return home to Maine.
Hickox brought civil rights charges were brought against the Christie administration that were dismissed, but she was allowed to move forward with other parts of her lawsuit alleging false imprisonment and invasion of privacy.
The settlement in the case recognizes the right of a quarantined person to retain counsel and consult with a lawyer, challenge their quarantine, have a hearing, send and receive communications, have visitors, present evidence, and cross-examine witnesses, the ACLU said.
“We’ve achieved what was needed: procedures that will ensure that no one will have to go through what I experienced in New Jersey, and that no one will be quarantined unless it is medically necessary to do so,” Hickox said in a news release. “The settlement upholds the principles and values of liberty and due process.”
Under the agreement, quarantine or isolation will only be imposed when medically and epidemiologically necessary to prevent the spread of Ebola, the ACLU said.
When quarantines are instituted, they must be in the less restrictive means possible, and after other less restrictive measures have been explored, the ACLU said.
A comprehensive order with medical information, and which includes information about rights, must also be issued under the settlement, the ACLU said.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)