A religious discrimination/invasion of privacy lawsuit filed by former “General Hospital” actor Ingo Rademacher — who was fired in 2021 after 25 years with the show for opposing the network’s directive to be vaccinated against the coronavirus — should be dismissed, ABC attorneys argue in new court papers in which they also defend the network’s vaccine mandate.
The 51-year-old Rademacher sued ABC in Los Angeles Superior Court in December 2021. He alleges ABC wrongfully denied him a religious exemption and used the employee mandatory vaccination policy as an excuse to fire him. The company made it look like they wanted him to stay, but claimed they could not accommodate him in order to disguise that he was being terminated for other reasons, the actor further alleges.
The case’s latest motion was filed Wednesday by ABC lawyers who argue there are no triable issues in the case and that Rademacher’s religious conviction claims were suspect.
“ABC’s vaccine policy was the product of an extensive deliberative process at (network parent company) Disney,” the ABC lawyers state in their court papers. “Senior leaders at Disney and experts in medicine, infectious disease and infection control were part of the process to reach this important decision.”
The vaccination rule required applicable employees to be vaccinated by Nov. 1, 2021, unless they qualified for a religious or medical exemption, which would be considered on a case-by-case basis, the ABC lawyers further state in their court papers.
In Rademacher’s case, in July 2021 Chris Van Etten, the co-head show writer, was considering long-term story plans and identified the plaintiff’s character, tycoon Jasper “Jax” Jacks, as among those characters considered for elimination from the daytime series, ABC attorneys state in their court papers.
Although Rademacher filed a request for a religious exemption to the policy in October 2021, during a deposition he admitted that the statements in his written request were either irrelevant or made really no difference to his supposed religious belief, according to the ABC attorneys’ court papers.
“Eventually, Rademacher conceded that he simply put together what he thought would be needed for a religious exemption,” the ABC lawyers argue in their court papers.
What limited information the actor did provide revealed that his opposition to vaccination was rooted in secular, philosophical/moral beliefs as well as `health or efficacy concerns,” the network lawyers allege in their court papers.
“To summarize succinctly, at no point did Rademacher mention that his beliefs are based on, related to, or even loosely connected to any religious text or teaching,” the ABC attorneys argue in their court papers.
A hearing on ABC’s dismissal motion is scheduled March 13 before Judge Stephen I. Goorvitch.
On Dec. 23, Rademacher’s attorneys filed a motion seeking a pretrial judgment in favor of the actor on his religious discrimination cause of action.
“ABC knew about that belief,” Rademacher’s lawyers state in their court papers. “The ABC employee who evaluated Mr. Rademacher’s request for an accommodation … testified (during a deposition) that she had no reason to question the sincerity of his beliefs. But she made no effort to accommodate Mr. Rademacher’s beliefs and decided to terminate his employment to avoid accommodating them.”
The Disney employee had granted multiple requests for religious accommodations to ABC’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate, but she denied Rademacher’s accommodation request and gave him until Dec. 5, 2021, to get the shot, Rademacher’s lawyers state in their court papers.