Pfizer Diversity Program Suit in Doubt as Appeal May Be Moot

Recent changes to Pfizer Inc.‘s fellowship program aimed at building a diverse workforce suggest that a legal challenge to that program might no longer be valid, a panel of federal appeals court judges in Manhattan indicated.

During oral arguments Tuesday, Judge Beth Robinson of the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit suggested to Pfizer that the appeal appears moot because the company amended the program’s requirements for the 2023 fellowship class by opening it up to applicants of all racial backgrounds.

“I was looking for the mootness argument based on the changes. I thought that would be the logical play for Pfizer but that’s not what I’m seeing,” Robinson told Samantha Lee Chaifetz of DLA Piper LLC, who represented Pfizer.

“I think that is certainly our position,” Chaifetz replied.

Do No Harm, an advocacy group of health-care professionals, students, and policy makers, appealed a federal district court’s December 2022 ruling that the organization lacked standing to block the pharmaceutical giant from continuing its fellowship program.

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