Judge rules fired Tennessee vaccine official Dr. Michelle Fiscus cannot pursue monetary damages

An attorney for Fiscus says she plans to appeal

A federal judge has ruled that Tennessee's former vaccination chief Dr. Michelle Fiscus cannot pursue claims for monetary damages against the state's top two Department of Health officials after her controversial firing last summer. / Photo by John Partipilo/Tennessee Lookout

A federal judge has ruled that former Tennessee vaccination chief Dr. Michelle Fiscus cannot pursue claims for monetary damages against the state's top two Department of Health officials after her firing last summer - but the remainder of her lawsuit seeking a 'name-clearing hearing' and a finding that the state violated her constitutional rights continues.

U.S. District Judge Waverly Crenshaw Jr. ruled the two state officials - Department of Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey and Chief Medical Officer Tim Jones - are entitled to "qualified immunity," a legal doctrine that can shield government officials from lawsuits over actions taken in the course of their jobs.

Fiscus plans to appeal the ruling to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, her attorney, Chris Smith, said Monday.

(READ MORE: Emails reveal dismay, anger over vaccine chief's firing)

"We respect the court's ruling and the decision to allow the claim for injunctive relief to move forward," Smith said in an emailed statement.