LAWSUIT: Missoulians vs Missoula Health Board and Ellen Leahy Over COVID-19 Restrictions
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More Montana officials are in hot water for their responses to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Last month, a lawsuit was filed against former Governor Steve Bullock and the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services.
Last week, more citizens filed suit against officials, this time in Missoula County. The suit was filed against the Missoula City-County Board of Health and Ellen Leahy, Missoula City-County Health Director, for their response to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The lawsuit was taken up by trial lawyer Quentin M. Rhoades of Missoula. Health Director Leahy is set to retire this summer.
The lawsuit points to specific decisions and orders made by Health Director Leahy and the Board of Health including mandatory face coverings; restricting premise capacity, hours of operation, physical distancing, traffic flow, customer service and gathering size; mandatory disclosure of private health status information by employees and guests; and denial of human and family contact. The lawsuit states,
“Missoula County members have lost income, employees, customers, businesses and livelihoods as the proximate result of Defendants’ actions as alleged herein. They have been forced to wear masks or forego public accommodations in violation of their consciences. They have had their religious worship interfered with or curtailed. They have suffered severe medical complications from the effects of being forced to wear masks in public settings and other restrictions imposed by Defendants.
They have suffered depression, anxiety, bouts of post-traumatic stress disorder and other emotional and psychological damage from the effects of being forced to wear masks in public settings. They have been targeted, accosted, subjected to public humiliation, and refused service for not wearing masks, even when medically exempt. They have been humiliated by being forced to wear what they view as an outward symbol of political submission and to hide their most distinguishing outward characteristic, their faces, behind government-mandated masks.”Laswuit. Missoulians vs Missoula Board of Health and Ellen Leahy. Jan 19 2020.
There are many allegations listed in the lawsuit. One such allegation is that Leahy and the Health Board have put neighbors against neighbors in Missoula County by having, “encouraged citizens to make anonymous denunciations of businesses and individuals who are not regarded as being ‘in compliance’ with Defendants’ COVID-19 response, turning neighbors against neighbors and dividing the community.”
Another allegation includes conscripting businesses to enforce orders by threatening fines, closures and prosecution.
One plaintiff in the lawsuit, Bronwen Llewellyn-Littlewolf, indicated that she has been denied access to public accommodations at business and grocery stores because of her inability to wear a mask due to a medical disability that makes it unsafe for her. “[The county’s] activities interfere with her ability to support herself and to access goods and services she needs for daily living,” the suit states.
The lawsuit also provides science-based information about why masks and lockdowns do not work in the first place.
The relief sought by citizens against the Health Board and Ellen Leahy include a permanent injunction against enforcement of the health board rules to the extent their rules:
1. Restricts residents who do not have COVID-19 and are reasonably believed not to have COVID-19;
2. Restricts residents who have not been exposed to COVID-19;
3. Requires private businesses and individuals to enforce Defendants’ rules and orders; and
4. Infringes upon Plaintiffs’ individual constitutional rights.Laswuit. Missoulians vs Missoula Board of Health and Ellen Leahy. Jan 19 2020.
It is worth noting that writer Laura Lundquist indicated in her report for the Missoula Current that a few of the individuals filing suit against Leahy and the Health Board are “newcomers” to Montana, seemingly suggesting that they have no standing for recourse in a state they currently live and/or own a businesses in.
Read the full lawsuit:missoula-county-ellen-leahy-board-health-lawsuit