New Complaint Reduces Trial Scope of COVID-19 Warrant | Crime-and-courts

A revised complaint in the sweeping federal lawsuit to overturn Wyoming’s COVID-19-related executive and public health orders has narrowed the suit’s scope — and left out its best-known plaintiff.

Thursday’s updated lawsuit comes after U.S. District Judge Nancy Freudenthal ruled that the original 128-page complaint did not state a succinct cause of action and did not follow federal filing rules.

As in the first complaint, the new version states that Wyoming extended its state of emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic longer than necessary in order to obtain federal funding.

The new complaint involves nine parents of Wyoming school children, but not Grace Smith, the Laramie High School student arrested for trespassing in October after returning to school while suspended for refusing to wear a mask. Smith’s father, Andy, is also not named in the second amended complaint.

It’s unclear why the Smiths, who came to national attention after Grace’s arrest, aren’t included in this most recent filing, or if they still plan to participate in the prosecution. Their attorney could not be reached for comment on Friday.

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The complaint focuses on mask mandates in public schools in Wyoming, including districts in Sheridan, Albany, Laramie, Goshen, Sweetwater and Uinta counties.

The first version of the lawsuit cited the Ron Paul Institute, Breitbart News, blogs including and the Tom Cruise film “Minority Report”. This third version, much shorter at just 15 pages, only references a few news articles and the Governor’s first emergency order regarding COVID-19.

The lawsuit plaintiffs are represented by Buffalo attorney Nick Beduhn, who did not return a request for comment on Friday. Beduhn previously sued the governor and health officials in March in a bid to stop all state orders and restrictions regarding COVID-19, but the suit was dismissed two months later by a county judge. of Johnson.

Grace Smith and Wyoming parents sue governor and health officials over COVID-19 warrants

Parents who wore the costume said their children had been bullied or harassed by staff and students for not wearing a mask at school. Some said their children suffered from health conditions, including asthma or anxiety, which were made worse by wearing a mask for long periods of time.

Earlier this month, the Laramie-based nonprofit Families for Healthy Communities was added as an intervenor in the case. Attorney Megan Hayes, who represents the Public Schools Parents Group, said the organization wants to join the lawsuit to defend Wyoming families in favor of COVID-19 measures designed to stop the spread of the virus in schools. schools.

As an intervenor, the class can file motions to dismiss, present evidence and, if the case goes to trial, testify.

Many defendants — including every named school district, the Sheridan Police Department and state health officials — had been fired from the previous complaint. But because they were dismissed without prejudice, all the initial defendants are still concerned thanks to this new file.

Others, including Gov. Mark Gordon and affected county health officials, have yet to file responses or motions to dismiss in the case. A spokesperson for Gordon declined to comment on the matter on Friday, citing ongoing litigation.

While the original complaint listed 14 demands for relief — ranging from an injunction against all COVID-19 policies and statements that most preventative measures don’t work — this version only seeks an end to the warrant’s enforcement. masked and a declaration that they are unconstitutional.

Follow city and crime reporter Ellen Gerst on Twitter at @ellengerst.

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