A federal judge today dismissed a Weymouth man's suit against Charlie Baker and Maura Healey over this spring's Covid-19 orders because the man did not show any direct harm to himself in the orders, something that's required for a lawsuit in federal court.
US District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor said that was a fatal flaw in Robert Montgomery Thomas self-filed suit, that he had no "standing" to bring it because he could not show "particularized" injuries from the ordes Gov. Baker issued starting in March to try to address the public-health issues related to Covid-19.
Here, the amended complaint does not allege any facts from which it can be reasonably inferred that Thomas has suffered "an injury that is concrete, particularized, and actual or imminent; fairly traceable to the defendant’s challenged action; and redressable by a favorable ruling." He complains that the executive orders Governor Baker issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic violate his rights under the First, Fourth, Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth amendments to the United States Constitution. In his original complaint, he did not allege that he personally has been injured by the executive orders in question. Instead, he referred to injuries suffered by others who have been adversely affected by the executive orders: the loss of income by workers who were not deemed essential; the increase of domestic and child abuse; the "horrible childhood memories" and "deni[al] of needed peer companionship" experienced by children whose schools were abruptly closed; and, the "deni[al] [of] physician and hospital access" to "the vulnerable seniors and others in need of regular or special medical attention and procedures."
Saylor acknowledged that in his amended complaint, Thomas said he was personally harmed by having medical appointments delayed, by being forced into "involuntary self-imprisonment and harmful solitary isolation," by being forced to buy a mask and by being deprived of the right to interact with his neighbor's children. To which Saylor responded, in measured legal terms: Oh, please.
[D]espite his efforts to allege a concrete, particularized injury, the fact remains that he asserts no claim that is not applicable, in form or substance, to the entire population of the state. Even his claim concerning his medical care amounts to little more than inconvenience in scheduling appointments, which is not a sufficiently particularized injury and in any event is not redressable by the Court.