A group of anti-vaxxers who sued to try to block a Boston indoor vaccine mandate aren't letting the end of the requirement stop them: They've filed an amended complaint that now seeks $6 million for each of them for alleged harm the rule did them.
The 16 people - up from 14 in the original complaint - are still also asking for a ruling in US District Court in Boston that the Boston Public Health Commission is unconstitutional and should be dissolved and that the state law that lets local boards of health issue emergency pandemic regulations is equally an affront to the Constitution and should be tossed on the dung heap of history.
Shana Cottone, a Norfolk resident and Boston Police sergeant who also leads another group that likes to spend its mornings yelling outside Mayor Wu's house, remains the lead plaintiff in the case. The amended complaint was filed in US District Court in Boston today by Richard Chambers, a Lynnfield lawyer being funded by Make Americans Free Again, a group founded by Pam Popper, a naturopath fighting what others might call "science" but which she calls a "Covid Political Propaganda Plandemic."
Cottone alleges she was discriminated against because the vaccinations are against her religious beliefs and that, as a diabetic, the law put her at risk when she led a protest march against the then active vaccination requirement on Jan. 15 and was not allowed to eat at two pizza places along the route. She says she is now on the verge of losing her BPD job because the department has launched an investigation into whether her conduct at one of the pizza places - which she refused to leave even after workers called 911 and on-duty officers responded - is conduct unbecoming an officer and trespassing. Cottone, who had already been suspended from her job for other reasons before the incident, alleges she continues to suffer "embarrassment, humiliation and mental anguish."
The other unvaccinated plaintiffs also charge they suffered various forms of humiliation and mental anguish and, in some cases, monetary damages, because of the way they claimed the emergency order, enacted as omicron surged, made them pariahs.
One charges she and her husband had to leave Dorchester for the suburbs for their weekly "night out" because their refusal to get shots meant their local restaurants would bar them. Another says she had to drop out of outings to local indoor places with family and friends, making her feel "isolated from participating in events and social gatherings in public, causing her fear and anxiety."
Another plaintiff is a Mass General employee who lost her job after refusing the hospital's own vaccination mandate - and who is already part of another suit by Mass General Brigham employees over the hospital mandate, which she now says is also the city's fault, even though the hospital required its workers to get shots by Nov. 5, six weeks before Mayor Wu announced the city vaccination requirement and nearly two months before it went into effect.
Other plaintiffs include a mother who says she could not take her daughter to the Franklin Park Zoo; a musician barred from performing with his band one time because the establishment wanted proof of vaccination; a gym owner who claims he lost business; a hotel worker who claims she was fired for not getting a shot; a Lyft driver who says he lost business because he could not drive in Boston and had to limit his pickups to the less-passenger-dense suburbs; a Boston Public Library worker who not only doesn't want a shot but refused to even undergo Covid-19 testing; a businessman who had to "forego important meetings with clients in Boston;" and a home-schooler who couldn't bring her kids to any Boston museums and who felt "intimidated and embarrassed" when police showed up to make her leave a Regina Pizzeria for want of vaccination proof.
All of this horrible suffering warrants compensatory damages of $1 million each and punitive damages of $5 million each - in addition to outlawing the BPHC and ditching the ability of other local health agencies to enact emergency regulations, they say.