A group of anti-vaxxers, led by the suspended cop who is part of another group that screams at Michelle Wu's kids about how their mom is Hitler, today filed a federal suit to try to overturn the city's requirement people show proof of vaccination at restaurants and other indoor spaces - hours before Wu announced she was lifting the mandate because of how far Covid-19 statistics in Boston have fallen.
The court issued a summons to the city at 2:13 p.m. that the suit had been filed; there is no indication in the online docket that anybody in the city's legal department had received notice of the suit by roughly 5:52 p.m., when Universal Hub received a copy of a press release from the mayor's office announcing the immediate lifting of the mandate.
Even if the indoor-vaccination-requirement part of their suit, filed in US District Court in Boston, is ruled moot, the 14 people named in the suit also have other issues: They are also seeking to have a judge declare the entire Boston Public Health Commission board unconstitutional - as well as the state law that lets local boards of health declare public-health emergencies. They allege the health commission is unelected and so has no power to enact what are essentially laws and that even in communities where health boards are elected, their emergency pandemic regulations are an affront to the First, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. In Boston's case, that means the city is allegedly violating their rights to bodily integrity and religious observance - and their right to keep their personal medical information private.
Nowhere does the 29-page complaint attempt to show why Jaccobson v. Massachusetts, the 1905 Supreme Court decision, still in effect, that allows governments to take extraordinary steps during a health crisis, somehow does not apply. Nor does it attempt to provide a similar rationale for why a December 2020 ruling by the state Supreme Judicial Court that a 1950 civil-defense law allows for emergency orders during a health emergency does not apply.
The 14 plaintiffs all claim discrimination by Boston because they are exercising "sincerely held religious beliefs" that require them not to take what the suit repeatedly calls "vaccinations," as if there is some doubt as if they really are vaccinations. All allege they were, at a minimum, "shocked and dismayed" at the city's nerve in requiring them to show proof of vaccination just to eat a pizza in peace.
Among the plaintiffs are parents of two Northeastern students allegedly outraged their children got "vaccinations," over their parents' wishes, even though Northeastern announced its decision to require vaccinations in April, months before Boston announced its indoor-space vaccination requirement, an unvaccinated home schooler outraged she can't take her unvaccinated son to the Franklin Park Zoo and another unvaccinated mother who says the order has made it impossible to enjoy parenting her two children and worsened her depression.
The list also includes unvaccinated people who claim they lost their jobs or work simply because they refused to get "vaccinations" and a gym owner who claims the order has cost him money because former patrons no longer come in.
Also included: A Mass General Brigham worker 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 Wu announced the city vaccination requirement and nearly two months before it went into effect.
And then there's the first listed plaintiff, Shana Cottone, a currently suspended BPD sergeant and leader of another group that regularly stands outside Wu's Roslindale home screaming about the city's attempts to force employees to get vaccinated. She says she was forced to endure "public ridicule, embarrassment and severe emotional distress," not because she stands outside the mayor's house with people who routinely shout racial slurs and tell Wu's children their mother is going to jail, but because when she attempted to eat in a Boston restaurant and refused to show proof of vaccination, the restaurant called police on her.
The complaint does not specify which restaurant. However, on Jan. 15, she helped lead a protest march against Boston vaccination mandates, which included a stop at Regina Pizzeria in the Fenway, at which she refused to show any vaccination proof, then refused to leave, at which point workers called police, whom she then proceeded to insult as well.
In addition to lifting the ban that was just lifted and outlawing Boston's public-health agency and prohibiting any local public-health mandates, the group also wants to be awarded damages for their troubles, plus lawyers fees.
Complete complaint (1.3M PDF).