Coronavirus shutdown ruined ‘life-defining moments,’ lawsuit against Newsom says

LOS ANGELES  – Attorneys for an Orange County woman and four other people filed suit Friday in federal court, alleging Gov. Gavin Newsom and fellow lawmakers “used the coronavirus pandemic to expand their authority” and deprive citizens of their rights.

The suit, filed in Los Angeles by the Center for American Liberty, also names California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, Director of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services Mark Ghilarducci and State Public Health Officer Sonia Angell as defendants.

According to the complaint, state lawmakers ruined plaintiffs’ “life-defining moments” as a result of the state shutdown.

“Defendants have used the coronavirus pandemic to expand their authority by unprecedented lengths, depriving plaintiffs and all other residents of California of fundamental rights protected by the U.S. and California constitutions, (including) the right to travel, the right to liberty, the right to the equal protection of the law and the rights protected by the California Emergency Services Act,” the lawsuit alleges.

Messages to a representative for Newsom were not immediately answered. A spokesperson for the AG’s office referred a request for comment to the governor’s office.

Plaintiffs include Orange County woman Monica Six, who contends her April 21 wedding, set to take place in Dana Point, was canceled and reset for later this summer due to the closure of facilities.

Derek and LaurieSue Medlin allege they have been denied contact visits with their special-needs son, who lives in a non medical residential home that provides 24/7 care, as a result of Newsom’s order, according to the lawsuit.

Plaintiff Bailey Batten of San Diego alleges in the complaint that state lawmakers ruined her high school graduation by causing it to be canceled.

Also, an anonymous woman, identified as a breast cancer survivor, contends that although her surgeon deems it necessary to schedule a reconstruction surgery, Newsom has banned hospitals from performing “cosmetic” procedures.

However, Newsom loosened the state’s stay-at-home order Wednesday to let hospitals resume elective surgeries, according to news reports.

The lawsuit cites a memo from U.S. Attorney General William Barr issued on April 27 to all U.S. attorneys, requiring them to identify state directives that could be violating the constitutional rights and civil liberties of citizens.

In the memo, Barr wrote that the Constitution “is not suspended in times of crisis,” and warned that if a state or local ordinance becomes “an overbearing infringement of constitutional and statutory protections,” the U.S. Department of Justice “may have an obligation to address that overreach” in court.

The lawsuit seeks a judge’s order reversing the shutdown order.

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