A lawsuit requesting a court order to make current and future COVID-19 health orders initiated by Gov. Mark Gordon, State Health Officer Dr. Alexia Harrist, and Park County Health Officer Dr. Aaron Billin, along with nearly every county health officer in Wyoming null and void, has been dismissed in Johnson County District Court.
On May 10, Judge William Edelman granted the respondent’s motion to dismiss the case. In his dismissal letter, Edelman cited many procedural flaws in the way the case was filed as well as problems with the claims brought forth.
“Dismissing a claim is a drastic remedy, which this court applies sparingly and with great hesitation. However from the outset of this case, the petitioner has failed to comply with the Wyoming rules of civil procedure,” Edelman wrote. “The petitioner failed to establish facts to support standing to bring the claims in the manner they pled and consequently, the petitioner failed to state claims which this court may grant relief.”
Attorney and former Cody resident Nick Beduhn filed the case and Cody resident Boone Tidwell helped recruit many of the petitioners involved.
The suit asserted the state was guilty of multiple violations of the state and federal constitutions. It claimed these violations involved the application of faulty and inflated COVID-19 case data, which was used to initiate unjustifiable health orders.
While serving his suspension for practicing law, Beduhn had actually worked under Edelman while assisting with the Incarceration Diversion Program, a pilot program Edelman administered.
The cornerstone of Beduhn’s argument was that Gordon and Harrist violated laws under a faulty premise of “public health emergency.”
Residents from around the state were included in the case, claiming restrictions imposed by Gordon, Harrist and the county health officers caused a variety of injustices.
Most of the county attorneys responding to the case didn’t bother addressing the topics at hand and instead, criticized the venue and way the case was brought forth.
Park County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jack Hatfield filed motions to dismiss on March 15 for:
•Lack of subject matter jurisdiction
•Lack of personal jurisdiction
•Insufficient service of process
•Failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted
“Because the summons was not served upon a person authorized to receive service for the county officer or agency, the amended petition should be dismissed on this ground, without prejudice,” Edelman wrote.
Edelman also said the claims brought forth do not qualify for a court order, even if legitimate, and that they failed to establish any harm resulting from COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction testing and marketing the Wyoming Department of Health initiated to draw awareness about the pandemic. In their original filing, the petitioners questioned the legitimacy of the PCR tests commonly used for detecting the presence of COVID-19.
“The petitioners failed to address harm of PCR tests,”Edelman wrote. “The only statute the petitioners criticize is defining what a ‘public health emergency’ means and who can declare it.”
Edelman did take Beduhn’s side on a few details in the case and agreed that the expiration of health orders did not make them a “moot” point. as one of the respondents claimed, as the health orders could easily be re-filed again.