October 24, 2023 Update
Just last week, the judge presiding over our Peggy Hall vs. Orange County Board of Supervisors case issued a terrible tentative ruling. The counsel representing Orange County argued that our lawsuit was now “moot”, since the local state of emergency had now ended, and it looked like the judge was going to rule in their favor. This was despite the fact that the substantive claims had already been found in our favor in earlier court hearings. This ruling would have dismissed our case before any legal precedent could be set. This could have been it. Case dismissed.
Instead, at the hearing, our legal team turned things around. They convinced the court that there were still active claims against the County in dispute that prevented “mooting” the lawsuit, and the court gave us 30 days to amend and revise our original position, and keep our lawsuit going.
“Under California law and rules of court, where there are changed facts and circumstances, a party must be allowed to amend their Petition to conform to this new reality. Free Now Foundation’s attorneys argued this critical point in court on Monday, and the judge, fortunately, agreed.” – Free Now Foundation Legal Counsel.
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July 17, 2023 Update
This was our first case against a county Board abusing its authority during the COVID era. On May 3, 2022, CHD-CA (now FNF) joined an ongoing lawsuit by Peggy Hall, founder of The Healthy American, against the Orange County Board of Supervisors (“BOS”) and the County of Orange (“County”) to compel the OC BOS and the County to review the local conditions in the County to determine whether these local conditions continued to justify an ongoing local emergency and local health emergency for COVID-19 that were first declared in early 2020.
Under California law, the BOS has a statutory duty to review these local conditions and to terminate the local emergencies at the earliest possible time that conditions warrant. In this case, the OC BOS decided to completely abdicate its own legal duties and instead tie the end of their own local states of emergency to the termination of the state-wide State of Emergency declared by Governor Newsom. After joining the lawsuit, our legal team immediately filed an application for alternative writ to compel the OC BOS to show cause as to why it should not act in the manner required by law. On September 22, 2022, Judge Lee of the Orange County superior court granted our alternative writ application, denied the OC BOS’s demurrer in its entirety, and ordered the OC BOS to either comply with their duties to review local conditions or provide evidence showing their ongoing compliance. However, due to various dilatory tactics by opposing counsel, Judge Lee was removed from the case — and the OSC hearing was moved multiple times and finally pushed out until April 3rd, conveniently past the date of the termination of the state-wide State of Emergency, which finally ended on February 28, 2023.
Like many other Covid-19 lawsuits where a substantive ruling would go against the government’s overreach, Judge McConville, the newest judge in this case, used this delayed hearing date as an excuse to find that the Writ action was now “moot,” meaning that even though Petitioners have had a valid claim all along, which we did, the court could not now issue any effective relief. Opposing counsel is now using this abominable ruling on the Writ claims to try to dismiss the entire case as “moot” and recently filed a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings. Our attorneys will oppose this motion, since without a substantive ruling, there is no reason why any California Board won’t repeat their illegal actions against citizens the next time a local “emergency” is declared.
Aria Morgan is the Managing Editor of Free Now Foundation. Aria is a passionate and accomplished editor with a diverse background in writing for various industries, including music, film, health and yoga, and with published covers and feature credits in national magazines. Aria is dedicated to protecting civil rights and promoting health and medical freedom, and is thrilled to be a part of the Free Now Foundation team.