Indiana: County Health Officer Admits Abuse Of Power With Mask Mandate – Settles Lawsuit
No doubt, with this ruling, others will follow suit, and rightfully so. St. Joseph County Health Officer Robert Einterz admitting to abusing his power when he unilaterally issues a county-wide mask mandate, settling a lawsuit against him and the county.
According to the lawsuit, it cited Indiana law that the public health authority many not mandate, but may only “Instruct the public on the use of masks, gloves, disinfectant, and other means of reducing exposure to the disease.”
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Real News Michiana reports:
The settlement agreement gave a judgement in favor of the plaintiff on three issues: 1) The health order itself does not represent the effect of law. 2) The order instructs the public and provides guidelines on mask wearing. 3) The order does not impose restrictions on residents. All of which means signage put up by the health department claiming residents were mandated to wear masks as part of Einterz’s order, were incorrect.
“We were challenging the order as an overreach of power. They (Einterz and the Health Department) didn’t have the authority to issue it.” Goetz said.
Goetz initially filed his lawsuit in October, but due to a health condition that exempts him from the public health order mask mandate, the judge dismissed the case with him as the plaintiff because he technically didn’t have standing.
“I assumed any citizen could challenge the government for violating its own laws.” Goetz said. “The judge was nice enough to let Maureen (my wife) step in as the plaintiff and use the same suit.”
Einterz and his Health Department issued the mask mandates in a series of unilateral public health orders starting in May of 2020. In November, the County Council voted on an ordinance to mandate masks and issue fines for non-compliance. That ordinance was passed 11-days after Goetz filed his lawsuit. The settlement in his case has no impact on the county ordinance or the governor’s executive order that was originally issued in July of last year.
“The County Council’s Ordinance is up for review in April, hopefully they won’t renew it.” Goetz said. ” The Governor’s order will go away eventually too. This will keep Dr. Einterz from abusing his power again.”
“I hope this will have people look at the actions of the Health Department and the government and question whether what they’re doing is legal. Maybe these people aren’t following the law when they issue orders.” Goetz added.
Many local businesses were publicly shamed in stories by the South Bend Tribune for “violations” of the public health order. One story was published in June, before Governor Holcomb’s executive order was even issued. The paper also listed several businesses in a “Repeat Violations” section of an article published in August.
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Einterz has violated the public trust and cause irreparable harm to individuals and businesses by his actions. He should be removed from office after this kind of abuse and never trusted to serve the public again.
However, I hope this is encouraging and that people will take encouragement from the settlement and start dealing with other criminal representatives and bureaucrats in their cities, counties and states.
Article posted with permission from Sons of Liberty Media