COVID School Closure Lawsuit – Part of a Litigation Wave

Liberty Justice Center Sues Boise-Area Teachers Union Over “Sick-Out.”

I was semi-watching a local TV news broadcast Wednesday morning until one item got my full attention: The Liberty Justice Center (“LJC”) has filed suit against the West Ada School District to prevent a local teachers union from holding any more “sick-out” actions.

From a press release on the LJC website:

Idaho state law bans government employees from going on strike. A group of parents has asked a state trial judge to declare this week’s stunt an “illegal strike” so it doesn’t happen again.  

BOISE, Idaho (Oct 20, 2020) — As the West Ada School District announced it would reopen on Wednesday, a group of parents filed a lawsuit arguing this week’s “sick out” was an illegal union strike, and that the teachers union cannot use the threat of another work stoppage to force the district to meet its demands.

“After weeks and months of preparing to return to school, the teachers union held kids’ education hostage because it was not happy with the reopening plans agreed upon by school officials and the community. Not only is this type of behavior morally reprehensible and harmful to our kids, it’s illegal,” said Dustin Hurst, vice president of the Idaho Freedom Foundation, which is supporting the parents in this lawsuit. “The teachers union must know that it cannot threaten to withhold education from our kids in order to pressure the community to meet its demands.”

The full press release is here:

Lawyers Seek to Vindicate Liberty Rights Across the Country.

I am seeing a wave of suits filed across the country on behalf of business owners, workers, parents, and elected officials whose rights to liberty and the pursuit of happiness are being infringed.  The common theme is a refusal by governors to end their emergency declarations dating back to March when COVID-19 emerged on the scene.

As long as the emergency declarations remain in force, it creates opportunities for people to overreach.

A federal judge in PA declared their governor’s emergency declaration to be too broad, especially since it remained open-ended six months after the virus’ severity and overall fatality had become well understood. See my 10/1/2020 post COVID Lockdown Order in PA Ruled Unconstitutional for a discussion of the U.S. Constitutional issues.


I am a business lawyer.  I describe myself as the “litigation prevention department” because I help my clients use concise contracts that reduce their risk of getting sued.

I encourage my fellow citizens to work with our state legislators to help replace the antiquated, overbroad emergency powers laws on the books with clear, concise definitions of public health emergencies. I suggest requiring each emergency declaration to be for a short period, and to eliminate the ability of any official simply to extend the duration of the declaration.  Require the governor and the legislature to pass each declaration on its own merits. Doing so will allow them to incorporate new information as it emerges.

I submit we can prevent a lot of civil liberties litigation the next time if we take those kinds of steps.

Thank you!

Michael Oswald

Please note: the above post contains educational information. It is not intended as legal advice. Engage an attorney who is licensed in your state to get advice on dealing with any specific legal issue.

© 2020 Michael S. Oswald

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