GADSDEN COUNTY WINS MASK LAWSUIT
GADSDEN COUNTY WINS MASK LAWSUITGADSDEN COUNTY, FL - -Second Judicial Circuit Judge David Frank ruled in favor of Gadsden County against Plaintiff Gerald Carroll, who filed a lawsuit on July 27, 2020. Carroll asked the Court to strike down Gadsden County’s mask mandate, alleging that they violated his constitutional rights to privacy and due process.
State Rep. and Attorney Anthony Sabatini represented Carroll. During the August 21, 2020, non-jury trial, Sabatini and County Attorney Clayton Knowles sparred over the order’s constitutionality. The Court ruled in favor of the County late Monday night.
As set forth in his ruling, Judge Frank recognized the constitutional implications of this case and the importance of protecting the health and safety of the citizens of Gadsden County, stating, “At the end of the day, Commissioners were asked to choose between sparing residents the minuscule inconvenience of wearing a mask and saving lives. They chose saving lives. And they did so in conformity with the Florida Constitution.” (Please see the attached Final Judgment and most recent Resolution).
Judge Frank admonished Sabatini in his ruling and stated, “At least four other courts have rejected challenges to local Florida mask ordinances that are stated exactly as stated in the present case. This begs the question, when is enough enough? The Court urges Mr. Sabatini to reflect on the possibility that, at some point, he could be sanctioned for filing frivolous lawsuits.”
Judge Frank recognized the demographic disparity within the County, noting, “Gadsden County’s profile and demographics make it exceptionally vulnerable to the devastation of COVID-19. This includes: nearly a quarter of the residents in the state’s only majority-minority County have diabetes, heart disease and cancer plague the County, the County has a sprawling geography, and there is a lack of transportation and medical facilities.”
“I am extremely pleased with Judge Frank’s ruling in favor of the County in the frivolous lawsuit filed by Mr. Carroll,” Gadsden County Board of County Commissioners Chairman Dr. Anthony Viegbesie, Ph.D. said. “The look of COVID-19 in our community is everchanging, and to slow its spread, we must all be vigilant, wear a mask and follow the laws of the land. The mask mandate is for individuals’ social responsibilities to enhance public safety. I am very knowledgeable of the U.S. Constitution, and I know for a fact that the Constitution does not entitle individuals to infect others with a deadly virus.”
For more information, please contact Gadsden County Public Information at (850) 875-8650 or media@GadsdenCountyFL.gov.
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