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Fojo Law Files Five Lawsuits Challenging 18 Massachusetts School Districts’ Face Mask Mandates

Our team has filed five additional lawsuits this week challenging 18 school districts’ face mask mandates in Massachusetts as well as the Department of Elementary and Secondary Educations’s state-wide mask mandate.   These lawsuits follow several others that we filed recently, including the most recent one against a Catholic Diocese in Florida challenging its school mask mandate for students. We have been on the frontline of fighting against these mandates by school authorities, and this is evident in a series of similar lawsuits we have pursued for clients, including one against the Hollis/Brookline School District (School Administrative Unit #41), a second one against the Bedford School District (School Administrative Unit #25) in late May, the third one against Londonderry, Epping, and Timberlane School Districts in July, a fourth one against the Exeter School District, a fifth against the Merrimack Valley School District, and a sixth one, on September 7, against a New Hampshire school district’s requirement that students wear face masks while in school. Three of the five lawsuits were filed on behalf of Children’s Health Rights of Massachusetts, a Massachusetts Nonprofit Corporation: one was against the Department and the Bridgewater-Raynham Regional School District, Carver Public School District, Hingham Public School District, and West Bridgewater Public School District; another was against the Department and the Cambridge Public School District, City of Cambridge, Franklin Public School District, Northborough Public School District, Southborough Public School District, Northborough-Southborough Regional Public School District, and Tyngsborough Public School District; and the third one was also against the Department and the Andover Public School District, Attleboro Public School District, Easton Public School District, and Sandwich Public School District. The two other lawsuits...

Fojo Law Files Lawsuit Challenging Florida Catholic Diocese’s School Mask Mandate

Today, our team filed a lawsuit against a Catholic Diocese in Florida, the Diocese of Venice in Florida, challenging its school mask mandate for students. This lawsuit comes hot on the heels of a series of other lawsuits filed against school districts, including one against the Hollis/Brookline School District (School Administrative Unit #41), a second one against the Bedford School District (School Administrative Unit #25) in late May, the third one against Londonderry, Epping, and Timberlane School Districts in July, a fourth one against the Exeter School District, a fifth against the Merrimack Valley School District, and a sixth one, on Sept. 7, against the Bedford School District (again) for violating the New Hampshire Right-to-Know law in deciding to order the universal masking of one of its elementary schools. Similar to the earlier-filed lawsuits, we filed this one on behalf of a large group of parents and their children attending the Diocese’s schools and are challenging the requirement that students wear face masks or coverings while in school.  This lawsuit primarily alleges that the Diocese violated a new Florida law — the Parents’ Bill of Rights — because it infringes on parents’ rights to make health care decisions for their children.   Similar to the first action we filed on behalf of Mary Rivard last year, the action we filed last year challenging the City of Nashua’s face mask ordinance, and the action we filed challenging Governor Sununu’s closure of New Hampshire schools, this new lawsuit includes a motion for a temporary injunction against the adoption of the Diocese’s policy requiring students to wear face masks or coverings in all of its schools. The motion can be found here....

Fojo Law Files Another Lawsuit Against Bedford School District Challenging New Mask Mandate

This afternoon, we filed another lawsuit challenging a New Hampshire school district’s requirement that students wear face masks while in school or participating in extracurricular activities.  This one is, again, against the Bedford School District. This lawsuit comes after we filed one against the Hollis/Brookline School District (School Administrative Unit #41) and a second one against the Bedford School District (School Administrative Unit #25) in late May, a third one against Londonderry, Epping, and Timberlane School Districts in July, a fourth one nearly two weeks ago against the Exeter School District, and a fifth one last week against the Merrimack Valley School District.  Like those lawsuits, this one was filed on behalf of five sets of parents and their children residing in the District and challenges its requirement that students wear face masks or coverings while in school or participating in extracurricular activities.  This lawsuit primarily alleges that the District modified its reopening plan by changing the criteria for identifying an “outbreak” of COVID-19 cases in a given school without a public hearing or notice of a hearing and then, based on that unilateral change, implementing universal masking in one if its schools for 14 days.  Plaintiffs’ children were denied entry to the school this morning when they showed up without masks.  The lawsuit also alleges the school district face mask mandate violates children’s Constitutional right to an education and a parent’s fundamental Constitutional right to make medical decisions for their children and direct the care and upbringing of their children; school districts lack the statutory authority to issue face mask mandates; and any such mandates are preempted by the New Hampshire...

Fojo Law Files Fifth Lawsuit Challenging School District Face Mask Mandate

This afternoon, we filed another lawsuit challenging a New Hampshire school district’s requirement that students wear face masks while in school or participating in extracurricular activities. This lawsuit comes after we filed one against the Hollis/Brookline School District (School Administrative Unit #41) and a second one against the Bedford School District (School Administrative Unit #25) in late May, a third one against Londonderry, Epping, and Timberlane School Districts in July, and a fourth one last week against the Exeter School District.  Like those lawsuits, this one was filed on behalf of 10 sets of parents and their children residing in the District and challenges its requirement that students wear face masks or coverings while in school or participating in extracurricular activities.  In addition to a claim that this mandate violates a New Hampshire statute (RSA 126-U:4) that prohibits schools from requiring restraints on children that restrict their breathing (including any restraint that involves covering the face or body with anything) or that restrict the normal function of a portion of their bodies, this lawsuit also alleges school district face mask mandates violate a parent’s fundamental Constitutional right to make medical decisions for their children and direct the care and upbringing of their children; school districts lack the statutory authority to issue face mask mandates; and any such mandates are preempted by the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services’ comprehensive regulatory scheme concerning communicable diseases. The lawsuit, like the first action we filed on behalf of Mary Rivard last year, the action we filed last year challenging the City of Nashua’s face mask ordinance, and the action we filed challenging Governor Sununu’s...

Fojo Law Files Lawsuit Challenging Three More School Districts’ Face Mask Requirements

This morning, we filed another lawsuit challenging three New Hampshire school districts’ requirements that students wear face masks while in school, riding the bus, or participating in extracurricular activities. This lawsuit comes after we filed one against the Hollis/Brookline School District (School Administrative Unit #41) and a second one against the Bedford School District (School Administrative Unit #25) in late May.  Like those lawsuits, this one was filed on behalf of 17 sets of parents and their children residing in Atkinson, Danville, Epping, Londonderry, Plaistow, and Sandown, and challenging each school district’s requirement that students wear face masks or coverings while in school, riding the bus, or participating in extracurricular activities because they violate a New Hampshire statute (RSA 126-U:4) that prohibits schools from requiring restraints on children that restrict their breathing (including any restraint that involves covering the face or body with anything) or that restrict the normal function of a portion of their bodies. The lawsuit, like the first action we filed on behalf of Mary Rivard last year, the action we filed last year challenging the City of Nashua’s face mask ordinance, and the action we filed challenging Governor Sununu’s closure of New Hampshire schools, also includes an emergency motion for a temporary restraining order enjoining each school district from enforcing its face mask requirement.  The motion can be found here. The lawsuit alleges that requiring children to wear face masks or coverings contradicts one or more of the prohibitions contained in RSA 126-U:4.  Wearing a mask requires a child to cover his or her face with certain material (whether a surgical mask or a cloth mask), mechanically restricts a child’s breathing...

Fojo Law Files Two Lawsuits Challenging NH School District Face Mask Requirements

Yesterday evening, we filed two lawsuits challenging two New Hampshire school districts’ requirements that students wear face masks while in school, riding the bus, or participating in extracurricular activities. The lawsuits — one was filed against the Hollis/Brookline School District (School Administrative Unit #41), and the other was filed against the Bedford School District (School Administrative Unit #25) — were filed on behalf of several parents and their children residing in Hollis and Brookline, and Bedford, respectively, and challenge each school district’s requirement that students wear face masks or coverings while in school, riding the bus, or participating in extracurricular activities because they violate a New Hampshire statute (RSA 126-U:4) that prohibits schools from requiring restraints on children that restrict their breathing (including any restraint that involves covering the face or body with anything) or that restrict the normal function of a portion of their bodies. Each lawsuit, like the first action we filed on behalf of Mary Rivard last year, the action we filed last year challenging the City of Nashua’s face mask ordinance, and the action we filed challenging Governor Sununu’s closure of New Hampshire schools, also includes an emergency motion for a temporary restraining order enjoining each school district from enforcing its face mask requirement.  The motion in the Hollis/Brookline lawsuit can be found here, and the motion in the Bedford lawsuit can be found here. Each lawsuit alleges that requiring children to wear face masks or coverings contradicts one or more of the prohibitions contained in RSA 126-U:4.  Wearing a mask requires a child to cover his or her face with certain material (whether a surgical mask or...

Fojo Law Amends Keene Face Mask Lawsuit to Challenge State-Wide Face Mask Mandate

On September 18, 2020, we filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire challenging the City of Keene’s enactment of an ordinance requiring individuals to wear face masks and Governor Sununu’s Emergency Order #63, which requires individuals to wear face masks in certain gatherings of 100 people or more. That lawsuit, filed on behalf of three Keene business owners (Ian B. Freeman, Malaise Lindenfeld, and Aria DiMezzo), challenges (1) the City of Keene’s enactment of an ordinance (O-2020-09-A) requiring individuals who enter any business, who are present in any outdoor area serviced by a business, or who enter or are present in the common areas of any business, or in the common areas of any residential building with three or more units, to wear face masks or coverings; and (2) Governor Sununu’s Emergency Order #63, which requires individuals to wear face masks in certain gatherings of 100 people or more.  The lawsuit, like the first action we filed on behalf of Mary Rivard, and the lawsuit challenging the Governor’s order closing schools and implementing remote instruction, also included a request for an order enjoining the Governor and the City from enforcing the order and the ordinance, respectively. Today, we filed an amended complaint in that lawsuit.  In addition to some minor changes addressing arguments raised by the Defendants in their recent motions to dismiss, it adds a new claim challenging Governor Sununu’s Emergency Order #74, which requires people to wear face masks or coverings when in public spaces without physical distancing (the so-called state-wide face mask mandate), and Emergency Order #81 which extended...

Fojo Law Files Appeal in New Hampshire Supreme Court in Rivard Lawsuit Against Sununu Over Shutdown

Yesterday, our law firm filed a notice of appeal with the New Hampshire Supreme Court in Mary Rivard’s lawsuit against Governor Christopher T. Sununu over his executive orders extending his “state of emergency” declaration he issued earlier this year in response to the Coronavirus.  Ms. Rivard had requested an emergency motion for a temporary restraining order enjoining Governor Sununu’s emergency measures.  Ms. Rivard also amended her complaint to allege an additional claim: that the emergency powers statutes (RSA 4:45 and 4:47) under which Governor Sununu issued and renewed the “state of emergency” declaration are an unconstitutional delegation of legislative power in violation of The New Hampshire Constitution. After a hearing on June 9, 2020, the Merrimack County Superior Court denied Ms. Rivard’s request for an injunction and dismissed the case.  We filed a motion to reconsider that order in early August 2020, highlighting many of the errors in the Court’s decision.  The Court denied that motion last month (one word: “Denied.”). In light of recent decisions from Pennsylvania and Michigan within the last two weeks that invalided shutdown orders in those states, we appealed the Court’s decision.  In New Hampshire, an appeal of a trial court decision on the merits goes directly to the New Hampshire Supreme Court. In Ms. Rivard’s lawsuit, we primarily requested that the Court conclude Governor Sununu’s orders are void because he lacked the authority under the applicable statutes to continue renewing New Hampshire’s “state of emergency.” Governor Sununu’s original shutdown orders in March 2020 were designed to “slow the spread” of the Coronavirus so New Hampshire’s healthcare system would not be overwhelmed.  Over a month later (and particularly...

Fojo Law Files Lawsuit Challenging Keene’s Face Mask Ordinance and Governor Sununu’s Emergency Order Requiring Face Masks for Gatherings of 100 or More People, Requests Order Enjoining Both Measures

This morning, we filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire challenging the City of Keene’s recent enactment of an ordinance requiring individuals to wear face masks and Governor Sununu’s Emergency Order #63, which requires individuals to wear face masks in certain gatherings of 100 people or more. The lawsuit, filed on behalf of three Keene business owners (Ian B. Freeman, Malaise Lindenfeld, and Aria DiMezzo), challenges (1) the City of Keene’s enactment of an ordinance (O-2020-09-A) requiring individuals who enter any business, who are present in any outdoor area serviced by a business, or who enter or are present in the common areas of any business, or in the common areas of any residential building with three or more units, to wear face masks or coverings; and (2) Governor Sununu’s Emergency Order #63, which requires individuals to wear face masks in certain gatherings of 100 people or more.  The lawsuit, like the first action we filed on behalf of Mary Rivard, and the lawsuit challenging the Governor’s order closing schools and implementing remote instruction, also includes an emergency motion for a temporary restraining order enjoining the Governor and the City from enforcing the order and the ordinance, respectively. More specifically, the lawsuit addresses two main concerns. First, the purpose for, and supposed “emergency” underlying, Governor Sununu’s original shutdown orders in March 2020 was that New Hampshire needed to “slow the spread” of the Coronavirus so the state’s healthcare system would not be overwhelmed.  Over several months later, there is no question New Hampshire’s hospitals never reached capacity, and New Hampshire’s curve...

Federal Appeals Court Schedules Oral Argument in Appeal of District Court’s Denial of New York Life’s Motion to Compel Arbitration of Former Agent’s $14 Million Lawsuit

Yesterday, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit scheduled oral argument in an appeal by New York Life (and two related companies) of the United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire’s denial of a motion to compel arbitration filed by New York Life in a lawsuit filed by Ketler Bossé, a former soliciting agent and district agent for the company. The parties filed their appellate briefs earlier this year and then, at the First Circuit’s request, supplemental briefs in July.  Oral argument is scheduled for September 24, 2020, at 10 a.m.  It will be conducted via Zoom due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Factual Background Mr. Bossé engaged Fojo Law and filed a Complaint in the District Court in January 2019, asserting various federal and state employment-related claims against New York Life, including claims for discrimination and retaliation under 42 U.S.C. § 1981, conspiracy to interfere with civil rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1985, and breach of contract under 42 U.S.C. § 1981, and various state law claims, including claims for breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, fraud, wrongful termination, tortious interference with economic advantage, violation of New Hampshire’s Consumer Protection Act (RSA 358-A), breach of fiduciary duty, unjust enrichment, quantum meruit, conversion, and defamation. Mr. Bossé alleged that, despite excelling as an agent for New York Life and the many accolades he earned during his 14-year affiliation with the company, New York Life terminated him because he is black and then defamed him and appropriated his clients. He alleged he is owed over $14 million in lost commissions, residual commissions,...