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Plaintiffs ask Louisiana Supreme Court to hear lawsuit against New Orleans mayor, COVID-19 mandates

More than 100 plaintiffs have asked the Louisiana Supreme Court to issue a temporary...
More than 100 plaintiffs have asked the Louisiana Supreme Court to issue a temporary restraining order and take up directly their Jan. 31 lawsuit against New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, the city's health department and its head Dr. Jennifer Avegno over their COVID-19 mandates. | Source: AP Photo / Judi Bottoni(Source: AP Photo / Judi Bottoni)
Published: Feb. 8, 2022 at 11:54 AM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Plaintiffs suing New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell over her city’s COVID-19 mandates have asked the Louisiana Supreme Court to take up their case without delay and issue a temporary restraining order blocking enforcement of her health department’s rules.

Alexandria-based attorney Jimmy Faircloth filed the writ application to the state’s high court Tuesday (Feb. 8), asking justices to call up the lawsuit against Cantrell, the New Orleans Health Department and that agency’s chief Dr. Jennifer Avegno before lower courts issue rulings on the matter.

The filing also asks for an emergency TRO to immediately stop the city from enforcing its vaccination and indoor masking requirements for most indoor restaurants, businesses and entertainment venues within Orleans Parish.

Cantrell spokesman Beau Tidwell said last week the mandates “save lives” and that the city would vigorously defend the mandates, which Avegno has said suppress illness and death in New Orleans by reducing the spread of coronavirus and COVID-19 disease.

The lawsuit, filed Jan. 31 in Orleans Parish Civil District Court, is scheduled for its first hearing Feb. 14 before Judge Rachael Johnson. The case originally was allotted to Judge Robin Giarrusso, but she recused herself since her son Joe Giarrusso sits on New Orleans’ City Council.

More: Cantrell, Avegno, city health dept. sued over New Orleans’ vaccination, mask mandates

“We are asking the Supreme Court to call up the case directly to them and bypass the lower courts,” said attorney Laura Rodrigue, whose New Orleans-based Rodrigue & Arcuri law group also is involved in bringing the legal challenge.

The suit was brought on behalf of more than 100 plaintiffs, about half of whom live in Orleans Parish, and half of whom reside in Jefferson Parish or other parts of Louisiana, attorneys said. They contend the Cantrell administration’s vaccine and mask mandates are unlawfully excluding them from enjoying activities in New Orleans such as dining in the city’s restaurants, visiting its museums or taking advantage of paid gym memberships, among other complaints.

It says the plaintiffs have “endured nearly two years of unprecedented executive control during the COVID-19 pandemic. What started as a temporary means to protect the community from unknown risks has turned into perpetual, unlawful overreach.”

It was unclear how soon the Louisiana Supreme Court would rule on the writ application.

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