Federal lawsuit challenges local stay-at-home orders

Posted at 2:24 PM, May 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-21 15:24:13-04

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Seventeen Wisconsin residents, including one of the organizers of a “reopen Wisconsin” protest last month at the state Capitol, have filed a federal lawsuit alleging that local stay-at-home orders are unconstitutional.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in federal court in Milwaukee, challenges the local orders that took effect after the Wisconsin Supreme Court last week tossed Gov. Tony Evers’ statewide “safer at home” order as unconstitutional. The new lawsuit names 21 state and local Wisconsin public safety and health officials, including Evers and all members of the state elections commission, as defendants.

The lawsuit asks the judge to declare the local orders unconstitutional and void them all.

“The local orders unlawfully interfere with plaintiffs’ rights to work and to worship, to gather and assemble, in violation of their federal Constitutional rights,” the complaint alleged.

Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul said last week that the local orders were legal. His spokeswoman did not immediately return a message seeking comment on the lawsuit Thursday.

Madison Marie Elmer,. who organized a Capitol rally that attracted about 1,500 people last month, is among those bringing the lawsuit. Others include the Rev. Daniel Jay Quakkelaar, pastor of the Friend of Sinners Mission Church in Milwaukee, and Cindy Werner, a Republican congressional candidate in Milwaukee.

The lawsuit was filed by 17 individuals in a variety of roles in the community.

  • Blong Yang, business owner in Outagamie County
  • Jay Schroeder, registered with the Wisconsin Elections Commission in anticipation of the August 11, 2020 primary election as a candidate for the 55th Wisconsin State Assembly District representing the Town-City of Neenah, Village of Fox Crossing, Partial Towns of Clayton, Dale, Greenville, Grand Chute, and parts of the City of Appleton
  • Madison Marie Elmer, organizer of a freedom rally on April 24 at the State Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin
  • Paul Martin Driftmier, business owner in Dane County
  • Angela Ray Haug, business owner in Dane County
  • Kelly Lynn McElwain, employee of a Dane County business
  • Rev. Daniel Jay Quakkelaar, pastor of a Milwaukee County church
  • Eric Thomas Skelton, Green County resident
  • Sandra K. Morris, Racine County resident
  • Alexandra Carney Schweitzer, Waukesha County business owner
  • Jestin Korleski, musician in Rock County
  • Lenae Lenore Gilbertson, Rock County resident
  • Jaime Lynn Westcomb, Rock County resident
  • Jenny Leigh Turkelson, Green County resident
  • Anna Alethia Manning, Dane County resident
  • Thomas Wulf, Door County resident
  • Cindy Werner, intends to run for federal office for the 4th U.S. Congressional District, representing areas of the City of Milwaukee

The lawsuit was filed against the following leaders:

  • Susan Powers, Door County Health Officer
  • Mary Dorn, Outagamie County Health Officer
  • Douglas Gieryn, Winnebago County Health Officer
  • Kurt Eggebrecht, City of Appleton Health Officer
  • Greg Peterson, Chief of the Town of Grand Chute Police Department
  • Daniel Blackdeer, Deputy Chief of the Wisconsin State Capitol Police
  • Janel Heinrich, Public Health Officer of Madison and Dane County
  • Marie-Noel Sandoval, Rock County Health Officer
  • RoAnn Warden, Green County Public Health Officer
  • Dottie-Kay Bowersox, City of Racine Public Health Director
  • Jeanette Kowalik, City of Milwaukee Commissioner of Health
  • Sanjib Bhattacharyya, City of Milwaukee Special Deputy Health Commissioner
  • Anthony S. Evers, Governor of the State of Wisconsin
  • Andrea Palm, Secretary-Designee of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services
  • Marge Bostelmann, Julie M. Glancey, Ann S. Jacobs, Dean Knudson, Robert F. Spindell, Jr., Mark L. Thomsen, and Meagan Wolfe, Commissioners and Administrator of the Wisconsin Elections Commission

TMJ4 contributed to this report.