Lawsuit over mask mandate in Lincoln to continue

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – A class action lawsuit against the City of Lincoln over the mask mandate continues.

The defendants had asked for an injunction to end the mandate, but a district court judge didn’t go that far.

The class action lawsuit started last fall with Madsen’s bowling and billiards in Lincoln. Madsen claimed the Lincoln Lancaster Health Department had no power to issue targeted health measures that would replace the governor and that the mask mandate was illegal.

Soon other businesses joined salons, bars, restaurants and retail outlets. Up to 20 companies are part of the legal challenge.

“It’s really about the left and right borders of government power.”

Chris Ferdico is with The Berry Law Firm. He says Lincoln-Lancaster’s orders were arbitrary and required companies to enforce the rules instead of law enforcement.

“Instead of asking individuals to be accountable for their behavior, Lincoln carries the burden on the back of businesses – you have to stand up to individuals,” Ferdico said.

Ferdico says he understands the emergency nature of a pandemic, arguing that the government cannot go too far in the name of an emergency.

We asked if Omaha could be involved in the class action lawsuit. He didn’t think so.

“The enforcement in Omaha was very different.”

Omaha leaders have repeatedly said that mask enforcement is all about compliance, not ticket writing.

Lincoln-Lancaster County’s mask mandate currently runs through March 12th.

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