For the second time this week, the 1st District Court of Appeal on Thursday dismissed a challenge to a requirement that people wear masks in certain public places to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The court dismissed a challenge to a Gadsden County ordinance because the plaintiff’s attorney, state Rep. Anthony Sabatini, R-Howey-in-the-Hills, did not file an amended notice of appeal as requested by the court.
Similarly, the court on Monday dismissed an appeal of a Leon County mask requirement because Sabatini did not file an initial brief. Sabatini told The News Service of Florida on Tuesday that he let the Leon County case be dismissed because the 1st District Court of Appeal is considering a challenge to an Alachua County mask requirement --- a case that could ultimately lead to a ruling by the Florida Supreme Court on such requirements.
Sabatini filed the Gadsden County case in July on behalf of plaintiff Gerald Carroll after the Gadsden County Commission required people to wear masks in public places where social distancing is difficult, such as in grocery stores and pharmacies. The lawsuit raised a series of constitutional issues, including alleging violations of privacy and due-process rights.
But Circuit Judge David Frank in August rejected the arguments. “The county's mask ordinance is logically related to the objective of promoting the health and welfare of Gadsden County residents during a pandemic,” Frank wrote in his ruling. “It was readily available, consistent with CDC (federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines, and reasonably expected to reduce hospitalizations and death. The ordinance passes constitutional muster."
On Oct. 6, the court issued an order giving Sabatini 10 days to comply with the Aug. 26 requirement. The order dismissing the case Thursday said the court did not receive a response.
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