Judge denies Gov. DeSantis’ motion to dismiss lawsuit from families challenging school mask mandate bans

Florida

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A state judge ruled Thursday afternoon that several Florida families suing Gov. Ron DeSantis over his ban on mask mandates in schools have a right to their day in court.

Judge John Cooper denied the governor’s motion to dismiss the case, finding that the governor’s attorneys failed to prove the parents lacked standing to bring the case.

Attorneys for the governor argued that the families did not have standing because they couldn’t link an “injury” to the governor’s executive order banning local school districts from enforcing mask mandates without an exception for parents to opt-out.

They also argued that the families were not the right party to bring the lawsuit, since the order affected what school districts could do, not parents.

Attorneys for DeSantis argued that the governor’s executive order didn’t “direct any state action,” and that it was the rule promulgated by the Florida Department of Health that forbids the mask mandates.

But Judge Cooper found all those arguments unpersuasive, ruling that the families have a right to have their case heard in court.

“Standing is sufficiently pled,” Judge Cooper said via Zoom hearing that was made public through the Second Judicial Circuit of Florida’s YouTube page. “This case should be tried, and a record made.”

The full case is scheduled to be heard Monday through Wednesday of next week.

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