Broad Coalition Challenges Ongoing State of Emergency

Submitted by Joel Ard, Ard Law

Lawsuits were filed today in both Chelan and Douglas County Superior Courts in an effort to return
authority to local officials as provided by state law. The suits seek immediate injunctive relief from
Governor Inslee’s ongoing State of Emergency declaration. The emergency of Chelan and Douglas
counties is no longer the threat of overrunning our hospitals; it is the continued collapse of our
local economy and the ensuing pain, suffering and widespread poverty it will create.

If granted, the request would render the Governor’s state of emergency void and allow local
officials to resume their governing responsibilities. Local officials in both Chelan and Douglas
counties have the legal authority, provided via Washington State Statute to mitigate health threats
such as Covid-19. Local authorities are prepared to implement plans to reopen safely based on
local expertise and on the ground information.

The suits state there is no longer an emergency and therefore the Governor must lift his order.
Speaking on behalf of the plaintiffs, attorney Joel Ard said, “The emergency order was specifically
tied to the danger of hospitals being overrun. Thankfully, the data statewide is giving us wonderful
news. Nowhere in the state is that presently a danger. The Governor can’t just change the terms of
his emergency from flattening the curve to no positive cases. According to his own terms, the
emergency is over.”

Plaintiffs for the lawsuits include a broad coalition of citizens, elected officials, businesses owners,
pastors and community leaders from both counties. Lead plaintiff for the citizens of Chelan County
suit is Jose Cuevas, also a Wenatchee City Council member. Cuevas, his family, and the Latino
community are being wrongfully harmed as the errant ongoing emergency order continues.

When asked why he chose to pursue legal relief he said, “The pain, the suffering, the economic
uncertainty… it has to stop. This is my attempt to help our community. We can’t wait any longer.”
Lead plaintiff for the suit in Douglas County is Dan Sutton, also a Douglas County Commissioner.
Sutton acknowledges Covid-19 is a serious disease, but also recognizes the seriousness of the
effects of an errant prolonged economic shutdown.

In a statement about the suit, Sutton said, “Covid-19 has changed our lives, harmed our community, and destroyed many livelihoods andbusinesses. We have learned and will continue to learn how to conduct ourselves safely. It is timewe take the responsibility to reopen our community safely – before more harm is done.”In a letter supporting the suits, Shawn Ballard points out that “We don’t want to move forward in spite of the virus, but in light of the virus. We believe we have the resources and leadership to reopen our community in a safe and responsible way, and we believe we have to do it now.”

Publisher's update: The state filed for a change of venue to Pierce County. That hearing was heard on Wednesday, June 3. Chelan County Superior Court Judge, Kristin Ferrera, who ruled against the change of venue, She is promising to make a decision on the injuction against Governor Inslee's shutdown orders on Monday June 8,
 

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