Lawsuit is not “moot”.
Dr Stephen Skoly may have won a significant battle last week in his fight to continue providing critical surgical care to his patients, but the larger legal war is not over. Even though the RIDOH finally relented and removed its October 1 compliance order that banned him from seeing patients in the surgery room … the court-room fight over his federal lawsuit is nowhere near over.
It is expected that the defendant in the case, the State of Rhode Island, will seek to present to the federal judge a mutual letter of understanding from Dr. Skoly and his legal team at the New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA), stipulating that no further legal proceedings are warranted. However, in an interview today with Brian Rosner, one of the lead NCLA attorneys representing Dr. Skoly, no such agreement will be coming from the plaintiff’s side.
Next, the State will likely file a formal motion in federal court to have the case dismissed, claiming it is “moot” because Dr. Skoly is back at work. However, Rosner and the NCLA are committed to fighting that motion and seeing the case continued, even if it means appealing a potential adverse decision to the First-Circuit and, if necessary, to the United States Supreme Court.
What Skoly and his attorneys at the NCLA are seeking is a declarative judgement from the courts; that Dr. Skoly’s constitutional rights were violated, that reimbursement of attorneys’ fees are warranted, and that “nominal” damages be provided to Dr. Skoly. It is estimated that Skoly may have lost multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenues, while also paying out-of-pocket near six-figures of dollars in rent and other overhead expenses.
Rosner believes that the legal arguments put forth by NCLA in Skoly’s complaint are important to be litigated for national precedent setting purposes. Indeed, according to this columnist, the arguments are clear, compelling, and legally sound.
Continuation of Skoly’s federal lawsuit against the McKee administration and the RIDOH is of great concern to the State, especially when it comes to producing potentially embarrassing internal documents as part of the legal discovery process; documents that are presumed to illustrate the arbitrary process and specious medical science that supported Rhode Island’s healthcare worker vaccine mandate that was imposed last fall.
The State will seek to have Skoly’s case tossed-out based on the legal grounds that the lawsuit is now “moot”, by virtue of the vaccine mandate having expired. However, in an In The Dugout interview with Robert Flanders, former Associate Justice of the RI Supreme Court, and Chas Calenda, a Rhode Island attorney, both lawyers firmly asserted that the cases like Skoly’s are not moot and that there are multiple reasons for the federal lawsuit to continue. They argue that it is important for cases that might be repeated in the future, establishing a court review now is important, as is the possibility that the State could re-impose the questioned mandates at almost any time it chooses.
Stay tuned to The Ocean State Current for continuing developments with Dr Skoly and his federal lawsuit.
Of the following two issues related to Rhode Island’s public schools, which one is a greater concern?