Group sues Ohio for COVID-19 shutdown

TOLEDO — A Tipp City resident is one of eight Ohio residents who filed a lawsuit in federal court to remove Gov. Mike DeWine’s emergency health order this week.

Grassroots organization Ohio Stands Up! filed suit in the Northern District of Ohio Federal Court in Toledo to remove DeWine’s emergency order. The group is represented by attorneys Thomas Renz of Fremont and Robert Gargasz of Lorain.

Eight Ohioans are signed on to the lawsuit: Kristen Beckman of Oregon; Eric and Tara Calderaro of Loveland; Jessica Franz of Tipp City; Renee Hedges of Cuyahoga Falls; Kirsten Hill of Amherst; Lisa Knapp of Powell; and Michael Renz of Oak Harbor.

“The state of Ohio has consistently lied to and manipulated its citizens from the earliest stages of this pandemic,” Gargasz said in a press release. “We insist that this nonsense end, our rights be restored, and that the actual truth be shared.”

Ohio Stands Up! describes itself as a grassroots organization composed of Ohio residents focused on restoring the rights of Ohio’s 11.69 million residents and educating the public about the realities of COVID-19 data.

“We believe that the response to COVID-19 has been the greatest fraud ever perpetrated on the American public,” Renz said in a press release. “The objective of this legal action is to force the state to honor the Constitution and to stop the lies, manipulation and fear-mongering intentionally being promoted by public health officials and elected officials.”

DeWine was asked about the lawsuit during a press conference Tuesday.

“I’ve been sued many times. (The Ohio Department of) Health has been sued many many times. They have been in many different counties,” he said. “We’re doing what we know will make a difference. We’ve been very thoughtful of what we’ve done. None of these decisions are made in a vacuum … I just have to stay focused on what we need to do in Ohio.”

Organizers said the lawsuit is solely funded by donations from Ohio residents. As of Sept. 3, donations reached $47,000.

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