Group suing over local public health orders asks judge to block Dane County’s latest change

MADISON, Wis. — A group trying to sue over local public health orders is asking a judge to stop the latest order from the public health department.

This is part of an ongoing lawsuit, but with the changes in Dane County over the last few weeks and the order that followed, the group wants a judge to step in and block it.

The lawsuit was filed in Wisconsin’s Eastern district in U.S. District Court in May. A group of more than 20 people filed against public health orders in cities like Madison, Milwaukee and Green Bay.

This latest filing came on Friday, a day following the start of an amended order from Dane County.

The group’s attorney, Joe Voiland with the organization Veterans Liberty Law, said the order seeks to limit private gatherings, which he says the health department can’t do.

“They are enforcing other rules,” Voiland said. “They’re not enforcing what they have the authority to enforce which is to forbid public gatherings. They’re enforcing rules about private gatherings. They’re telling people in Dane County you can’t have more than 10 people inside your own home.”

A spokesperson for Public Health Madison and Dane County said the department won’t comment on pending litigation but added in a statement they are confident the order will stand.

“City of Madison and Dane County are confident the public health orders will withstand judicial review because the public health orders are lawful and in the public’s best interests given the extraordinary situation posed by COVID-19,” the statement said.

This isn’t the only challenge to local health orders that’s out there right now. A gym in Racine sued over their city’s order and won. The city is appealing that decision, and while that appeal is going on, the order stays in place.