In previous posts I addressed three of the lawsuits filed against SB277, all of which suffered defeats, at least for the moment: Whitlow, Buck, and Torrey-Love. There was a fourth lawsuit, however, filed in July 2016 that I did not address until now – the SB277 RICO lawsuit from Travis Middleton.
In 2015, California enacted into law a measure, SB277, that eliminated all non-medical vaccine exemptions to required school-entry vaccines. There were a number of factions in opposition to this law. One faction, “Revolt, Revoke, Restore”, hired an attorney, T. Matthew Phillips, who eventually filed an SB277 lawsuit to stop the implementation of law. (Previous coverage of litigation filed by Phillips can be found here.)
This SB277 lawsuit is called Buck v. Smith, or Buck v. California. Tamara Buck is the first of the seven plaintiffs; Karen Smith is the Director of the California Department of Public Health. The suit was first filed in July, 2016, and has been amended three times. In response, the state filed a demurrer. A demurrer is a written response to a complaint filed in a lawsuit which, in effect, pleads for dismissal on the grounds that even if the facts alleged in the complaint were true, there is no legal basis for a lawsuit. In this case, Basically, the court is saying “you have to show it’s unconstitutional to mandate vaccines for school before we ask if vaccines cause harm.”
On 21 October 2016, California superior court judge Gregory Alarcon in LA County sustained – accepted – the demurrer of the state and dismissed the SB277 lawsuit filed by Tamara Buck and seven other plaintiffs without leave to amend. What this means is that even after being amended three times, the complaint at the basis of the lawsuit had been found not to make a valid legal claim, and/or not to have enough facts to support a valid legal claim, or “cause of action.” Unless the trial court’s ruling is overturned on appeal, the Buck lawsuit is now dismissed and will not go forward.
One of my favorite TV programs is Law & Order:SVU, an Americanpolice procedural crime drama television series set in New York City. It usually bases episodes on real news stories, but putting some twist on them. And for fans of the show, it is addicting.
In the spring of 2009, an episode entitled Selfish aired. The plot was about an immature, irresponsible young mother who was assumed to have killed her child. In a major plot twist (and actually one that caught me by surprise), the coroner determines that the child died from measles, in what turned out to be an outbreak of the disease in fictional New York City. The Assistant District Attorney then decides to prosecute the mother of the child who started the measles outbreak because she had refused to immunize her child for all of the reasons popularized by the vaccine deniers. Unfortunately, the producers of the show didn’t give us the full satisfaction of having that mother spend time in prison (and if one looked at the episode with even amateur legal eyes, it probably wasn’t going to happen).