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Lawsuit over mask mandate in Lincoln to continue

A class-action lawsuit against the city of Lincoln over the mask mandate will continue.
A class-action lawsuit against the city of Lincoln over the mask mandate will continue.
Published: Feb. 25, 2021 at 12:00 PM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (WOWT) - A planned class-action lawsuit against the city of Lincoln over the mask mandate will continue.

Defendants had asked for a temporary injunction to stop the mandate, but a district court judge didn’t go that far.

The class-action lawsuit began last fall with Madsen’s Bowling and Billiards in Lincoln. Madsen’s claimed the Lincoln-Lancaster Health Department didn’t have the power to issue directed health measures that superseded the governor and that the mask mandate was illegal.

Soon other businesses asked to join - salons, bars, restaurants, and retail. As many as 20 businesses are prepared to be part of the court challenge.

“It’s really about the left and the right limits of government power.”

Chris Ferdico is with the Berry Law Firm. He says Lincoln-Lancaster’s orders were arbitrary and put the onus on businesses to enforce the rules instead of law enforcement.

“Instead of asking individuals to be responsible for their behavior, Lincoln is shouldering the burden on the back of businesses -- you have to enforce against individuals,” said Ferdico.

Ferdico says he understands the emergency nature of a pandemic and argues government can’t overreach in the name of an emergency.

6 News asked whether Omaha could be swept into the class action lawsuit; Ferdico said he didn’t think so.

“The enforcement in Omaha has been much different.”

Omaha leaders have said time and again enforcement of the mask ordinance here was all about compliance not writing tickets.

The Lincoln-Lancaster County mask mandate is currently in effect through March 12.

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