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Verdicts & Settlements

Mask Lawsuit Against Tulsa Dismissed By All Involved

— January 28, 2021

The lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice by all involved parties.

A federal lawsuit challenging mask mandates in Tulsa, Oklahoma, has been dismissed.

Tulsa World reports that the complaint was jointly dismissed by all involved parties, with prejudice—meaning it cannot be filed again, nor can its outcome be challenged. Both sides will responsible for paying their own attorneys fees and costs, as well as recovering any other expenses they may have hoped to recoup through litigation.

However, Tulsa World notes that the agreement does not contain a stipulation: the city may seek to recover attorney fees and costs if any one of the plaintiffs instigates another “action based on or including the same claim or claims as made in this action.”

The lawsuit had initially been filed by a group of Tulsa-area residents, including optometrist Robert Zoellner, Clay Clark, and Dr. James Meehan.

Collectively, the plaintiffs made the dubious claim that Tulsa should not—and could not—order residents to wear masks, since masks may “[cause] healthy people to become sick.”

“On the OSHA website, it states that employers shouldn’t make employees work in an environment where they have less than a 19.5 percent oxygen level,” Clark said after filing the suit. “And the mandated masks cause employees’ to dip below a 19.5 percent oxygen level within 10 seconds of wearing a mask, so I don’t want to make my healthy employees sick.”

Clark and his cohorts, in effect, had attempted to argue that mask use causes a grave oxygen deficiency capable of causing “irreparable physiological damage” within seconds.

A gavel. Image via Wikimedia Commons via Flickr/user: Brian Turner. (CCA-BY-2.0).

This, in spite of their claims having been specifically debunked by a Mayo Clinic report published in summer.

Nonetheless, the plaintiffs said they and their employees had experienced “migraine headaches, shortness of breath and dizziness” as a direct result of having to wear masks at work.

Tulsa World, in another article, shares links to an Irish doctor’s video—pushed on Twitter—which makes light of such unbelievable claims. In it, the physician records himself wearing up to six face masks while monitoring his own oxygen levels, which never change, let alone reach any precariously low percentage.

Even though it has agreed to settle without prejudice, Tulsa has stuck to its guns and maintained that mask mandates are within its authority to create and enforce.

“Oklahoma state law allows for the enactment of this specific type of rationally related regulation to protect the health and safety of the public during a pandemic such as being presently experienced,” Tulsa wrote in a December motion for dismissal.

The city has since extended its mask mandate through the end of April.


Anti-mask group sues city of Tulsa, alleges masks cause oxygen deprivation

Group drops lawsuit challenging Tulsa mask mandate

Group fighting against mask mandate, says it’s harmful to healthy people

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