Albany County Schools have been dismissed from a lawsuit that alleged that district leadership was exaggerating the threat of COVID-19 in order to introduce tighter government controls.

The lawsuit was filed in November by Laramie teenager Grace Smith, her father, and the parents of students in school districts across the state.

The lawsuit alleged that Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon and state health officials are guilty of a plot to institute “authoritarian” and “communist” control over the state, and that mask mandates, testing requirements, and social distancing measures implemented by school districts are unconstitutional.

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Albany County is the final school district to be released from the suit, having been dismissed by U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Freudenthal in December.

Albany County made nearly the same case for dismissal as the other school districts, arguing that:

  • the lawsuit did not belong in federal court
  • the lawsuit fails to cite its aim in a clear and concise manner, which would violate federal rules of civil procedure.

Judge Freudenthal called the lawsuit a “confused jumble," stating:

“Plaintiffs repeat many legal arguments verbatim several times. For instance, Plaintiffs repeat the same argument regarding the meaning of ‘emergency’ in state statutes at least nine times. They then state fourteen claims for relief, with little or no attempt to tie any factual allegations to elements of legal claims.”

The complaints against the school districts were dismissed without prejudice, meaning the plaintiffs can bring their case again, giving them until January 28 to file an amended lawsuit addressing these reasons for dismissal. If they miss that deadline, the dismissals will become “with prejudice,” meaning the case cannot be brought again.

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