A Japan Airlines worker wears a face mask while working inside a terminal at Los Angeles International Airport. Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images
A pair of Florida women — and an Idaho-based legal fund — were behind the lawsuit that undid the Biden administration’s requirement that passengers wear masks to limit spread of COVID while traveling on airliners and other public conveyances.
One is Ana Carolina Daza of Pinellas County, who used to travel every year to Colombia to visit family and attend to family property, according to the complaint filed in July 2021. She gave up her trips after COVID landed in the United States but plans a trip in August.
“She understands that she will be required to wear a mask on the flight, but strenuously objects to being required to do so,” the complaint says.
“Ms. Daza suffers from anxiety when wearing a mask, feels like she cannot breathe, and suffers from an overwhelming urge to remove the mask. She also gets headaches and suffers shortness of breath when wearing a mask,” the complaint continues.
The other is Sarah Pope, of Hillsborough County, who has worn masks during relatively short flights to visit her mother in Virginia but suffers anxiety at the thought of wearing a mask on a long-haul flight, the complaint says.
“She had to forego joining her family on a trip to Hawaii because the thought of wearing a mask for such a long flight gave her anxiety, and she is concerned about having panic attacks if she attempts to do so. She thus strongly objects to the mask mandate, and wants to see it lifted so that she might have an opportunity to join her family on a long-haul flight, again,” that document says.
U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle in Tampa struck down the mandate on Monday, ruling that it exceeded the U.S. Centers for Disease Prevention and Control’s authority to regulate sanitation.
Also in the lawsuit was the Health Freedom Defense Fund, described in the complaint as a nonprofit Wyoming corporation headquartered in Sandpoint, Idaho.
“HFDF is a member organization that seeks to advocate for and educate the public on the topics of medical choice, bodily autonomy, and self-determination, and that opposes laws and regulations that force individuals to submit to the administration of medical products, procedures, and devices against their will,” the complaint says.
The organization cheered the ruling on its Twitter feed:
“We sued the Biden administration over the nationwide mask mandate for travel … and it was announced today that we won! Yes, folks, the order was declared unlawful as per our lawsuit! You’ll see the story covered all over the mainstream media!”
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