Looming Dismissal Makes Way for Perpetual Lockdowns

April 18, 24

Peggy Hall vs. OC Board of Supervisors Perpetual Lockdown Case Update

SANTA ANA, CALIFORNIA – On Tuesday Apr 16, 2024, an Orange County Superior Court Judge suggested that he will likely dismiss a precedent-setting case related to prolonged Covid-19 lockdowns, potentially creating case law that will allow local boards of supervisors to lawfully lockdown constituents indefinitely. If Petitioners are vindicated, local boards will be required to hold public meetings to consider lifting emergency lockdown measures so soon as conditions warrant. Judge Thomas McConville (democrat) gave a tentative ruling that he would take the case Peggy Hall vs OC Board of Supervisors under submission, signaling that he would be imminently ruling against the plaintiff.  McConville argued to dismiss the case because the governor ended the state-wide emergency, making the case moot.  McConville’s tentative ruling is in direct opposition to the formally-presiding judge’s ruling on the case. In September 2022, then-presiding Judge Richard Lee (nonpartisan) ruled unequivocally in favor of Petitioners who suffered under prolonged lockdowns:  Based upon the foregoing, it appears that the board of supervisors and/or “local governing body” has a mandatory and ministerial duty to (1) review the need for continuing a local health emergency or a local emergency; as well as (2) proclaim the termination of the local health emergency and local emergency at the earliest possible date that conditions warrant the termination. Judge Lee was forced to recuse himself within weeks of this ruling after the County filed a Notice of Related Case with a purported conflict of interest.  The matter was then assigned in October 2022 to Judge Derek W. Hunt (nonpartisan), who abruptly announced his early retirement at the first hearing regarding the case weeks after his assignment.  The matter was then assigned in January 2023 to Judge McConville, who was appointed Superior Court Judge in 2018 by Democrat Governor Jerry Brown. Petitioner’s counsel, Nicole Pearson of Facts Law Truth Justice  lamented the Judge’s possible dismissal: “Orange County residents should be terrified that their elected Supervisors do not want to hold public meetings during local emergencies and that the court is — well, Judge McConville is — helping them avoid it. What are they trying to hide? Why can’t we be part of this critical process?” “We will immediately appeal if Judge McConville ultimately decides to dismiss this case as moot”, said Pearson. “Otherwise, government officials will be able to intentionally delay court proceedings to avoid their legal obligations and any liability for harms they inflict on others.” Respondents’ Delay Tactics Respondents County of Orange and its Board of Supervisors have gone to extraordinary and improper measures to stall case progress. The benefit of these improper delays has been the possible dismissal based solely on the passage of time.  These measures include: 

  1. Filing a fraudulent Notice of Related Case to remove Judge Lee.
  2. Filing untimely, inadmissible documents
  3. Perjuring themselves at the September 22, 2022 hearing after Judge Lee ordered them to conduct the statutorily-required public meetings, claiming that the OC Board of Supervisors had been conducting meetings since June 2021, but behind closed doors, causing Judge Lee to modify his ruling from an order compelling Respondents to follow the law, to an order asking them to show proof of these meetings, which Respondents have never done.

FLTJ Amends Petition Citing Brown Act Violation In November 2023, FLTJ amended the Petition upon discovery that Respondents had also violated the Brown Act, which was enacted in response to growing concern about local government officials holding secret meetings without proper advance public notice, and guarantees the public’s right to attend and participate in meetings of local legislative bodies. Press Contact: Maurna Desmond 949.433.9884 maurna@thedesmondcompany.com