Children

California Becomes Battleground for COVID Lawsuits and Legislation Surrounding Minors

New bills could take parental consent away in medical contexts
BY Health 1+1 and Marina Zhang TIMEAugust 14, 2022 PRINT

In California, a State that has been continuously passing bills surrounding COVID-19 vaccine policies, attorneys are “chipping away at each part of this puzzle,” aiming to educate and empower people one lawsuit at a time.

Nicole Pearson, the attorney and founder of Facts Law Truth Justice (FLTJ) has been filing and winning lawsuits against vaccine mandates and representing vaccine-injured.

On July 27, Pearson held a press conference and spoke on her client Maribel Duarte’s lawsuit against the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and Barack Obama Global Preparation Academy for vaccinating her 13-year-old son without her consent.

Duarte’s son made the news in December 2021. A vaccine clinic was set up in his school—Barack Obama Global Prep Academy—and he was allegedly bribed with a pizza to get vaccinated at his school without parental consent.

One of the adults at the clinic requested that the son provide a parent-signed consent form, which he did not have. The child was then told to sign his mother’s name and not to tell anyone.

According to a release by Unity Project, the child began to experience breathing and bleeding issues, shortness of breath, chronic fatigue, depression, and anxiety, among other things immediately after the injection and is currently receiving medical treatment.

“This is painful for me, because my son’s health … it’s not good,” Duarte said. “He’s lacking the rest. He doesn’t sleep well. He doesn’t exercise the way he did. He’s not normal to me.”

Pearson is the one leading this case and Duarte’s son is definitely not her only client who has been injured by a COVID-19 vaccine administered without consent.

Laura Sextro, the CEO and co-founder of Unity Project, a health advocacy group in support of Duarte’s case, told The Epoch Times during a phone call that Pearson has in total three legal cases that she’s handling for children who have suffered COVID-19 vaccine injuries from vaccinations without parental consent.

Duarte’s case will be the first one that Pearson files for vaccine injury.

Pearson told The Epoch Times that she is confident about the outcome of the lawsuit, calling it a “clear cut case.”

However, she argued that the lawsuits her firms are fighting to uphold parental rights would matter very little if some of the State’s bills currently under consideration are made into legislation.

“We have a perfect storm if any of these bills pass, you as a parent are sending your children into…public health centers [for public schools], where you don’t even have the ability to access their records, speak to the doctor, or even rest assured that the doctor taking care of them will render individualized care specific to your child,” she said at the press conference.

“Parents in California need to wake up. This [case] is a horrifying warning to the future of California.”

Epoch Times Photo
Maribel Duarte (left) is suing the Los Angeles Unified School District. She held a press conference on July 27 with her attorney Nicole Pearson (right). Duarte complained that her son was bribed by the school to take COVID-19 vaccination without her consent, and is now suffering side effects. (NTD TV)

Empowering People With the Law

Regardless of outcome, Pearson hopes that this lawsuit will educate people and bring hope to vaccine-injured people who feel like they have had no choice in the face of these vaccine mandates.

“I hope it empowers people,” Pearson said. “It’s difficult to use that word ‘empowerment’ with this kind of horrible case.”

The attorney asserts that many vaccine-injured people were not given legal informed consent, meaning they have a potential lawsuit.

“In order to get informed consent, you have to know all the risks, which we didn’t know,” she said.

“You need to know all the benefits, and then you also need to [get vaccinated] because you yourself were scared of the virus for whatever reasons and you yourself want that vaccine in your body to protect yourself from that virus.”

“If you get that vaccine for any other reason…to travel, to go to work, and keep your job…visit your loved one in the hospital, to be on the varsity football team…if you want it for any other reason, that’s not consent, that’s coercion. If you were misinformed, that’s fraud, and if you made the decision, even voluntarily but you didn’t know all the risks, that’s not [legally] informed [consent].”

She encourages vaccinated individuals to examine the circumstances surrounding their “consent” and decide if it was indeed voluntary and informed.

“It is oversimplified…there are a lot of things to consider, but I believe that yes, there would be potential lawsuits there.”

Pearson is representing Duarte to seek damages from the school, sending the message that employers and schools that choose to enforce recommended COVID-19 government policies can be held responsible for negative consequences stemming from those policies.

“They [employers, school districts and boards] are just following ‘orders’ from the government, and the government will not be there to protect them when we win our lawsuit,” Pearson said.

To date, no vaccine injury claim in the United States has been compensated by the federal Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program.

She pointed to the lawsuit against California Governor Gavin Newsom filed by Let Them Breathe, a campaign to stop mask mandates in schools.

“[Schools] were left holding the bag…Governor Newsom’s defense and the State of California’s defense was that that [mandating masks in schools] was a recommendation, that wasn’t law…it was a guideline, it was a mandate, and it is not law, and you [enforcers of these policies] are going to have chosen to have not done your research and implemented policies based out of guidance, and you will be the one responsible for that.”

However, if the schools are found faultless and Pearson’s firm loses this lawsuit, it will send the message that parents of vaccine-injured children will be bearing the medical and financial burden.

“If God forbid, your child is disabled, because of one of these vaccines, or medicine, or any other treatment that they receive on campus without you knowing, you will be the one to pay, you will be the one and you’ll have no idea you’re actually purposely cut out of dialogue,” she said.

newsom
California Governor Gavin Newsom in Agoura Hills, California, on April 22, 2022. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images)

As Citizens Fight Back With Lawsuits, More Legislation in the Pipeline

Pearson’s legal firm has used the state’s laws to win many cases against local and district vaccine mandates.

They have used state laws to rule out local policies and pause vaccine mandates in the Piedmont Unified School District (PUSD) and LAUSD to postpone their mandates for students on the same date that was set by the State, which is July 2022.

They also have ongoing lawsuits against the Orange County Board of Superiors in the County of Orange for continuing to declare a public health emergency. The case will have a “major hearing” on Aug. 18 so “many prayers and positive vibrations our way will be appreciated.”

Further, the firm is also representing a lawsuit against Santa Clara University for their COVID-19 booster mandates.

However, a major part of FLTJ and the Unity Project’s work is to raise public awareness against the State’s bills that may overturn their legal efforts.

The Unity Project identify as a “coalition of concerned parents, business leaders, teachers and other professionals throughout California,” and was formed in November 2021 due to concerns against the vaccine mandates the state’s Governor Gavin Newsom was trying to enforce on children at levels of K to 12 using SB 871.

SB 871 required children from levels K to 12 to be immunized against certain diseases to be able to attend schools, both private and public. Eleven diseases were listed, including COVID-19, also allowing “any other disease deemed appropriate by the department.”

Though the bill has since been put on hold due to severe public pushback from more than 100 grassroots communities led by parents, Sextro warned that the bill can be “resurrected” at any time.

In the meantime, new “crafty and sneaky” bills that are “circumventing and usurping parental rights” are under consideration by the California legislature, she said.

Unity Project and its partners have been especially vocal about Senate bill SB 866, which will allow children from 15 years of age—amended from 12 years due to public pushback—to be able to consent to vaccinations themselves.

The bill has been ordered for its third reading in the assembly in June.

Senate bill SB 1419 is also likely to contribute to the “perfect storm.” The bill will “allow minors where they’re allowed to consent to medical treatment [such as vaccinations if SB 866 passes], to seal their medical records,” said Pearson.

AB 1940 offers school-based health care programs, which will “make our public schools [into] public healthcare centers,” said Pearson. Therefore children will be able to receive vaccinations, and various health check ups in schools.

One of the bills that the Unity Project is the most vocal against is AB 2098, “which will penalize doctors for giving any recommendations contrary to the COVID-19, CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), and FDA (Food and Drug Administration) narratives.”

Under the AB 2098 bill, doctors can be disciplined and even have their license removed for spreading COVID-19 “misinformation” and “disinformation.”

SB 1479 is another bill that has progressed quite far in the legislative process; the bill will require schools to make plans for COVID-19 testing, and to subjects unvaccinated children to weekly COVID-19 testing.

Pearson said that her firm is prepared to file lawsuits if any of these bills pass.

However, litigation periods for these lawsuits can take several years, and her experience with the judicial process the past two years is that COVID-19 has made it harder for people to go to court and protect their rights, regardless of the case.

“Right now with COVID…it’s already very difficult right now to get into court…the court system is backlogged because of COVID-19 shutdowns and cases do not go to trial and so it takes months to get a hearing. We have to be remote, which is way less powerful…and then they [the respondents] don’t show up because there’s a lot of games.”

“It’s always been a long fight to get to trial, but it’s longer now because of COVID.”

“I’m sure it will be even longer when we challenge these lawsuits because my three partners and I are three moms with kids, and we’re up against, for example, with the Los Angeles Unified School District, a $330 million budget. So litigation budgets; they make it very, very difficult for us to do even the most basic of things…but we have to move forward. We have to protect each other.”

Epoch Times Photo
Dr. Aaron Kheriaty, former professor of psychiatry at UC Irvine’s School of Medicine, is seen in Irvine, Calif., on Oct. 27, 2021. (Zhen Wang/The Epoch Times)

Ethics of Vaccinating Children Without Parental Consent

The recent cases of vaccinating without parental consent illuminate an issue with medical ethics.

Dr. Aaron Kheriaty, chief medical ethics officer of Unity Project, condemned the State’s actions to circumvent parents in the decision for vaccination.

“Parents are the rightful surrogate decision-makers for their own children when it comes to medical informed consent. The State cannot take this right away from parents, who have primary responsibility for the health and welfare of their own children. It is profoundly unjust and unethical for the State to remove this parental right,” he wrote to The Epoch Times in an email.

“Children are not capable of giving informed consent for medical decisions that have potentially serious consequences,” he wrote. He added the exception of extreme cases of parental abuse and neglect, of which there “must be confirmed on a case-by-case basis by a court following a careful fact finding legal process.”

Kheriaty and Sextro have both testified in front of the California assembly against AB 2098 which, if passed, can subject doctors that spread COVID-19 “misinformation” and “disinformation” with the removal of their medical license.

“The text of AB 2098 makes three statements about COVID that are already outdated,” Kheriaty argued, citing studies that show the vaccine has negative efficacy against the Omicron variant, and another study that shows vaccines reduce sperm count.

“If this bill becomes law, doctors will be punished for practicing medicine according to their best judgment. Informed consent, which is the foundation of medical ethics, will be compromised. Forward thinking physicians will simply leave the state rather than practice under these conditions. Most concerningly, all that will result in harm to our patients.”

Epoch Times Photo
Laura Sextro, CEO and co-founder of the Unity Project, at the FreedomFest conference in Las Vegas on July 15, 2022. (The Epoch Times)

Discrimination and Blame Tactics to Vaccinate Children

Sextro told The Epoch Times that schools in California have employed various tactics to vaccinate children by ostracizing the unvaccinated.

“We were talking to attorneys about developing discrimination cases because there were children that were literally being sat on one side of the classroom, while everyone else who was vaccinated got sat on another side of the classroom,” Sextro said.

A school would put yellow stars on children that were not vaccinated, some high schools barred unvaccinated students from attending prom, graduation, sport activities, and “a whole host of shocking behavior” from schools, and teachers “to push the vaccine narrative.”

Sextro mentioned another case in Southern California. The school’s baseball coach passed away from COVID-19. One of the history teachers “sat the kids down and gave them a speech and told them…because most of them didn’t vaccinate soon enough, and because they didn’t mask up properly, that their baseball coach died.”

If some of these “bad bills“ are made into legislation, they will act in concert with schools that are pushing the vaccine narrative to pressure students into getting vaccines, Sextro speculated.

She raised SB 1479, which she speculates is likely to pass.

This bill will require unvaccinated children to get weekly COVID-19 tests; the testing results will also be passed along to a database.

COVID-19 tests have a high risk of yielding false positives, and therefore put unvaccinated children at risk of missing more days from school.

Sextro gave a hypothetical scenario where the bills—if passed—and actions of schools may create a perfect environment to pressure unvaccinated children into getting vaccinated: The child is unvaccinated and has to go through their weekly testing. Given the current climate in Californian schools, it is unlikely that schools will protect the vaccination identity; rather, the students will “be ostracized and be made an example.”

“Then in comes SB 866, which states that children as young as 12 years old…can make their own medical decisions with or without the knowledge or consent of the parents.”

“In addition to that, they’ll be able to elect to seal their own medical records…so God forbid that they suffer some type of adverse reaction—which we know has happened—their parents would have no idea why that has happened.”

Sextro sees SB 866 as an alternative strategy to SB 871 for the State to come to the same end goal of vaccinating children. However she’s concerned that many Californians are unaware of the new bills that are in the legislative process.

She argues that the State is trying to keep these bills under wraps, therefore a major part of Sextro’s work is raising public awareness.

The group has put together a flier that discusses the State’s bills, and volunteers can sign up to help through the website and receive training online.

They can then print out or order fliers through the website for distribution through their communities to raise awareness of the matter.

“Part of the training is about making sure that people understand it’s about public awareness. We do not want people engaging in arguments. We don’t want them spreading anything that’s inaccurate.”

They have also put through digital campaigns called Align Act campaigns.

“It’s really a public awareness [campaign] and the intent is to have them go viral…I’ll give you an example. We actually targeted the head of the teachers union. I think something like 600,000 actions, meaning the head of the teachers union… received [600,000] phone calls, emails, or social media messages from individuals expressing their opposition to vaccine mandates [for children in levels K to 12].”

The group also hosts webinars with health experts on the medical concerns over the COVID-19 vaccine, and monthly podcasts with various experts. “Our most recent [podcast] being Dr. Robert Malone… we spoke with Matt Beaudreau who is an expert in homeschooling as an option for parents who don’t want to have their children in an environment where they could be exposed to a whole host of things that are happening now in the school system.”

Health 1+1
Health 1+1 is the most authoritative Chinese medical and health information platform overseas. Every Tuesday to Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. EST on TV and online, the program covers the latest on the coronavirus, prevention, treatment, scientific research and policy, as well as cancer, chronic illness, emotional and spiritual health, immunity, health insurance, and other aspects to provide people with reliable and considerate care and help. Online: EpochTimes.com/Health TV: NTDTV.com/live
Marina Zhang
Marina Zhang is based in New York and covers health and U.S. news. Contact her at marina.zhang@epochtimes.com.
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