Fresh Lawsuit Launched Against CDC’s Federal Mask Mandate

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Reporter
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.
February 1, 2022 Updated: February 1, 2022

A new lawsuit has been filed to challenge the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s (CDC) order mandating masks while taking many forms of transportation in the United States, including plane rides and subways.

Florida residents Michael Seklecki Sr. and his son, 4-year-old Michael Seklecki Jr., are asking a federal court to rule that the CDC did not have adequate authority to issue the order, which has been in place since early 2021.

The CDC inappropriately failed to include a public comment period and Congress never gave authority to the Executive Branch to promulgate such a mandate, according to the 124-page lawsuit filed in federal court in Massachusetts.

Seklecki’s son requires frequent medical treatment at Boston Children’s Hospital and the family must fly there or endure 20-hour car rides each way. His son, who has autism spectrum disorder, “cannot tolerate and has no understanding of covering his face,” Seklecki told The Epoch Times.

Despite presenting a doctor’s note stating the boy cannot wear a mask due to the autism, the family’s initial attempts to fly following the mandate didn’t go well.

The CDC’s order contains an exception for people with disabilities but airlines frequently fail to approve exceptions in every case they should, the family says.

Southwest Airlines told the family that they could submit a doctor’s note and other forms but that there was no guarantee the request would be approved, a risk the family felt they could not take, according to the suit.

American Airlines, meanwhile, is accused of listing illegal requirements to obtain a mask mandate waiver.

“It’s scary. As parents, we can’t get our son to medical appointments without wondering if we’re going to be denied boarding or not. That he can’t sit in the seat as a normal passenger and a citizen to attend an appointment is mind-blowing,” Seklecki said.

Southwest and Airlines are named defendants, along with the CDC and its parent agency, the Department of Health and Human Services.

None responded to requests for comment.

Spirit Airlines, Delta Airlines, and Frontier Airlines are engaged in pre-litigation settlement discussions but may be added to the case later.

The family has been flying with Delta Airlines because it’s the only carrier that will accommodate the 4-year-old’s need not to wear a mask, but using Delta over cheaper airlines has cost them more money, Seklecki said. However, the carrier is named in a separate suit that alleges it does not honor the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Seklecki is one of the plaintiffs whose request for an emergency stay on the government’s mask mandate for planes was blocked by the Supreme Court in January.

This case is different because it targets different defendants and does not include any emergency motions.

Multiple other challenges have been lodged against the CDC’s mandate, but none have so far succeeded.

Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.