A woman who suffered severe nerve damage after receiving a COVID-19 vaccination and four others with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 vaccine injuries launched a lawsuit against President Joe Biden and his administration on May 22.
In addition to Biden, defendants include Rob Flaherty, a top adviser to Biden; White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre; the Department of Homeland Security; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); and Surgeon General Vivek Murthy.
The CDC declined to comment. The other defendants did not respond to requests for comment, or could not be reached.
Dressen hailed the lawsuit as a major development for those reporting to be suffering from vaccine injuries.
"People injured by the COVID vaccines in the United States have not been able to file suit anywhere, under any circumstance," she told The Epoch Times. "So this is a landmark case for Americans injured by the COVID vaccine."
CensorshipThe five people who experienced serious problems following vaccination are joined by Ernest Ramirez, whose son died after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. They've repeatedly been censored by platforms like Twitter and Instagram as they tried to share their stories.
Ramirez, for instance, saw a GoFundMe that sought to raise funds for him to travel to Washington to share his son's story taken down. GoFundMe claimed the account was removed for violating conduct the company prohibits. GoFundMe did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
"When I really started to share and open up about things, I started to notice that a lot of stuff was being taken down and censored," Holland told The Epoch Times. "That adds a whole new world of questioning to motive and what's really going on because ... why would you censor something you might need to look into to protect millions of others?"
TikTok did not immediately return a query.
The other plaintiffs are Shaun Barcavage, a former nurse who has been on disability leave since suffering medical problems after receiving Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine; Kristi Dobbs, a dental hygienist who suffered "debilitating medical injuries" after a shot of Pfizer's vaccine; and Suzanna Newell, who is also on disability leave due to problems following vaccination.
The right to peacefully assemble was also violated when Facebook and other big tech platforms disbanded groups where those with suspected or confirmed adverse reactions following vaccination gathered, according to the suit.
One Facebook group called "A Wee Sprinkle of Hope" was shut down after a group member posted an infographic of symptoms people have experienced following COVID-19 vaccination and Dressen shared a link to a press conference at which she had shared about her symptoms.
Facebook's message to Dressen was that the group violated the company's “Community Standards on misinformation that could cause physical harm.” Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for an explanation from the group.
The removal of the groups robbed those suffering injuries after a COVID-19 vaccine of key gathering places for the exchange of information as they sought to figure out how to treat their often-debilitating conditions. Dressen said she is aware of multiple suicides as a result, because the censorship sparked feelings of helplessness amid the suffering.
EvidenceEvidence unearthed in an ongoing case against the government, as well as internal Twitter documents, underpin the new case.
The case has provided evidence that government officials "engaged in viewpoint discrimination," with plaintiffs having "plausibly alleged ... extensive and highly effective efforts by government officials to ‘silence or muffle the expression of disfavored viewpoints," U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty, a Trump appointee overseeing the case, wrote in a ruling rejecting the government's attempt to dismiss it.
"It's very evident that the federal government was involved in stifling free speech of Americans," Dressen told The Epoch Times.
“The government claims that it suppresses so-called misinformation for the sake of public safety and welfare. It is the government’s view that Americans cannot be trusted with their own minds and must be shielded at all costs from mis-, dis-, and malinformation—which is whatever the government deems it to be. Fortunately, the First Amendment says otherwise: the government may neither censor our clients nor induce others to do so," Casey Norman, a lawyer with the New Civil Liberties Alliance, which is representing the plaintiffs, added in a statement.
Plaintiffs are seeking a ruling that the defendants violated the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment, an injunction enjoining Biden and the other defendants, as well as people acting in concert with them, from continuing. They are also hoping the suit results in the development of new rules.
"I hope by and large that this helps put some reasonable regulations in place in the future," Dressen said, "so this never happens again."