Last week, Ignite Liberty reported that the case between Venom 64 et al., vs. Oklahoma City, that the Plaintiffs and the Defendants provided their reasoning on why the case either is or is not moot. During that hearing, the Honorable Judge Ogden presented a U.S Supreme Court case that he believed bore relevance to the case before him and issued a continuance so that both parties could review the newfound case law.
On Monday, August 23, 2021, Attorney Frank Urbanic stepped foot back inside the Oklahoma County Courthouse to stand against what he and his clients believe is an overreach of Municipal power. The City’s attorneys presented multiple cases which were dismissed and that they think were similar.
Ultimately, Judge Ogden denied the motion to dismiss the case as moot, stating that he believes this case is one of “broad public concern”. With this decision, the case is now on track to move into the discovery phase and eventually trial.
In an Ignite Liberty exclusive interview, Urbanic stated that he was pleased with the hearing outcome and that he is eager to move onto the next step in the process. He said that his clients are not asking for “compensatory damages” but that the lawsuit seeks a “declaratory judgement” regarding the vocabulary of the City’s Riot and Prevention Control Act.
When asked about his goals for the lawsuit, he responded that he and his clients seek a “judicial determination on the propriety of what [Mayor] Holt did”. To that end, Urbanic stated that the discovery phase will include a deposition of Mayor Holt to determine the standard that was used to invoke the RCPA. It is Urbanic’s belief that the standard was arbitrary, and therefore illegal.
The “declaratory judgment” and the “judicial determination” are orders that the presiding judge can issue in the case. The purpose of both orders is for the court to interpret the law when two parties interpret the law in different ways. In this particular situation, the City argues that the Holt was authorized to enact the curfews due to his interpretation of the word “disaster.”
Under the Riot Control and Prevention Act for Oklahoma City it prescribes that the mayor may enact curfews for the purpose of restoring order. Urbanic argues, there was no “disaster.” Further stating that for the mayor to “restore order,” there must have been a state of “disorder”; Urbanic and his clients do not believe any disorder was present or imminent when Holt enacted the order in November of last year.
The date for the next preceding has not yet been determined. However, the very fact that this lawsuit continues acts as a deterrent to any additional mask mandates or restrictions on businesses in Oklahoma City…which alone is a huge victory for liberty. Ultimately, a final ruling in Urbanic’s favor would serve as invaluable precedent to prevent future abuses of power by municipalities in Oklahoma.
Ignite Liberty will continue to monitor the advancement of the case and will continue to bring you the must-up to date information.
– Jonathan Hewitt