HELENA, Mont. - Gov. Steve Bullock and Montana's Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) are being taken to court by a group that says the statewide mask mandate "conscripted private businesses and people to serve as state mask-police."
According to a complaint filed in Lewis and Clark District Court, the group, Stand Up Montana, is seeking an injunction against the governor's mask mandate and Nov. directive.
The lawsuit was filed by Attorney Quentin Rhoades of Missoula.
Rhoades alleges that any COVID-19 restrictions put in place since April should be void, and that Bullock's emergency powers violated those allowed under law by the Montana Constitution.
Anthony Johnstone, a legal professor at the University of Montana, said similar cases have not fared very well.
"The rare circumstances in which they have succeeded have been where the governor's delegated authority from the legislature in an emergency has been more limited than it appears to be in Montana," Johnstone said.
This is not the first time Bullock has been taken to court regarding his COVID-19 directives.
A bowling alley in Missoula and a group from Flathead County have challenged the governor, but both cases were dismissed or withdrawn.
Bullock was also sued in his official capacity as governor, meaning the lawsuit will continue against the governor's office, even after Governor-elect Greg Gianforte takes his place in January.