Welp. There were some fits and starts, but the lawsuit on behalf of Coast Guard service members has been filed in federal court, the S.D. Texas (Galveston Division). The case number is 3:22-cv-00265. Here is a copy of the complaint if you would like to download it for your very own. I recommend if you’re a member of the suit that you do so and take some time to become familiar with it.
I saw the message today that the Coast Guard is set to begin discharging those who are unvaccinated, so not much time to rest.
Next steps go like this: (A) the clerk of court issues summonses for the Defendants, which takes a a day or two; then (B) we have to serve each of the Defendants (plus the U.S. Attorney in the relevant district) – then (C) we’ll get in touch with the DoJ attorneys representing the Coast Guard/DHS and start discussing the message that I mentioned above and see if there’s some way to stop the discharges while we litigate the case. My guess is that the DoJ attorneys will take the same position they have in other cases, which is that they will only stop the discharge/separation train for “named plaintiffs.”
Given that, we already have a Motion to Intervene in the works, which is a procedural mechanism for plaintiffs who believe they qualify to join an existing class action case. So, we’ll make sure we’ve got everyone’s paperwork square and then we’ll file the MTI to bring on all of the Coasties we have on our roster right now.
A little clarity on that issue – there are several attorneys on this case. “My” clients are all of you who have already provided paperwork. This complaint was the fulfillment of my promise to all of those Coasties who I couldn’t and didn’t take in the Wilson et al v. Austin case in E.D. Tx. That group has blossomed from ~40 to about 135 or so.
Simon Peter “Pete” Serrano (of the Silent Majority Foundation) is one of the attorneys who will be alongside with us. He will start taking on any new folks who want to join. He has his own fee schedule based upon his firm’s overhead and so there may be differences. That’s just how it is. He and his paralegal Maddie will handle those new folks; Rachel and I will continue to manage our original group (alongside one of your own, the amazing Chris Harkins, USCG, who has been helping and passing word all along.)
My thanks to all of you members of the “forgotten” service, who take a ton of risks in war and peace, and get very little credit for it. It’s a great privilege to represent you all, particularly for vindication of your religious freedoms, statutory, and Constitutional rights. Step 1 complete – the journey begins.