A Richland man who works on the Hanford reservation claims vaccine mandates violate his right to "bodily autonomy and bodily integrity" and constitute cruel, unusual and unnecessary punishment.
Joseph B. Jensen Sr. is suing President Joe Biden and Gov. Jay Inslee over the requirements, and also Dr. Anthony S. Fauci. He also names the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The lawsuit does not identify Jensen's employer, just that he works for a federal government subcontractor. Hanford has 11,000 Department of Energy, contractor and subcontractor workers.
It was filed in U.S. District Court in Eastern Washington in response to Biden's order that all federal employees had the option to get vaccinated or undergo regular testing.
Inslee followed that up with his own order requiring that all Washington state employees, higher education, childcare and K-12 education employees, along with most health and long-term care providers, to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18 as a condition of employment.
Jensen described mandatory COVID testing as "an unwarranted intrusion into the core principle" that people shall be secure in their person, and "an invasive body search in which a biological sample is taken from the person."
Requiring him to get the vaccine prohibits his "rights to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness" under the U.S. Constitution, he said.
Since then, Biden has updated his multi-step "Out of the Pandemic" plan in response to the Delta variant surge. Now, all federal executive branch workers and employees of federal contractors are required to be vaccinated.
'The Disgruntled Moderate'
"If you want to work with the federal government and do business with us, get vaccinated," Biden said on Sept. 9 in an address to the nation. "If you want to do business with the federal government, vaccinate your workforce."
That means federal workers no longer have the option of being tested twice a week in order to show negative results. It does not apply to non-executive-branch employees, like members of Congress or judicial employees.
The suit — also brought on behalf of Jensen's minor child — says the defendants are depriving his family of "rights secured under the Constitution and laws of the United States; betraying the public trust; conspiring to defraud the citizens of the United States; and ... refusing or neglecting to prevent such deprivations and denials to (the Jensens)."
Jensen is representing himself in the legal action. He identifies as "The Disgruntled Moderate" in his email address.
His child is included in the lawsuit because, as a father, he is "entrusted with protecting and enforcing (his child's) rights."
Children under age 12 currently are not eligible for a COVID vaccine.
Mike Faulk, Inslee's deputy communications director, said his office is aware of Jensen's lawsuit.
"We stand by the governor's actions to protect the safety and health of everyone in the state," Faulk told the Tri-City Herald. "There has not been a single successful challenge to the governor's use of his office's emergency authority. He has exercised it appropriately and saved countless lives as a result."
Jensen's 26-page complaint details the global spread of and response to the coronavirus — from the start of the COVID outbreak in Wuhan, China, in late 2019, to the United States' declaration of a national emergency in March 2020, to the vaccine trials and discussions on possible drug treatments.
Jensen wrote that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) permitted employers in June 2021 to mandate the vaccine among their workforces. He also refers to Biden's initiative to increase vaccinations by offering free childcare.
Jensen noted that Inslee, in a statement to the media, called unvaccinated people "a bioreactor facility generating virus and spreading it around, including to kids who can't get vaccinated."
"I want to reiterate that. If you're a 50-year-old man who, you know, voted for Donald Trump and didn't think COVID was a problem and you don't get vaccinated right now, you're a risk to every kid in your city because you could be spreading the virus to a 10-year-old who can't get eligible for the vaccine right now," Inslee continued. "Now some of us think that's not responsible, and if that's judgment, so be it."
47 causes of action
Jensen wrote that he has the right to decide his own medical health direction with the advice of his personal doctor, and should not be directed by government.
He accused Fauci and the three federal agencies of deceiving Jensen and the American people "by spreading disinformation about the origins of the SARS-CoV-2 virus," and enacting guidance they knew governors, mayors and legislators would rely on to combat the global pandemic.
He also said that Fauci and the agencies have engaged in "a disinformation campaign to discredit and refuse the American people from using a cheap, established, effective and safe drug (ivermectin)."
As a result of those actions, people have suffered "catastrophic injuries from economic, social and educational impacts," the lawsuit states.
"(Their) refusal to be truthful and transparent cause(d) countless injuries and deaths around the world and in America," it continues. "(They) funded the creation of the virus that caused wide-spread death and destruction and profited off (of) the measures to combat it."
The Food and Drug Administration has posted on its website that ivermectin is not authorized or approved to treat or prevent COVID.
Ivermectin is used in specific doses to treat people with parasitic worms, and is not OK to take in large doses because it is neither safe nor effective for COVID, the agency states.
Jensen's case has been assigned to Chief Judge Stanley A. Bastian.
The lawsuit has 47 causes of action, including violations of constitutional and civil rights, crimes against humanity and betrayal of public trust.
Jensen wants the court to declare the executive orders by both Biden and Inslee on vaccination and testing requirements as unconstitutional, and for the CDC, FDA and NIH to publicly acknowledge the use of ivermectin as a prescribed treatment for COVID.