A Tulsa man is suing the City of Tulsa to stop the mask ordinance that went into effect on Thursday.
Jeffrey Dickstein asked the court for an injunction against the mandate, saying it is unconstitutional and government overreach. After he filed this lawsuit at the courthouse on Friday, he said he believes the city is out of its legal authority.
Jeffrey Dickstein said he used to be an attorney in California working on federal criminal tax law defense for 40 years. Today, he was at the courthouse to sue the City of Tulsa, where he lives now.
"I submit the city council had no legal authority to issue the ordinance," Dickstein said.
He pointed specifically to the Oklahoma state constitution, and the civil emergencies portion of the city's ordinances. It defines a civil emergency as a riot or unlawful assembly, or any natural disaster or man-made calamity, including a flood, fire, cyclone, tornado, earthquake, or explosion within city limits. He claimed COVID-19 wouldn't fall under that.
"Whether there's a pandemic going around or not, and how deadly it is, I believe remains to be seen. I guess hospitals are filling up and people are getting sick," Dickstein said. "It's still up to us as Americans to determine how we want to deal with it."
Mayor GT Bynum has signed nearly a dozen executive orders since March, proclaiming the existence of a civil emergency. Each order has added or removed restrictions that city leaders said are in place to keep Tulsans safe.
A spokesperson for the City of Tulsa said that they will not comment on pending litigation. However, on Wednesday, Mayor Bynum told councilors before the ordinance vote, the city was prepared to be challenged in court
"When you look at legal precedent, there is much more historic legal precedence under Oklahoma state law for local governing bodies making orders putting regulations like this in place," Bynum said.
Dickstein also filed asking for an emergency judgment to halt the ordinance. The judge denied that request, because the City of Tulsa wasn't notified today before the suit was filed. The judge's office says the case is still pending.