The U.S. Department of Defense must pay $1.8 million in legal fees to a Florida-based law firm that represented service members punished by the military after their religious exemption requests from the COVID-19 jab were denied.
“The DOD will be writing us a $1.8 million check for attorney’s fees and costs after two years of litigation over the military COVID shot mandate. We stand ready to defend our defenders if any religious discrimination occurs in the future,” Liberty Counsel said Wednesday.
The DOD will be writing us a $1.8 million check for attorney’s fees and costs after two years of litigation over the military COVID shot mandate. We stand ready to defend our defenders if any religious discrimination occurs in the future.https://t.co/Fr578FJQ6m
— Liberty Counsel (@libertycounsel) October 4, 2023
Liberty Counsel issued this statement:
A signed settlement agreement has been filed in the Middle District Court of Florida that requires the Department of Defense (DOD) to pay Liberty Counsel $1.8 million for attorney’s fees and costs after two years of litigation since the Biden administration issued the memoranda mandating that service members receive the COVID-19 shot.
As a result of Liberty Counsel’s class action lawsuits in Navy SEAL 1 v. Austin and Colonel Financial Management Officer, et al. v. Austin, and after Liberty Counsel obtained multiple restraining orders and injunctions, including a class-wide injunction, the DOD was forced to abandon its mandate and rescind the August 24, 2021 and November 30, 2021 memoranda on January 10, 2023. This settlement agreement comes after thousands of service members have been denied religious accommodation requests (RAR) from the unlawful federal COVID shot mandate. Some service members have been punished, demoted, or discharged as a result. The many restraining orders and the class-wide injunction Liberty Counsel won stopped the DOD’s unlawful shot mandate.
The DOD is now required to pay Liberty Counsel within 21 days.
Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “The military COVID shot mandate is dead. Our heroic service members can no longer be forced to take this experimental jab that conflicts with their religious convictions. Through our daily work with service members in every branch, we have had the privilege of knowing some of the finest people who love God and love America. These heroes should not have been mistreated by our own government. At the same time, we have come to realize that many of the high-ranking members of leadership, the Pentagon, and the Biden administration need to be replaced. Collectively, they dishonored the brave men and women who defend our freedom. We stand ready to defend our defenders of freedom if any religious discrimination occurs in the future.”
The Department of Defense rescinded the COVID-19 jab mandate when Joe Biden signed the Fiscal 2023 National Defense Authorization Act.
Yet, the damage was already done.
The Defender reports:
Congress ended the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for U.S. military forces under an $858 billion defense spending bill signed by President Joe Biden on Dec. 23, 2022. The bill gave the military 30 days to work out the details for rescinding the mandate.
The Navy rescinded its COVID-19 vaccine mandate in January 2023, and ordered all Navy commands to “stop any new adverse administrative actions associated with refusing the COVID-19 vaccine.”
Settlement comes after judge declares cases moot
The two lawsuits filed by Liberty Counsel were dismissed in May.
The settlement agreement is unusual in that the judge for the two cases declared them moot, dismissing them in light of the military branches’ rescission of their mandates.Advertisement
Liberty Counsel’s founder and chairman, Mat Staver, told The Defender about a law that allows prevailing parties in court decisions providing injunctive relief, even when no final judgment is made, to file for attorney’s fees and costs.
The DOD and Liberty Counsel entered mediation last week and worked out the details by Friday, he said.
Judges for the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals also ruled a number of other similar cases moot for the same reason.
Staver told The Defender a senior military officer told him, “We have been prepared to fight the enemy, but we were not prepared to say that enemy was our own military.”
The U.S. military at the helm of this administration abused, intimidated, and punished service members for refusing to take a toxic experimental injection.