Navy SEAL 1 v. Austin Case Timeline

Jun 8, 2022

See the full timeline of each step taken in Liberty Counsel's fight against military shot mandates in the Navy SEAL 1 case.

DATE ORDER OF EVENTS
8/24/21 Secretary of Defense issues Biden COVID shot mandate for the military.

10/15/21 Liberty Counsel sues DOD in NAVY SEAL 1 v. BIDEN. Liberty Counsel files class action lawsuit along with a motion for a temporary restraining order, preliminary and permanent injunction, and declaratory relief against Biden, Lloyd Austin and U.S. Sec of DHS Alejandro Mayorkas on behalf of members representing the branches of the military, federal employees and federal civilian contractors, who have been unlawfully mandated to get the COVID shots or face separation from the military or termination from employment. Press Release | Class Action Complaint

10/29/21 The court orders defendants and plaintiffs to provide extensive information regarding religious accommodation requests, procedures, grants and denials.

11/10/21 Liberty Counsel filed a reply brief and additional affidavits supporting the need for immediate relief for plaintiffs leading up to Nov. 15, 2021, hearing.

11/15/21 All-day hearing at Middle District Court of Central Florida in Tampa requesting preliminary injunction (PI).

11/22/21 Following 11/15 hearing in Tampa, judge defers his decision on PI and ordered each branch of the military to file a detailed report every 14 days beginning January 7, 2022.

1/10/22 Military’s first report filed with the court on 1/7/22.  Out of 21,342 requests received, zero exemptions had been granted, and many were denied at the final appeal stage for all five branches of the military.

1/21/22 Liberty Counsel adds plaintiffs in amended complaint.

2/1/22 Liberty Counsel filed an emergency motion for temporary restraining order in Navy SEAL 1 v. Biden on behalf of two service members.

2/2/22 Court grants two service members emergency relief in Navy SEAL 1 v. Biden: Navy Warship Commander and Lt. Colonel 2 in the Marines.

2/7/22 Filed amended complaint with district court in Tampa. Navy SEAL 1 v. Biden name changed to Navy SEAL 1 v. Austin. The one lawsuit covering service members, federal employees, and federal civilian contractors is now three separate lawsuits.

2/10/22 All-day hearing in Middle District Court of Central Florida. Judge extends TRO to 2/18/22.

2/13/22 Court orders more documents from DOD in Navy SEAL 1 v. Austin.

2/18/22 Judge grants PI for two military plaintiffs, a Navy Warship Commander and a USMC Lt. Col.

2/22/22 Court urged to grant military class action relief.
Liberty Counsel filed a declaration to support previous request for a preliminary injunction for remaining plaintiffs and to certify the entire class of the military and provide relief from the unlawful shot mandates.

2/25/22 DOD files notice of appeal to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals regarding PI for two service members.

2/28/22 DOD requests the court to stay (set aside) the preliminary injunction for LC’s military plaintiffs.

3/2/22 Judge Steven Merryday denies the DOD’s request to stay the preliminary injunction. Judge Merrday sets an evidentiary hearing for March 10.

3/3/22 DOD files emergency motion with Eleventh Circuit to stay the preliminary injunction.

3/10/22 Liberty Counsel presents testimony of Navy Commander plaintiff and three Army flight surgeons to uphold PI for two plaintiffs. Hearing Transcript

3/11/22 Judge rejects DOD’s request to set aside the injunction and upholds PI for two military service members.

3/15/22 Liberty Counsel files response to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in opposition to DOD’s attempt to stop the PI granted by federal Judge Steven Merryday for two service members.

3/23/22 Liberty Counsel files temporary restraining order on behalf of 22 military service members who face immediate discipline after their religious accommodation requests were denied from the COVID shot mandate.

3/24/22 Liberty Counsel filed a supplemental authority to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals and to the District Court based on SCOTUS' ruling in Ramirez v. Collier which is relevant to our Navy SEAL 1 case

3/25/22 In another military vax mandate case, SCOTUS granted a partial stay focused solely on deployment. The injunction regarding RFRA (Religious Freedom Restoration Act) still stands, but the portion of the injunction addressing deployment is stayed pending final ruling by appeals court or subsequent SCOTUS ruling following a petition for certiorari (review), if any. The partial stay does not affect LC's case, Navy SEAL 1 v. Austin.

3/28/22 Liberty Counsel filed a request for oral argument and supplemental briefing with the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals regarding the preliminary injunction granted by federal Judge Steven Merryday for two service members in the Navy SEAL 1 v. Austin case.

3/28/22 The district court in the Navy SEALS 1-26 (TX) case (not to be confused with LC's Navy SEAL 1 v. Austin case) granted class certification for the Navy and a class wide injunction, but there is a stay on the injunction in accordance with SCOTUS' 3/25 ruling regarding deployment.

3/30/22 Liberty Counsel filed supplemental authority with the U.S. District Court in Tampa on behalf of members of all branches of the military in support of class certification, PI and TRO for entire military. This filing is made in support of class certification after Texas district court granted class cert to the Navy the day before.

3/30/22 The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the DOD's bid to overturn the injunction in Navy SEAL 1 v. Austin. The DOD cannot require the COVID shots and may not discharge the Marine Lt. Col. and the Navy Commander.

3/30/22 The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals also granted a partial say pending appeal, but it is limited. This decision followed the recent ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court in Navy SEALs 1-26 that states the partial stay is only "insofar as it precludes the Navy from considering respondents' vaccination status in making deployment, assignment, and other operational decisions."

4/1/22 Judge Merryday granted a temporary restraining order for a Muslim United States Marine Corps Captain who faced punishment after the military rejected his appeal from a denial for a religious accommodation from the shot mandate.

4/8/22 Liberty Counsel filed for a temporary restraining order on behalf of a U.S. Air Force Academy Cadet who faces immediate discipline after being denied his appeal for a religious accommodation from the COVID shot mandate.

4/11/22 Preliminary Injunction hearing for United States Marine Corps Captain who was granted a TRO on 4/1/22.

4/15/22 Liberty Counsel filed a declaration revealing evidence of the abuse, intimidation and retaliation military members are facing over the Biden shot mandate.

4/15/22 Judge Merryday issued an order extending the TRO granted on 4/1/22 for the USMC Captain until April 22.

4/21/22 Judge Merryday granted a preliminary injunction for the USMC Captain who was granted a TRO on 4/1/22.

4/25/22 Judge Merryday granted a TRO for a U.S. Air Force Academy Cadet who faced immediate discipline after being denied his appeal for a religious accommodation from the COVID shot mandate.

4/26/22 Liberty Counsel filed a memo urging Judge Merryday to issue a class-wide preliminary injunction in Navy SEAL 1 v. Austin for the entire class of the service members in every branch of the military.

4/27/22 Liberty Counsel filed a supplemental memorandum in Navy SEAL 1 v. Austin in support of a preliminary injunction for U.S. Air Force Academy Cadet.

4/28/22 Preliminary injunction hearing before federal Judge Merryday for U.S. Air Force Academy Cadet.

5/24/22 Liberty Counsel filed a response asking federal Judge Steven Merryday to deny the Department of Defense's (DOD) motion to dismiss the Navy SEAL 1 v. Austin. The DOD argued that each of the plaintiffs and the class should be separately litigated in different courts around the country.

6/3/22

Judge Steven Merryday issued an order requesting that military plaintiffs who reside in or are deployed in the Florida counties of Hardee, Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk or Sarasota be added to the case along with the existing plaintiffs. As soon as a Marine plaintiff is added in one of the counties, Judge Merryday will rule on class certification for the Marines. The Air Force case is temporarily stayed pending the ruling on class certification in the Georgia and Ohio cases.

The Army, Coast Guard, U.S. Space Force and National Guard cases will add plaintiffs in one of the Tampa district counties.









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