JACKSONVILLE: Liberty Counsel Appeals LGBT Rights Ordinance On Behalf Of Private Ambulance Company

Via press release:

Liberty Counsel filed a brief in the appeal of Jacksonville, Florida residents and businesses against the city’s 2017 ordinance that added “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as “protected categories” under Jacksonville law. The lawsuit, Parsons v. City of Jacksonville, seeks to invalidate the so-called “Human Rights Ordinance” or “HRO” because its authors and sponsors illegally hid the effects of the ordinance through intentionally deceptive drafting and messaging.

In the first round of the litigation, the trial court dismissed Liberty Counsel’s case against the HRO, on the theory that the plaintiffs lack legal standing to file the lawsuit because they are not injured yet or injured enough by the city’s illegal act. In this new round, Liberty Counsel has appealed the dismissal, and shows in its brief to the First District Court of Appeal that any resident of Jacksonville is already injured by the city’s deception and can challenge the validity of the HRO now under applicable statutes and well-settled precedent. Importantly, none of the city’s filings to date have made any attempt to defend the validity of the HRO under Florida law.

Prior versions of the HRO were defeated twice in Jacksonville with help from Liberty Counsel and others. The 2017 HRO sponsors on the City Council let radical LGBT activists choose the language for the “new” HRO, and then worked together to sell the deceptive and illegal language to the public and other council members. Their false message was that the “new” HRO was somehow different in effect from the previously defeated versions.

The Liberty Counsel filed the suit on behalf of a local wedding venue and a private ambulance service. From a 2015 news article about the latter:

A Jacksonville-based ambulance company has been formally sued by the United States, accused of knowingly submitting false claims to federally subsidized health-care programs, according to the U.S. Attorneys Office for the Middle District of Florida. The government’s complaint describes a 10-year scheme by Liberty Ambulance to direct the submission of false claims to maximize reimbursement. The complaint alleges Liberty used training documents and manuals for employees to falsify records, all part of a culture to justify medically unnecessary ambulance transports and a systematic kickback scheme.

Liberty Ambulance, the complaint alleges, also has a policy and practice of offering certain rates to some private institutions, like hospitals, but not offering these same discounts and rates to the government with the aim of having private companies provide Liberty Ambulance with exclusive access to their federal government subsidized patients. The government says more than $28 million in claims were submitted to the federal health-care programs with the vast majority of these claims being medically unnecessary and predicated on false statement.