Florida attorney and coronavirus 'Grim Reaper' keeps pushing lawsuit to force Gov. DeSantis into closing beaches


  • Photo via Daniel Uhlfelder/Twitter

Northwest Florida man Daniel Uhlfelder started making headlines back in early May, when he began making appearances on Florida's public beaches as the Grim Reaper, and releasing video of his travels on social media.

It was all to call attention to the dangers of reopening Florida's beaches amid the coronavirus pandemic.

A real estate and family attorney by trade, Uhlfelder put his money where his scythe is, filing a lawsuit against Gov. Ron DeSantis on March 20, demanding he temporarily close Florida's beaches and issue a safer-at-home order to save lives.

"At that time," wrote Uhlfelder, "there were 563 cases of COVID-19 and 10 deaths and I argued that DeSantis' failure will cause more deaths and sickness."

As of today, Florida has officially reached 291,629 cases and 4,514 deaths, with a new record for same-day deaths, 132, added on Monday.

Leon County Circuit Judge Kevin Carroll granted a motion to dismiss, filed by DeSantis, claiming the separation-of-powers clause of the Florida Constitution prevents him from compelling a governor to act — a position which Uhlfelder says is incorrect.

Interestingly, in dismissing the case, Judge Carroll also encouraged Uhlfelder to pursue an appeal in the case, "because I do think this is a matter of importance."

"The case is on appeal and my brief is due soon," Uhlfelder wrote after. "Unfortunately, my prediction that Florida will be epicenter turned was true."
  • Photo via Daniel Uhlfelder/Twitter
On April 7, Uhlfelder did file a 25-page brief, asking the 1st District Court of Appeal to overturn the Leon circuit court's decision to dismiss the lawsuit against DeSantis. He disputes that the separation of powers should lead to the dismissal of the case.

"In fact, the separation of powers mandates judicial intervention to protect the health and welfare of Florida’s citizens from DeSantis' constitutional abdication of his sworn duties," his brief said. "The preservation of Floridians' lives is dependent on the judiciary protecting them, because it is clear DeSantis has no interest in protecting their lives during this deadly global pandemic where Florida has now quickly become the epicenter."

More recently, Uhlfelder has called out DeSantis for refusing to issue a statewide mask order, but he's also drawn criticism himself, from right-leaning media noting he attended Black Lives Matter protests.

Still, Uhlfelder remains resolute, tweeting on this deadly Monday, "Florida has set a one-day COVID-19 death record for the state with 132 which means a Floridian is dying every 11 minutes from COVID-19."

"The total number of deaths for the past week ... is almost as much as total number of cases when I first sued him," Uhlfelder wrote just three days earlier. "I am not giving up. Thank you for standing with me."
  • Photo via Daniel Uhlfelder/Twitter
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