An emergency injunction has been granted by a Washington state appeals court to a retired doctor who is facing a disciplinary probe from the Washington Medical Commission (WMC) for articles he published in 2021 that went against the official Covid narrative at the time.
Retired ophthalmologist Dr. Richard J. Eggleston in Clarkston, WA is facing disciplinary action for articles he published in the Lewiston Tribune which challenged official Covid information and guidance.
While the U.S. officially ended the Covid emergency on May 11, during the pandemic, doctors could be accused of spreading misinformation by publishing, speaking out, or offering medical advice that went against the official narrative and advice produced by the CDC or WHO.
As a result of the government's efforts to silence medical professionals who disagreed with the narrative, the WMC filed charges against Dr. Eggleston for unprofessional conduct which included spreading misinformation about the Covid virus and effective treatment methods. According to the charges, Dr. Eggleston violated state laws regarding misrepresentation, interference with an investigation, and moral turpitude.
While Dr. Eggleston has maintained his innocence and insisted that his articles should be protected by the First Amendment as free speech, he attempted to have the disciplinary actions against him dismissed on the grounds that the statutes used to justify the actions by the WMC infringed upon his constitutional rights.
The initial motion to dismiss was denied, but the appeals court's recently granted emergency injunction has given Dr. Eggleston a temporary reprieve as it stops the disciplinary proceedings so the court has time to do a more thorough investigation of the case.
The WMC, however, wants to continue the fact-finding hearing claiming that it's to protect public health and carry out its disciplinary responsibilities on behalf of the medical field "and to resolve issues of fact and credibility that require the expertise of teh commission to resolve," according to a Commissioner's Ruling.
Meanwhile, Court Commissioner Hailey L Landrus noted in her ruling that delaying the proceeding for the court to further examine the case will not cause harm to the public. Attorneys for the WMC argued that staying the proceeding would create an inconvenience for the commission.
Landrus supported Dr. Eggleston's argument stating that public dialogue by professionals should receive First Amendment protection and that having that dialogue prosecuted can cause a "chilling effect" on the right to free speech for not only Dr. Eggleston but other professionals in the medical field as well.
Landrus noted in her ruling that "Dr. Eggleston has a competing interest in enjoining the disciplinary proceedings in order to seek First Amendment protection for his speech, which is the reason for the administrative proceedings in the first place. Denying a stay would, according to Dr. Eggleston, violate his constitutional right to free speech."
"Balancing the parties competing interests and hardships favors Dr. Eggleston," Landrus concluded.
The Court Commissioner also pointed out that by granting the stay and allowing the Court to review the trial court's decision could also save time and valuable resources as the review could potentially resolve the entire disciplinary action.
The stay creates a small window of opportunity this week for the WMC to withdraw its charges against the doctor, however, if the commission chooses to continue with the charges, then the legal process will proceed as planned after the stay, according to Zerohedge.
"I'm very happy to see that this part of the legal system understands this First Amendment issue and basic rights to get accurate information from a physician," Dr. Eggleston said in response to the stay being granted.
Meanwhile, Dr. Eggleston's attorney Todd Richardson reiterated the importance of protecting First Amendment rights saying, "As Americans, if we don't conscientiously defend these foundational rights and freedoms, we may soon wake up to realize we have lost them."
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