Maine doctor sues, claiming retaliation over COVID-19 comments

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Published: Aug. 18, 2023 at 11:34 AM EDT
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ELLSWORTH, Maine (WMTW) - An Ellsworth doctor is suing the Maine Board of Licensure in Medicine and its members, alleging they retaliated against her for her criticism of government policies during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Meryl Nass claims her comments are protected by the First Amendment.

Nass filed her complaint Wednesday in U.S. District Court. She says the board suspended her license based on a vague “position statement” that said licensees could face discipline if they “generate and spread COVID-19 vaccine misinformation or disinformation.”

According to the complaint, Nass questioned the government’s handling of the pandemic, the efficacy of mask mandates and the safety of COVID-19 vaccines.

The lawsuit alleges that even questioning the COVID-19 vaccine constituted spreading misinformation.

“In short, Dr. Nass spoke on the same topics that the Position Statement encourages physicians to address, but was expressing viewpoints that the Board of Licensure disfavored,” the complaint states.

Nass claims the board used the statute “as an instrument to crush dissenting views and chill disfavored speech.”

Nass is seeking unspecified damages. She is also asking the court to force the board to retract its position statement and to rule that the state statute that defines the board’s sanctions violate the Constitution.