NewsMissoula County


Lolo Community Club withdraws from lawsuit against Health Dept.

Lolo Community Club Lawsuit
Lolo Community Club Lawsuit
Posted at 9:04 AM, Jan 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-27 11:35:09-05

LOLO — A new lawsuit against the Missoula City-County Health Department has the community of Lolo up in arms.

One by one, residents of Lolo turned out for a special community meeting Tuesday night; you could say it was a pandemic-sized packed house.

"We really know how the community feels, at least the outspoken ones. We've already had about 600 comments on three different pages," said Lolo Community Club board member Steph Walther.

The Lolo Community Club learned last week that its chair, Warren Kingdon, had filed a lawsuit against the Missoula City-County Health Department regarding COVID regulations.

In the lawsuit, he added his own business, Wild Bean Coffee, and he added the community club, but that was done without their consent.

Lolo Community Club Lawsuit
The Lolo Community Club board voted 3-to-2 on Jan. 26, 2021, to withdraw from a lawsuit against the Missoula City-County Health Department.

"We didn't vote on it. I wasn't notified, another board member told me that he had no idea, and it just breaks the rules of, you know the rules and the regulations that govern nonprofits, and it also brings unwanted controversy," said Walther.

Additional parties involved in the lawsuit include Stand Up Montana, Crosspoint Community Church, among others who feel that the Missoula Board of Health violated their rights by adopting COVID protocols.

"It’s been made very challenging and very unfair," said Kingdon. "We’ve followed what they’ve asked of us every time, but we’ve had events canceled and this has cost us a lot of money."

At the special meeting, the board heard comments from the public regarding the lawsuit. Some were masked, others were not, the gesture indicating which side of the controversy they belonged to.

According to Walther, the controversy wasn't about one point of view versus another, but rather the rules of a nonprofit.

At the end of Tuesday's meeting, upon receiving the community's input, board members voted to withdraw from the lawsuit in a 3-to-2 vote.