Palomar Health Director Files Free Speech Suit After Alleged Boardroom Battery in San Diego

Palomar Health Director Files Free Speech Suit After Alleged Boardroom Battery in San DiegoSource: Google Street View
Kamal Jenkins
Published on November 27, 2023

Palomar Health District Director Laurie Edwards-Tate was reportedly attacked by fellow board member Laura Barry during a heated meeting. According to an account by the San Diego News Desk, the incident escalated to physical violence after Barry hurled profanities at Edwards-Tate, prompting a temporary adjournment for safety.

Amidst this chaos, Edwards-Tate turned to legal recourse for what she dubbed an infringement on her First Amendment rights, a liberty cherished as the nation's beacon of democratic discourse; she has sued Palomar Health for allegedly attempting to muzzle her critiques of their handling of public information, as reported by Voice of San Diego.

The dispute arose over Palomar Health's revised website terms, which experts believed might be in breach of state laws, particularly the new copyright clause forbidding unauthorized use of website materials, a move Edwards-Tate publicly criticized, and Palomar Health pushed back, claiming her statements lacked coordination with official channels and spread 'false and misleading information'.

"The First Amendment guarantees elected officials may freely communicate with their constituents regarding matters of public concern," Dhillon Law Group Counsel Karin Sweigart declared in a legal battle via the San Diego News Desk where Edwards-Tate's attorneys launched a staunch defense. Karin Sweigart also said, "It is hard to think of a more blatant infringement on First Amendment speech than the government telling a legislator they cannot tell their constituents they think a government policy is a bad one" as noted by Voice of San Diego.

Edwards-Tate herself has expressed fear for her safety post-altercation yet remains resolute, stating, "I never would have imagined that I would be assaulted by a fellow member of the Board because of a dissenting point of view," according to a statement obtained by the San Diego News Desk.