Daniel Uhlfelder, a lawyer known famously as the Grim Reaper, filed in opposition Tuesday to Gov. Ron DeSantis‘s motion to prevent oral arguments in Uhlfelder’s lawsuit to close Florida’s beaches.
“Oral argument will enhance the Court’s understanding of the issues set forth in the briefs and replies thereto,” Uhlfelder said in his response. “The gravity of the underlying action is far too significant to deny Uhlfelder the opportunity to argue his position in front of this Court. Simply put, this appeal is too important to the people of the State of Florida to be argued on paper.”
Uhlfelder filed a lawsuit against DeSantis in March as a means to force the Governor to close Florida’s beaches. He contended then that DeSantis “has the responsibility to initiate immediate action to cope with the emerging health problems and try to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.”
In his response filed with the Florida 1st District Court of Appeal, Uhlfelder argued that the situation has only grown more dire.
“DeSantis’s gross dereliction of his constitutionally obligated duties has caused the State of Florida to become the current worldwide epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak,” the response said. “The virus has disastrously affected the personal and economic health of nearly all Floridians which Uhlfelder is seeking to address in his pending lawsuit.”
Since the onset of the pandemic, DeSantis has declined to issue a statewide beach closures. Instead, he has passed the decision to local governments.
Uhlfelder has dressed as the Grim Reaper and traveled to beaches and cities across the state in protest of the Governor’s COVID-19 response. The tactic has earned the North Florida attorney international media attention.
In early July, Uhlfelder joined a group of doctors outside of the Governor’s Mansion to urge DeSantis to issue a statewide mask mandate.
Donning a black hooded gown and wielding a scythe, he vowed to continue his campaign until the Governor begins taking the pandemic seriously.
“I’m not going to stop,” Uhlfelder said. “If I have to wear this costume till I pass out in Key West, I will because I love Florida and I care about Florida.”