Eight Bars, Restaurants Sue Acton, DeWine Over ‘Constitutionally Vague’ Restrictions

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A lawsuit has been filed against Ohio Health Director Dr. Amy Acton and Gov. Mike DeWine in Lake County Common Pleas Court over “constitutionally vague” restrictions on restaurants and bars, The News-Herald reported.

The case has been assigned to Lake County Common Pleas Court Judge John P. O’Donnell. The plaintiffs are eight bars and restaurants, all but one being located in Northeast Ohio.

Connick Law filed the lawsuit June 4, arguing Acton’s orders require that “restaurants and bars in the state of Ohio enforce constitutionally vague regulations and laws against their patrons, and, which if not enforced, expose the restaurant and bar owners to constitutional strict criminal penalties and/or reprisal for conduct of others that they have no reasonable control over.”

News 5 Cleveland said the complaint includes an example of customers who break social distancing rules, which would place the owners in legal jeopardy.

“If somebody gets up out of their seat at the restaurant, what are our clients supposed to do, grab them and put them back in their seat?” asked Tom Connick, one of the attorneys representing the restaurants.

“Obviously the COVID-19 pandemic is a national health emergency and we’re all very sensitive to that,” said Connick. “What we’re saying is that does not suspend our constitutional rights.”

The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law, working on behalf of 35 independent gyms, in May won a victory before the same judge in Lake County, The Ohio Star reported.

The Ohio Court of Common Pleas in Lake County on May 20 handed down a decision that castigated DeWine and the health department director and granted a preliminary injunction to prevent the gym owners from being prosecuted for opening while awaiting a court trial. The ruling is available in its entirety here.

The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law last week said it filed suits to enjoin the Ohio Department of Health from continuing to enforce its criminalization of Ohio’s amusement and water parks.

The cases are filed on behalf of Ohio’s three largest amusement and water parks: Cedar Point, Kings Island, and Kalahari Resorts.

The May 29 Order singles out amusement and water parks even as nearly all other Ohio businesses are permitted to operate. The Order provides no opening dates for these seasonal businesses that employ thousands and generate the bulk of the economic activity in their respective counties, even though these businesses are safe to operate.

The cases are pending in the Erie County Courts of Common Pleas before Judge Binette, and the Warren County Court of Common Pleas, before Judge Oda.

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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.
Photo “Health Director Acton and Gov. DeWine” by Gov. Mike DeWine.

 

 

 

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