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Law suits filed to block Governor from shutting down inside seating at bars and restaurants

Law suits filed to block Governor from shutting down inside seating at bars and restaurants

Lawsuits have been filed in Marion and Clinton Counties to block the Governor from continuing to issue mandates under a Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation. The Orphan Smokehouse in Centralia has filed the suit in Marion County and Rad Gaming doing business as the Fainting Goat in Breese in Clinton County. Both are seeking to have the Governor’s mitigation to bar indoor seating for bars and restaurants to be overturned.

The suits name the Governor, State Public Health Director, and each county health department administrator in the Southern Illinois and Metro-East Region as defendants including Marion County Health Department Administrator Melissa Mallow.

Greenville Attorney Thomas Devore says the suits are filed to provide relief to all similarly situated bars, restaurants, and establishments that provide beverage and food service within the Southern Illinois and Metro-East regions.

The first two counts of the lawsuit are the same as lawsuits Devore won against the Governor in Clay County where Judge Michael McHaney ruled the Governor had overextended his authority. Devore has then added two additional counts.

“One of them is that the Governor’s Executive Order should be found invalid because it violates Judge McHaney’s ruling of July 2nd so the court should find this new Executive Order is invalid.  The 4th one is a new clause that says if the court should find that the Governor’s interpretation of the Emergency Management Agency Act does give him authority to close down bars and restaurants then that interpretation is unconstitutional under the Due Process Clause of the Illinois Constitution.”

Devore asked for a temporary restraining order to immediately bar the Governor’s orders from being enforced during the court proceeding. Judge Mark Stedelin denied the request in Clinton County Court and it has not yet been set in Marion County.

Meanwhile, Devore says he has no issue with how State Police is assisting county health departments in enforcing public health rules inside restaurants and bars, such as staff wearing masks.

“That’s perfectly within the authority of the State Police to help if the Department of Health needs it but to the extent that the State Police has taken the position that they are not going to be out here enforcing Executive Orders trying to close down businesses.  I’m glad they have taken that position, I agree with them, that is something that law enforcement shouldn’t be a part of, trying to be the executive order enforcement.”

State Police indicated earlier this week as a last resort they would issue misdemeanor citations to a business for violation of the health rules, but would not be arresting any individuals.