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Federal Lawsuit Filed Over Ohio's Coronavirus Restrictions

A closed sign on a Columbus area business a few weeks after all businesses deemed non-essential were shut down.
A closed sign on a Columbus area business a few weeks after all businesses deemed non-essential were shut down.

A lawsuit has been filed in federal court, asking it to remove the state of emergency declared in March that led to restrictions imposed on the state’s businesses to prevent coronavirus spread. 

Robert Gargasz, a Lorain County attorney who has sued in state court on behalf of dance studios and entertainment venues, represents nine plantiffs in this federal lawsuit. He claims there’s no emergency and that the state has something to hide.

“We need to be protected against this tyranny," Gargasz says.

Gargasz says Gov. Mike DeWine and former Ohio Health Director Amy Action intentionally misled and terrified the public, causing businesses to lose a trillion dollars in economic activity. 

“Ohio’s citizens, Ohio’s businesses have all been damaged. And we had to go to court in order to try to get this stopped. I mean that lawsuit is meant to restore liberty and freedom for Ohioans," Gargasz says.

The lawsuit claims the shutdowns and restrictions are unconstitutional. Gargasz argues  a precedent must be set. 

DeWine says he’s been sued in state courts over mandated business closures and restrictions put on businesses intended to limit the spread of COVID-19. He says he's not surprised that he and the state are being sued in this latest federal court lawsuit.

“I don’t have any comment about it. We know we are doing what we know will make a difference. We know that this economy cannot move forward, that people cannot have jobs unless we keep the virus down," DeWine says.

Copyright 2020 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.