Several business owners in California filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles federal court against California officials on Friday alleging violation of their civil rights. Governor Gavin Newsom, Attorney General Xavier Becerra, Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti and other state officials listed as defendants in court documents are being sued for instituting the orders that effectively shut down non-essential businesses across the state and curbed civil rights and liberties of Californians. “As well-intentioned as these Orders are with respect to the general public’s health, safety and welfare, they have come at a steep price with respect to the complete and utter restraint on Californians’ civil rights and liberties,” the suit says.
Gondola Adventures, Inc. ledd the lawsuit against Newsom and state officials along with Hernandez Production Inc., King’s Pet Grooming, Inc., Sol De Mexico, Inc., Wildfire Inc., Ybanz Gonzalez Inc., Yereka Food Enterprises, LLC. The group pointed out that essential businesses were permitted to operate during the coronavirus outbreak if they adhere to social distancing guidelines. According to the suit, such exemptions must also be granted to plaintiffs’ businesses if they observe social distancing practices.
Plaintiffs, represented by a group of lawyers led by Dhillion Law Group, allege that state officials’ orders taken together “have caused widespread and catastrophic damage to the California economy through the government-mandated closure of not only Plaintiffs’ business, but millions of other ‘Non-Essential”’ businesses across California.” The orders and its enforcement caused “regulatory and physical taking of Plaintiffs’ property” in the absence of just compensation.
The lawsuit seeks to declare defendants’ orders null and void as they are unconstitutional under Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments and contradict the US and California Constitutions. It also requests to award plaintiffs damages and the reasonable value of loss of their businesses. The suit highlights the fact that plaintiffs’ businesses “might never financially recover as a result of Defendants’ Orders and may end up entirely out of business. The stakes for immediate relief from this Court for Plaintiffs could not be higher.”