Ohio dance studios file COVID-19 lawsuit to recoup lost profits.
A class-action lawsuit was filed against the State of Ohio in Lake County Common Pleas Court on behalf of nine in-state dance studio owners alleging “unconstitutional and overly restrictive COVID-19 measures caused them thousands in financial damage.” Attorney Gerald W. Phillips, representing the owners, said the filing seeks “monetary compensation to be decided by a jury, due to continued lost business.”
Phillips added, “It’s the unlawful, illegal, unconstitutional actions of Amy Acton and Governor DeWine. It’s an unconstitutional delegation of legislative authority, separation of powers, vagueness, criminalization. These dance studio owners need just compensation for it, for the period in which they were closed completely, from March until just recently. We’re going to get an injunction specifically, and those health commissioners will be in the lawsuit, they’ll be enjoined from enforcing those unconstitutional restrictions. How do you restore the damage from the fact that they created this fear among all Ohioans, and they won’t come back. So, they’re going to suffer even afterward.”
Angel Criado, owner of the Rhythm and Grace Dance Studios in Seven Hills, is one of the named plaintiffs in the suit. He has allegedly “lost more than $30,000 since Ohio’s COVID-19 shutdown started in March.” Criado said his “losses continue even though the state allowed dance studios to partially open on May 26.” The studio owner believes Ohio’s current COVID-19 restrictions will make many dance studios go out of business before the end of 2020.
Among the claims being brought, the plaintiffs contend, “DeWine through fraudulent and misleading modeling predicated a potential of 160,000 COVID 19 cases per day, but the maximum number reached about 1,600 per day, a gross understatement of 100 times.” The filing also states, “Testimony has recently been presented to the Ohio State Legislative stating that the more Ohioans died from the flu pandemic of 2018 in the first four months of that year, than the number of Ohioans who died in 2020 from the COVID in the first four months of 2020.”
Overall, the plaintiffs argue, “DeWine has used a ‘sledge-hammer’ to kill the Ohio economy through…unconstitutional actions, destroying the Ohio economy, and destroying the constitutional rights of all Ohioans, individuals and businesses.” The orders issued, they believe, have caused them to “suffer irreparable harm and injury.”
Plaintiffs “demand and are entitled to as a result of the unlawful illegal and unconstitutional takings a jury determination of just compensation for such unlawful illegal and unconstitutional takings including related damages from such unlawful illegal and unconstitutional takings related to the unlawful illegal and unconstitutional Acton Orders,” according to court documents.
Criado said, “It’s being presented we’re open, but the fact of the matter is we’re only allowed to do half or less of the capacity. We also have to increase our overhead to cover all of the new regulations that we previously never had. Never in an hour of time in our studio will we have more than ten people. Trying to tell us that Walmart, Target, Home Depot, Lowe’s are safer to go to than our operation, where we are much more hands-on and able to take care of things.”