Ohio business owners who are fed up with Gov. Mike DeWine’s ever-lasting shutdown regulations are joining their lawsuits together into a class action against the state.
Three lawyers are working together to help combine existing lawsuits and are looking for other owners whose livelihoods are being threatened by what they say are unconstitutional orders. The suit against the DeWine administration and other government agencies was filed in the Ohio Court of Common Pleas in Lake County.
One of the attorneys, Thomas Renz, told The Ohio Star the list of participating plaintiffs is growing and is between 10 to 20. It includes gyms and dance studios.
Their efforts are being organized on a website available here titled “Liberty Class Action Ohio.”
The lawsuit has been filed, and they are awaiting a response from the state, Renz said. This is meant to uphold Ohio law, he said.
“This is open to any business that wants to participate,” Renz said. “If someone has been injured through this and wants to seek justice, we are happy to assist them if we can.”
The Liberty Class Action Ohio website says, “This matters because the first lawsuit will be representing the Ohio business owners, shortly after, the second lawsuit for the people of Ohio including ADA discrimination (Americans with Disabilities Act).”
Renz, of Renz Law LLC in Fremont, said he joined the effort recently. The movement was started by attorneys Robert J. Gargasz and Gerald W. Phillips.
The effort gained attention in June over a quote in the suit that used the word “sledge hammer.”
WKBN quoted the lawsuit, which said:
“Acton and DeWine has used a “sledge hammer” to kill the Ohio economy through the their unconstitutional actions, destroying the Ohio economy, and destroying the constitutional rights of all Ohioans, individuals and businesses, outside of Nursing Homes and Jails, when Acton and DeWine should have used a “scalpel and a knife” to delicately slice and dice the COVID 19.”
The lawsuit says the facilities are owed monetary compensation because of what it claims are unconstitutional orders against mass gatherings, deeming which services are essential, the Stay at Home order, and the state’s guidelines for dance facilities to operate due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Star reported on a separate lawsuit filed by gyms in May. In that case, the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law, working on behalf of 35 independent gyms, struck a significant win for their right to exist. They persuaded the Ohio Court of Common Pleas in Lake County to rule against Gov. Mike DeWine and Dr. Amy Acton’s “oppressive” shutdown of their businesses.
– – –
Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.