Michigan Restaurant Sues Gretchen Whitmer over Coronavirus Penalties
A Michigan restaurant Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s (D-MI) administration has repeatedly targeted for allegedly violating her coronavirus orders is now suing her.
Iron Pig Smokehouse refused to abide by Whitmer’s second lockdown last fall and remained open.
“We felt like there’s a moral fiduciary responsibility to our staff and to our creditors as well,” owner Ian Murphy told 9 & 10 News in November.
Whitmer’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development took Iron Pig to court to strip it of its food license, a process that dragged out for months. Even after Whitmer said restaurants could partially reopen to in-person dining, her representatives continued to pursue legal action against the eatery.
“Given the operations of The Iron Pig over the last few months … there’s not much confidence about the operations of Iron Pig moving forward,” Assistant Attorney General Eileen Whipple argued in court, the Record Eaglereported. “Regardless, the question before this court, as we’ve discussed, is whether or not Iron Pig is currently operating with a suspended license in violation of the food law. We don’t believe there’s any dispute that they are.”
Health workers admitted in court they could not “confirm a specific case of (coronavirus) to the restaurant.”
Now, the Iron Pig Smokehouse owner is turning the tables on Whitmer and suing her administration for “for fines and loss of business he received after defying state orders during last fall’s indoor dining closures,” according to Eater.com:
The Gaylord restaurateur’s lawsuit, filed in Otsego County District Court, seeks damages in excess of $25,000 and alleges that Whitmer lacked the legal authority to impose restrictions in response to the COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus] pandemic. Owner Ian Murphy’s suit says the governor and the health department closed his barbecue business so “that it was unable to operate, unable to earn an income, and unable to function in any way.” The governor has three weeks to respond. The governor’s office has not immediately responded to a request for comment.
“Because Defendant Gretchen Whitmer’s EOs (executive orders) that closed Plaintiff’s business were declared to be unconstitutional by the Michigan Supreme Court, the EOs were not a valid exercise of the State’s Police Power,” the filing reads.
“Plaintiff have (sic) received no just compensation from Defendant for the taking of its business and property,” it argues.
Iron Pig’s suit claims the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) violated the Michigan Administrative Procedures Act, which “contains requirements for processing and publishing rules” that include “giving notice of a public hearing offering persons an opportunity to present data, views, questions, and arguments.”
The suit alleges MDHHS allowed “businesses to operate that create greater public-health risks than the prohibited restaurants and bars.”
The case, Moore Murphy Hospitality, LLC D/B/A Iron Pig Smokehouse v. Michigan Department of Health and Human Services; Gretchen Whitmer, No. 21-18522-AE was filed in 46th Circuit Trial Court Otsego County.