Good news from AG Mark Herring’s office regarding a decision on the lawsuit that had been filed by Republican Senators Bill Stanley and Ryan McDougle, “challenging Governor Northam’s Executive Orders that were issued to save lives and slow the spread of COVID-19,” and “seek[ing] an injunction that would immediately re-open gyms, indoor sports facilities and indoor exercise facilities, despite ample evidence that ‘exercise facilities have proven to be particularly effective sources of transmission.'”
Today, Judge Claude Worrell ruled in favor of Attorney General Herring and his team and denied a request for a temporary injunction in the Culpeper County lawsuit against Governor Northam’s Executive Orders that were issued to save lives and slow the spread of COVID19.
In denying the injunction Judge Worrell said “I don’t believe the that balance of equities tip in [plaintiff’s] favor largely because when you weigh the rights of one small business owner against the rights of the citizenry of the commonwealth, or even in smaller political subdivisions like the county of Culpeper, that you can’t say that his rights outweigh everyone else’s rights to remain free of any disease, illness or other.” The judge went on to say “the court finds that the statute in and of itself is constitutional. The actions taken by Governor Northam, to the degree that I have to find now that they are constitutional, are constitutional,” adding that “the court finds that Mr. Hall cannot bear the burden of proving or showing that this injunction is in the public interest and the balance of equities tip in his favor. As a result, the court must deny his petition for relief in this matter.”
Attorney General Herring’s statement:
“I’m really glad we were able to again successfully defend Governor Northam’s Executive Orders. Social distancing continues to be the most important thing we can do to keep our communities safe, keep Virginians healthy and prevent the spread of COVID-19. While I understand there are many hardships that come with these critical safety measures, we must remember that we are all working together to keep ourselves, our families and our communities safe and healthy,” said Attorney General Herring.
“My team and I are working every single day to help Virginians get through this crisis because we all have to be part of the fight against this pandemic. We’re defending the Governor’s targeted, effective measures to slow the spread of the virus. We’re cracking down on price gouging, helping Virginians access healthcare, and ensuring utilities stay connected during this crisis. We all have a role to play in this and my team and I will continue to fight for Virginians.”