Multiple Morgantown bar owners have filed a lawsuit alleging their rights to due process have been violated.
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in the United States District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia, names Gov. Jim Justice, the City of Morgantown, West Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Administration Commissioner Frederic Wooton and Interim City Manager of Morgantown Emily Muzzarelli as defendants.
Twelve plaintiffs are listed, including the owners of Whisper Nightclub and Lounge, Fat Daddy’s, Almost Heaven Bar & Grill, Baby Squirrels, Joe Mama’s and The Annex.
In March, Justice ordered the closure of casinos and restricted restaurant operations. By the end of March, the order was expanded to include the closure of all non-essential businesses to the public.
On August 31, Justice announced bars would be able to reopen the following week while following strict safety protocols. Within two days, Justice announced the bars would be shut down indefinitely due to photographs circulated on social media which portrayed dozens of patrons lined up outside without face masks and lack of social distancing.
According to the lawsuit, the bar owners’ rights to due process were violated as they were not given the opportunity to contest these closures.
It goes on to state the executive orders put in place regarding business closures are not in the public interest. It also states the orders “imposed an undue burden on the plaintiffs”, violating the United States Constitution.