Ohio Gyms Sue Health Department for Right to Exist

by Maurice Thompson

Even in emergencies, the Ohio Constitution protects businesses from vague and discriminatory enactments.

The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law today, on behalf of 35 independent gyms across the state, moved to enjoin the Ohio Department of Health from continuing to enforce its closure of gyms and fitness centers, as implemented through the Director’s April 30, 2020 “Stay Safe Ohio Order.”  

The April 30 Order opens, or provides a pathway to opening, many Ohio industries, but leaves gyms closed indefinitely without regard to whether gyms are capable of operating safely. 

The 1851 Center’s Complaint asserts that the Health Director’s unfettered discretion over matters of quarantine and isolation is impermissibly vague and violate separation of powers on its face. Further, the use of those powers to criminalize gyms that could otherwise comply with each of the safety regulations articulated in the April 30, 2020 Order violates operators’ right to equal protection.  

“The Ohio Constitution requires greater scrutiny of vague and discriminatory enactments that trample Ohioans’ property rights. Ohio gyms are capable of operating safely, and have the right to operate on equal terms with other Ohio businesses. Once gyms have opened, we are committed to ensuring that these arbitrary policies never recur,” explained 1851 Center Executive Director Maurice Thompson.

The case is pending before Judge Eugene Lucci in the Lake County Court of Common Pleas.

Read the 1851 Center’s Complaint HERE.

The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law is a nonprofit, nonpartisan legal center dedicated to protecting the constitutional rights of Ohioans from government abuse. The 1851 Center litigates constitutional issues related to property rights, regulation, taxation, and searches and seizures.