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That isn’t ending well

Thursday, Oct 15, 2020

* October 7

A lawyer representing three Rockford restaurants has submitted a cease and desist letter to the Winnebago County Health Department, claiming intimidation tactics in the enforcement of Gov. JB Pritzker’s latest coronavirus mitigation orders.

Thomas DeVore, Managing Attorney of Silver Lake Group, Ltd., sent a letter addressed to WCHD Director Dr. Sandra Martell on Wednesday, on behalf of Fozzy’s Bar & Grill, Nora’s Place and Casey’s Pub.

Nick Fosberg, the owner of Fozzy’s Bar and Grill, says he wants proof that restaurants and bars are the reason behind the spike.

* October 14

The Winnebago County Health Department is taking enforcement action against some locally owned businesses for continued defiance of Gov. JB Pritzker’s latest Region 1 COVID-19 restrictions.

On Wednesday, Neighbor’s Bar and Grill, Fozzy’s Bar and Grill, and Doc’s Diner were all given Order of Closures by the WCHD.

Health officials say that “a reasonable belief exists that the premises identified in this Order has engaged or is suspected of engaging in a significant amount of activity likely to spread the following dangerously contagious or infectious disease: COVID-19.”

* Meanwhile, background is here if you need it. Doug Finke

Attorneys argued over the extent of Gov. JB Pritzker’s emergency authority Wednesday, but will have to wait on a decision in the case.

Sangamon County Circuit Judge Raylene Grishow said she will rule as soon as possible, but it appears that won’t happen for more than a week. She gave attorneys until Oct. 23 to submit final paperwork that could be used in her decision.

Grishow heard arguments on three issues Wednesday, the biggest being whether lawsuits filed in six counties challenging Pritzker’s authority to issue stay at home orders and other measures to fight the coronavirus pandemic should be dismissed. […]

Pritzker’s attorneys initially argued that DeVore shouldn’t be allowed to make oral arguments Wednesday because he missed deadlines to file briefs, deadlines Grishow said would be strictly enforced. Grishow said that while she wanted her
deadlines met, she could allow DeVore to make his case.

He’s had how long to prepare briefs and still missed the deadline after a warning from the judge?

* Capitol News Illinois

During a hearing Wednesday, Assistant Attorney General Darren Kinkead argued that all of the cases should be dismissed because, in the case of public health emergencies, the state’s Emergency Management Act gives the governor broad authority to act proactively in order to prevent the spread of a disease.

Specifically, the law allows for the declaration of a public health emergency whenever there is “widespread exposure to an infectious or other toxic agent that poses a significant risk of substantial future harm to a large number of people in the affected population.”

Kinkead argued that it was “legally irrelevant” whether or not there have been a large number of cases or deaths in a particular county because the statute requires only the existence of widespread exposure and a risk of substantial future harm.

And even if the plaintiffs could get past that hurdle, Kinkead argued, the cases should still be dismissed because the plaintiffs had not provided evidence that there is no public health emergency in their county. […]

As the hearing ended, Judge Raylene D. Grischow said she intends to rule within the next two or three weeks. She gave attorneys on both sides until Oct. 23 to submit proposed orders. She said she will use one of the proposals as the basis for the final order.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - truthteller - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 7:53 am:

    what ends the nonsense would be the state AG office getting reimbursed for all the time associated with addressing nothing more that harassment law suits.

  2. - TheInvisibleMan - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 8:18 am:

    What baffles me is why the IDFPR or the bar association hasn’t chimed in on DeVore yet.

    I can’t imagine a lawyer who was telling people to drink and drive, because “it’s not illegal”, would last very long with a license to practice law in the state.

    As far as these restaurants demanding proof, hang them by their own petard…

    Stop in to one of these petri dishes and as soon as the owner comes up to you, shove your hand down the back of your pants and dig around for a few seconds. Pull your hand out, and extend it to the owner for a friendly handshake. When they give you a funny look, demand proof of their obvious concern at shaking your hand. Then start touching everything in sight.

  3. - Decatur Native - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 8:47 am:

    I know this isn’t exactly proof that bars are causing it but one of our local breweries/bars here in Decatur just had an employee test positive for COVID 19. I suppose the coming days will show how much it spread.

    Unrelated note: Our mayor just said she has tested positive.

  4. - JoanP - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 9:36 am:

    =He’s had how long to prepare briefs and still missed the deadline after a warning from the judge? =

    If he worked on the briefs he’d have less time to go to maskless rallies to drum up business.

  5. - DirtLawyer - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 9:55 am:

    I’m sure the judge knows that Rule 137 sanctions can be invoked upon the court’s own motion.

  6. - Pot calling kettle - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 10:02 am:

    ==If he worked on the briefs he’d have less time to go to maskless rallies to drum up business. ==

    “Your honor, I’ve been so busy filing frivolous lawsuits in other jurisdictions that I did not have the time to write a brief for this one.”

  7. - Facts Matter - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 10:20 am:

    According to his Facebook posts, it appears he was in Branson last weekend.

  8. - Grimlock - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 10:38 am:

    On a related note, Fox Run in Springfield, another client of DeVore, now has a GoFundMe page. In the last 24 hours they have raised a whooping $20 and a lot of internet commenters who don’t feel bad for the restaurant at all.

  9. - Give Me A Break - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 10:48 am:

    Fox Run the establishment who determines which laws and regulations they choose to follow and defies those they don’t like. They love being able to endanger their customers and staff and call it defying tyranny.

  10. - Dotnonymous - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 11:18 am:

    Wishing Decatur’s Mayor well.

  11. - Lurker - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 1:01 pm:

    Fox Run is hurting scheels. Their clientele like having an audience for their views, so they are spouting off maskless in groups, usually after they eat and drink.

  12. - Someone you Should Know - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 1:14 pm:

    This is why we can’t have nice things :)

  13. - Huh? - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 7:30 pm:

    I am shocked that a public health department would ignore a debore cease and desist order and shut down a restaurant for violating the governor’s executive orders. /s

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