Judge dismisses lawsuit against city over COVID regulations

A federal judge has dismissed a civil lawsuit a fitness gym filed against a Mississippi city.

Posted: May 16, 2021 2:07 AM

STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) — A federal judge has dismissed a civil lawsuit a fitness gym filed against a Mississippi city claiming the city violated business owners’ rights when it forced non-essential businesses to close to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Republican Gov. Tate Reeves issued executive orders in April 2020 that temporarily shut down non-essential businesses, including fitness gyms, spas, salons and barbershops. Aldermen in Starkville approved local ordinances mirroring the state order, The Dispatch reports.

In their suit, Starkville Athletic Club managers John and Joe Underwood said the ordinance violated the state and U.S. constitution. They said forcing businesses to close is equivalent to taking their property for public purposes without just compensation.

They also claimed the city’s ban on fitness gyms is “arbitrary” because Starkville Police Department continued to leave a gym open for its officers during the time private gyms were ordered to be closed.

But Senior U.S. District Judge for North Mississippi Glen H. Davidson said the city has the right to enact such policies during a public health crisis. He said the city did not damage or take any of their real property and that lost potential profits from the city not allowing them to pursue their business interest did not constitute “taking.”

Attorney Jim Waide of Tupelo, who is representing the Underwoods, told The Dispatch Wednesday he hasn’t decided whether to advise his clients to appeal. He said cases involving non-essential businesses are filing against government entities for lost profits during the pandemic are “by and large being dismissed.”

“I would never have agreed to file it if I didn’t think it would succeed or that we were right,” Waide told the newspaper. “I still think we were right.”

After ordering them to close in April, Reeves later filed another order in May 2020 allowing businesses like gyms to reopen.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 481397

Reported Deaths: 9395
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison32996486
Hinds30973586
DeSoto30491353
Jackson23650348
Rankin21267368
Lee14867220
Madison14145271
Jones13365226
Forrest13125238
Lauderdale11538305
Lowndes10418176
Lamar10184130
Pearl River9055219
Lafayette8218137
Hancock7501112
Washington7033150
Oktibbeha6937124
Monroe6491161
Neshoba6463201
Warren6439163
Pontotoc626593
Panola6219126
Bolivar6105144
Marshall6102121
Union573086
Pike5590136
Alcorn536090
Lincoln5297131
George470072
Scott456096
Leflore4468140
Prentiss445277
Tippah443680
Itawamba4430100
Adams4403116
Tate4351101
Simpson4324112
Wayne431566
Copiah431087
Yazoo423086
Covington414792
Sunflower4137104
Marion4087104
Leake397186
Coahoma394298
Newton368775
Grenada3553104
Stone350659
Tishomingo334689
Attala324886
Jasper313762
Winston303591
Clay295273
Chickasaw286665
Clarke280290
Calhoun265140
Holmes261887
Smith249549
Yalobusha220547
Tallahatchie218850
Walthall210558
Greene207845
Lawrence206033
Perry199353
Amite198152
Webster195942
Noxubee178239
Montgomery172054
Jefferson Davis167642
Carroll161937
Tunica152734
Benton142035
Kemper138440
Claiborne126634
Choctaw126326
Humphreys126337
Franklin116628
Quitman103626
Wilkinson101536
Jefferson88833
Sharkey62820
Issaquena1926
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 781915

Reported Deaths: 13798
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1109621748
Mobile706071213
Madison49359617
Baldwin36054485
Shelby35933311
Tuscaloosa33540540
Montgomery32996673
Lee22337218
Calhoun20935400
Morgan19666329
Etowah18890454
Marshall17575274
Houston16598377
St. Clair15287298
Limestone14442184
Cullman14441252
Elmore14299259
Lauderdale13395278
Talladega12781234
DeKalb12102233
Walker10495328
Autauga9611135
Blount9595154
Jackson9293152
Coffee8764174
Dale8485171
Colbert8448180
Tallapoosa6557177
Escambia6541117
Covington6409165
Chilton6314142
Russell600655
Franklin5744101
Chambers5350133
Marion4748116
Dallas4672185
Clarke459177
Pike458895
Geneva4333116
Winston420292
Lawrence4099108
Bibb405680
Barbour342969
Marengo324783
Monroe316652
Butler316088
Randolph302855
Pickens300673
Henry299657
Hale290483
Cherokee286752
Fayette276473
Washington245048
Crenshaw236768
Clay226264
Cleburne225750
Macon218057
Lamar192541
Conecuh180146
Lowndes170758
Coosa167533
Wilcox159636
Bullock148642
Perry136336
Sumter124136
Greene120542
Choctaw73326
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Fall has started off exactly as you would have anticipated and it looks like we should have a number of dry days still ahead, but this isn’t a permanent switch, because heat is pegged to return.
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