Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI) is being sued by a restaurant in Michigan that has been targeted multiple times for allegedly violating her COVID-19 policies.
Iron Pig Smokehouse defiantly remained open last fall, violating Whitmer’s second lockdown rules.
“We felt like there’s a moral fiduciary responsibility to our staff and to our creditors as well,” owner Ian Murphy told 9 & 10 News back in November.
Whitmer’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development fired back by trying to strip Iron Pig Smokehouse of its food license in course, which resulted in a process that took months. Whitmer’s officials refused to leave the restaurant alone even after she ruled that restaurants could partially reopen to in-person dining.j
“Given the operations of The Iron Pig over the last few months … there’s not much confidence about the operations of Iron Pig moving forward,” Assistant Attorney General Eileen Whipple said in court, according to The Record Eagle. “Regardless, the question before this court, as we’ve discussed, is whether or not Iron Pig is currently operating with a suspended license in violation of the food law. We don’t believe there’s any dispute that they are.”
The case continued even though health officials admitted in court that they could not “confirm a specific case of (coronavirus) to the restaurant.”
The Iron Pig Smokehouse owner is now flipping the script on Whitmer by filing a lawsuit against her administration “for fines and loss of business he received after defying state orders during last fall’s indoor dining closures,” according to Eater.com.
Filed in Otsego County District Court, the lawsuit claims that Whitmer lacked the legal authority to impose restrictions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Murphy, the owner of the restaurant, is seeking $25,000 in damages.
In the suit, Murphy argued that Whitmer and her officials shut down his business so “that it was unable to operate, unable to earn an income, and unable to function in any way.”
“Because Defendant Gretchen Whitmer’s EOs (executive orders) that closed Plaintiff’s business were declared to be unconstitutional by the Michigan Supreme Court, the EOs were not a valid exercise of the State’s Police Power,” the filing reads. “Plaintiff have (sic) received no just compensation from Defendant for the taking of its business and property.”
Murphy’s lawsuit also claims that the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) violated the Michigan Administrative Procedures Act, which “contains requirements for processing and publishing rules” that include “giving notice of a public hearing offering persons an opportunity to present data, views, questions, and arguments.”
The lawsuit also claims that the MDHHS allowed “businesses to operate that create greater public-health risks than the prohibited restaurants and bars.”