Newsom Sued By LA Restaurant Owner Over Outdoor Dining Ban

December 22, 2020 Updated: December 22, 2020

California Gov. Gavin Newsom and other state officials are being sued by a Los Angeles restaurant owner after she shared a now-viral video of television production tents and tables set up close to the outdoor dining area that she was forced to close due to the CCP virus pandemic.

The federal lawsuit, filed Sunday, seeks to overturn California’s ban on outdoor dining and lists Newsom, Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Acting State Public Health Officer Erica S. Pan, M.D. as defendants.

The complaint accuses the defendants of a “gross abuse” of power, and claims the restrictions implemented by Newsom to curb the spread of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic are not based on science.

“Defendants, in a gross abuse of their power, have seized the Coronavirus pandemic to expand their authority by unprecedented lengths, depriving Plaintiff and all other similarly situated small business owners in California of fundamental rights protected by the U.S. and California Constitutions,” the complaint states.

Since earlier this month, Pineapple Hill Saloon & Grill in Sherman Oaks has been unable to seat customers, after Newsom ordered a three-week COVID-19 lockdown for the state on a regional basis that ordered restaurants to operate for takeout and delivery only.

Restaurants were previously allowed to offer outdoor dining and limited indoor dining with certain safety protocols in place. Newsom’s latest orders that entail tougher social and economic restrictions are currently triggered when intensive care units near maximum capacity at a region’s hospitals.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks
California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a news conference at the California justice department in Sacramento, Calif. on Sept. 18, 2019. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

“The bottom line is if we don’t act now, our hospital system will be overwhelmed,” Newsom said in announcing the measures on Dec. 3. “If we don’t act now, our death rate will continue to climb.”

Newsom has described the the measures as an “emergency brake” to curb the transmission of COVID-19 in the state.

In a video earlier this month, restaurant owner Angela Marsden showed that next to her shuttered outdoor dining patio, production tents and tables were set up in a nearby parking lot.

“In her video, Ms. Marsden displays the hypocrisy, lunacy and total disparity between her own socially distanced outdoor set-up at her establishment juxtaposed by a similarly situated set-up containing outdoor tents and chairs associated with the NBC Universal production set for the series ‘Good Girls,’ which was allowed to proceed as essential work,” the complaint states.

A spokesperson for Newsom’s office said that the television production’s tables were for crew members only, and so the individuals eating there were already working together, reported Fox News.

The complaint states that Marsden spent tens of thousands of dollars to ensure she complied with previous orders. It also claims that the lockdown violates the First Amendment right to freedom of assembly, the Fifth and Fourteenth amendments’ right to due process, and the Fourteenth Amendment right to equal protection under the law.

It seeks to obtain injunctions barring the enforcement of the executive and regional orders.

Newsom’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment by The Epoch Times.

Under present orders, California is divided into five regions: Northern California, Greater Sacramento, Bay Area, San Joaquin Valley and Southern California. The restrictions are implemented after 48 hours in any of the five regions where available ICU space falls to 15 percent of capacity or less.

ICU capacity in the state presently ranges from a low of 0 percent in the San Joaquin Valley and 0 percent in Southern California to a high of 16.2 percent in Greater Sacramento.