Lombard's Brauer House sues governor over ban on indoor dining
The Brauer House in Lombard has joined the list of Illinois restaurants and bars suing Gov. J.B. Pritzker and state and local health departments over the governor's order forbidding them from letting patrons eat and drink inside due to a recent increase in positive COVID-19 tests.
SBBL LLC, the corporation that owns Brauer House and BHouse Live!, filed the suit Wednesday. It argues that Pritzker's executive order is invalid because he doesn't have the authority to continue declaring disaster emergencies beyond the first declaration he made in March.
It asked for a temporary restraining order preventing the governor, the state and the DuPage County Health Department from enforcing the ban on indoor dining until the lawsuit is resolved. But DuPage Judge Bonnie Wheaton on Friday denied the temporary restraining order request.
Wheaton said the argument presented by the lawyer for Pritzker and the state "accurately reflected the law and the ability of the governor to make proclamations, and especially successive proclamations, in the face of this unprecedented emergency."
She also said Brauer House was unlikely to succeed on the merits, which is one of four standards you have to meet to get a temporary restraining order.
Brauer Houses attorney Joel Rabb argued that if authorities close Brauer House, there won't be a case to pursue because his client will likely go out of business.
"There will be no further litigation," Rabb said. "Brauer House closes. Its 40 employees will be out of work."
The case was continued until February. At that time, both sides will argue whether it should be moved to Sangamon County. The state attorney general wants the case moved to Sangamon because several similar cases from other judicial districts have been moved there.
In September, Brauer House sued its landlord, seeking relief on its rent for several months in the spring when the state banned indoor dining. That suit noted that Brauer House was never designed for carryout business, that much of its revenue came from alcohol sales, and that consequently it earned only about 15% of what it normally would have made.
Earlier this week, a Kane County judge granted a temporary restraining order to a Geneva restaurant, which is pursuing a similar lawsuit.
A lawsuit also has been filed in McHenry County on behalf of 37 restaurants, Shaw Media reports.