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Judge Dismisses Rutland Gym’s Challenge to the Governor’s Executive Order

October 1, 2020

Contact: Charity R. Clark, Chief of Staff, 802-828-3171

Attorney General T.J. Donovan today announced that a judge has dismissed a Rutland gym’s countersuit against the State of Vermont over the Governor’s pandemic-related Executive Order. The gym, Club Fitness of Vermont, had tried to argue that the State of Vermont should pay damages to the gym, which closed from late March through June under the Governor’s closure orders. In May, when Club Fitness of Vermont and its owner refused to stay closed, Attorney General Donovan sued the business and obtained a temporary restraining order against it. The business countersued, seeking damages for what it called an unconstitutional executive order. The countersuit has now been dismissed.

“This decision is a win for Vermonters and Vermont businesses who have done the right thing and complied with the Governor’s orders,” said Attorney General Donovan “The Court’s ruling confirms what Vermonters know and have done: We all have to do our part because we are all in this together.”

In its decision, the Vermont Superior Court, Civil Division in Rutland found that the COVID-19-related business closure orders constitute a “public program adjusting the benefits and burdens of economic life to promote the common good.” As a result, the State is not required to reimburse businesses subject to the orders. As the Court stated: “Defendants [Club Fitness and its owner] appear not to recognize the reality of COVID-19, the state of emergencies that have been announced throughout the country, and the attempts by courts at all levels to address situations similar to the present case.”

With the Defendants’ lawsuit dismissed, the State will now proceed with its enforcement case against Club Fitness and its owner.

A copy of the Court’s decision can be found here.