Dr. Amy Acton
Dr. Amy Acton
The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law

PAINESVILLE, Ohio – An Ohio Court of Common Pleas on Wednesday, May 20 enjoined Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Director of the Department of Health Dr. Amy Acton from “imposing or enforcing penalties solely for non-compliance with the director’s order” against gymnasiums, health clubs, fitness centers, gyms and workout facilities.

The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law’s victory against Acton comes on behalf of 35 independent gyms across the state, who moved to enjoin the Ohio Department of Health from continuing to enforce its criminalization of even safe gym operations, as implemented through the Director’s various Orders since March.

The ruling by Judge Eugene Lucci of the Lake County Court of Common Pleas explains that private property rights are fundamental rights in Ohio, and that the Ohio Department of Health has both violated those rights and exceeded its own authority in “criminalizing lawful businesses, and imposing strict liability for violations, including severe criminal, civil, and equitable penalties”: “The director has no statutory authority to close all businesses, including the plaintiffs’ gyms … She has acted in an impermissibly arbitrary, unreasonable, and oppressive manner without any procedural safeguards.”

The ruling further excoriates the Department of Health’s insistence that “one unelected individual could exercise such unfettered power to force everyone to obey impermissibly vague rules without any legislative guidance.”

“Constitutions are written to prevent governments from arbitrarily interfering in citizens’ lives and businesses. On that front, the call to action is clear: the governor and health director may no longer impose their own closures and regulations and write their own criminal penalties to enforce those regulations and closures,” said 1851 Center Executive Director Maurice Thompson. “We remain available to serve those who are caught in the State’s tangled web of unlawful orders.”

Read the Court’s order at https://www.scribd.com/document/462289639/20CV000631-Rock-House-Fitness-Inc-v-Amy-Acton-Director-ODOH-Order-Granting-Preliminary-Injunction.

The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law is a non-profit, non-partisan legal center dedicated to protecting the constitutional rights of Ohioans from government abuse. The 1851 Center litigates constitutional issues related to property rights, regulation, taxation, and search and seizures. Special thanks to Tim Cassell at Pinnacle Performance, who helped organize Ohio gyms to challenge government authority, even as other industries’ “leaders” wilted.