Macomb County restaurants band together to sue Michigan over COVID-19 restrictions

A group of bar, restaurants, and banquet hall owners gathered together on Friday, many without masks or maintaining social distance, to announce a lawsuit seeking damages from the state caused by COVID-19 restrictions over the past 12 months.

The Macomb County Restaurant, Bar, and Banquet Association (MCRBA) gathered together to announce the lawsuit, many of whom were not wearing masks before the announcement.

"There's no doubt that no industry has been injured or impacted as bad as the restaurant and bar industry," said attorney Albert Addis.

Once the owners stood up to formally discuss the lawsuit, the group had put their masks on to unveil the MCRBA and to announce they're taking the fight to court.

"The Michigan Constitution does not allow government by fiat to take away people's property and businesses without just compensation," said Addis.

The suit names Governor Gretchen Whitmer, the Chair of the Liquor Control Commission, Pat Gagliardi, and the Department of Health and Human Services Director, Elizabeth Hertel, as defendants 

"You want to take our businesses, you want to ruin our property values, pay us," said Addis.

As restaurants, bars, and banquet halls were forced to shut down to slow the spread of COVID-19, these business owners say their livelihood has been ruined and stimulus money does not go far enough. They also criticized the 25% capacity limits.

"Trickle us into a 25% opening, that doesn't help, that decimates us even more," said Mark Miller, owner of Little Camille's By the Bay.

The group's lawsuit was filed in Macomb County Circuit Court and Addis said they're seeking a trial by jury for damages caused by the shutdown.

FOX 2 reached out to all three parties named in the suit but the Governor's Office and the Liquor Control Commission both said they do not comment on pending or ongoing litigation.