Press Release: Minnesota Small Business Owners Sue to Reopen

| Governor’s Categories to Shutter Businesses are Unconstitutional, Lawsuit says |

Minneapolis – A group of small businesses on Wednesday announced that they are suing the state of Minnesota, claiming Governor Walz’s categories of “Critical Sector” and “essential” “Non-Critical Exempt Businesses” are unconstitutional under the U.S Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause.

[ Read the petition, here ]

The petitioning businesses are represented by attorney Erick Kaardal of Mohrman, Kaardal & Erickson, p.a. Plaintiffs were identified and coordinated through the new Government Oppression Hotline. The businesses represented in the lawsuit include Trev’s Kitchen, Prestige Gymnastics, Title Boxing Clubs, Yoga by Blisstopia and others participating in the Free Minnesota Small Business Coalition. Additional interested business owners can still join the suit through the hotline.

“We can mitigate the risks of Covid-19 while still respecting the rights of our citizens and preserving our crucial small businesses,” said Dan McGrath, spokesman for the coalition.

The business owners say that they should be able to stay open just like the government and big businesses, because they are essential too.

They assert that the governor is outside his legitimate powers by picking winners and losers in the economic morass brought about in reaction to the Covid-19 pandemic.  For the state to suspend some, but not all economic activity for an arbitrary and indefinite period of time is unprecedented, and according to the plaintiffs, unlawful.

The suit alleges that the governor’s executive orders affecting small businesses are not narrowly tailored to meet a compelling state purpose.  The executive orders’ categories, “Critical Sector,” “essential” and “Non-Critical Exempt Businesses” are no more than arbitrary lists of business which get to remain open. Attorney Erick Kaardal says that there was no effort to base the categories on a defined public health or economic standard.

“The Governor lost his constitutional compass in sailing the State of Minnesota through the COVID pandemic.  The consequence of his unconstitutional categories is massive suffering for small businesses on an unprecedented scale. We’re hopeful that the appellate courts of Minnesota will agree that the Governor’s categories of ‘Critical Sector,’ ‘essential,’ and ‘Non-Critical Exempt Businesses’ are not narrowly tailored to meet a compelling state interest,” said Kaardal.

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19 comments

  • How do I join this law suit??? This is Troy from Vape Pro’s in St.Paul, Mn. 651-XXX-XXXX

    • Thanks for your interest. We’ll be in touch shortly. Meanwhile, you can register your complaint with us via the Government Oppression Hotline. There’s a web form version of it, here: https://freeminnesota.net/government-oppression-hotline

      • Kelli

        Really, you don’t have anything better to do then think about money. People are dying and all you care about suing. You should be thinking about how to work with Governor Walz and the community and how to make it safe. How to make a plan so people can open up. How do you social distance at a yoga place, that is what you should be helping with. You can not pack this places with people, their businesses are still going to be slow. You can not have a business open with dead, economy can not survive with dead people. Maybe help with getting loans instead of suing. I have a rare lung disease and there is no way I am attending an establishments that does not have a plan. You need to take our time opening up, You need to think about other people and stop being selfish, greedy people. This is not about you, it is about keeping the state of Minnesota alive!!!!!!!

      • Kelli W

        First of all what makes you think people are going to go to a yoga class boxing class or a gym class or hair salon when they’re unemployed how in the hell are they going to pay, you guys are stupid we got the highest unemployment for just individuals unless they’re essentials like a doctor and nurse and don’t expect them to be going to a damn yoga class because the last thing they want to do is infect other people while they’ve been around all day with infected people yeah good luck with that.

  • Kelli W

    I guess money is more important than saving lives. It is hard to keep a business going if people are dead. Maybe you spend your time working with Governor Walz instead of a petty lawsuit. I have a pre-existing condition and I have no intention of going to any establishment that is more concerned with money instead of find ways to help the community. There are ways to make money online, set up classes online.

    • “Never mind, we’ve destroyed your life’s work. Just go ahead and start a new business. You’ll be fine.”
      You clearly have no idea what it takes to start a business.
      If you’re concerned for your health, you take measures to protect yourself. Everyone else has to make a living and live their lives productively and fully.

    • Small businesses need money to help the community. They still have rent, utilities, etc to pay but can’t because people like you demand they close their doors. Many of these businesses have customers waiting for the day they open. If you don’t want to go, don’t go. But don’t impose your restrictions on me. Don’t make me stay home because you don’t want to leave yours

      • Jenna Swiggart

        We cannot open. We have lost so much money on opening fishing. Now Memorial is coming and we still cant open. This is all BS. I am in on this lawsuit. Open everyone up !!!!!

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  • I’m interested in joining lawsuit. Martin J. Duffy. Duffy’s Bar and Grill in Osseo MN

  • I joined, make sure my name is on the lawsuit list!!!

  • John Q. Public

    You know, your whole argument could backfire. The court could say, “you’re right. These EOs are unconstitutional because they alter the definitions of essential businesses during a state of peacetime emergency. None of you should be working.” And then they make us all stay home.

    All joking aside, gyms are the perfect breeding ground for viruses and bacteria. Seriously, gyms are a major viral vector. For example, studies have shown that exercise bikes can carry up to 39 times more bacteria and viruses than plastic reusable cafeteria trays, treadmills have been shown to have as much as 74 times more bacteria and viruses than a water faucet, and free weights can harbor up to 362 times more bacteria and viruses than a toilet seat.

    Unless you’re doing terminal cleaning like a hospital does (nonflammable alcohol vapor systems) after every single person touches any surface, there’s no way you can even begin to mitigate the risk of infection. AND this doesn’t even begin to address the aerosolized saliva expelled during strenuous activity. There’s no way you could protect people from that while they’re exercising in your gyms.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the appellate court dismisses your petition (or totally rules against you) even if they believe that the EOs are unconstitutional because there’s a significant public health risk to having gyms operate during a pandemic.

    Last thing: Unless Trev’s kitchen is set up really weirdly (i.e. it is really part of Southwest School of Dance), it can still operate at this time. It can do take out orders.

    Actually one more thing: what small competitor of Target isn’t allowed to be operating at this time? And who competes with the MN lotto? Those examples are absurd…

  • I would like Duffy’s Bar and Grill on the plaintill list also. But! If there are ten plaintiffs and you only have $1592.00 in the pot, they are not serious. MJD

    • Martin, you have misread the situation. The majority of plaintiffs have paid their $1,000 share to our attorneys directly and have nothing to do with the First Liberties Defense Fund. Only $500 from that fund has gone towards the small business lawsuit, so far.

  • KVG

    Most of the businesses on this petition are gym-like or associated with a gym-like business. Gyms are the perfect breeding ground for viruses and bacteria. Seriously, gyms are a major viral vector. For example, studies have shown that exercise bikes can carry up to 39 times more bacteria and viruses than plastic reusable cafeteria trays, treadmills have been shown to have as much as 74 times more bacteria and viruses than a water faucet, and free weights can harbor up to 362 times more bacteria and viruses than a toilet seat.

    Unless you’re doing terminal cleaning like a hospital does (nonflammable alcohol vapor systems) after every single person touches any surface, there’s no way you can even begin to mitigate the risk of infection. AND this doesn’t even begin to address the aerosolized saliva expelled during strenuous activity. There’s no way you could protect people from that while they’re exercising in your gyms.

  • Firstly, there are many other types of businesses represented in this lawsuit, not named on the original filing and ultimately, the suit will impact every business now closed by executive fiat.

    You’re incorrect about the sanitation possibilities in gyms and similar facilities.

    Most importantly, If I want to risk going to a gym and you’re “sheltering” at home, my risk-taking doesn’t affect you. If you’re afraid of germs, you have the right to take measures to avoid them, but you don’t get to dictate my behavior. I don’t want your “protection.”

  • When did Emperor Palpatine relinquish his “emergency powers”? Oh, he didn’t. So why would Emperor Walz???

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