Ski lodge owners in the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area are suing Gov. Gavin Newsom to prevent him and other government officials from enforcing a raft of COVID-19-related orders. The complaint, filed in the Eastern District, alleges that the measures violate their constitutional rights.

The suit was filed by short-term lodging owners Cindy and Timothy Abshire and Alan and Monica Butts, along with lodging manager Nomadness Corp. and the Mammoth Lakes Business Coalition. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra was also named in the suit, along with state and Mono County public health officers and Mammoth Lakes town officials, alleging they have infringed on their Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment rights and violated the Commerce Clause.

Lodging owners claim that Newsom’s COVID-19 orders issued back in March 2020 were arbitrary and based on irrational classifications of activities that are essential or non-essential in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, according to the plaintiffs. Because private property owners have not been compensated while the government interferes with their investments, the uncompensated takings are a violation of the Fifth Amendment, according to the suit. And the Commerce Clause prohibits California officials from exercising sovereign authority that places an excessive burden on interstate commerce, the plaintiffs allege.

The suit says that the COVID-19 shutdown orders have created economic suffering in Mammoth Lakes and throughout Mono County, an area on the eastern edge of California along the Sierra Nevada mountains.

The ski lodging owners are asking for an injunction to stop Newsom’s enforcement of  emergency shutdown orders and the state and Mono County public health officers’ orders that are directing local response to COVID-19. The plaintiffs also requested a judicial declaration that the orders violate their constitutional rights.

The case is Abshire et al v. Newsom et al., case number 1:21-at-00074, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California.

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