More than 30 WNY businesses file lawsuit against NYS, seek immediate reopening

Posted at 11:06 AM, Dec 11, 2020

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Represented by the Amherst law firm HoganWillig more than 30 Western New York businesses representing hair salons, barber shops, aestheticians and beauty parlors have filed a lawsuit against New York State seeking an immediate reopening of personal care businesses.

In total 38 personal care businesses are part of the lawsuit, HoganWillig says the lawsuit seeks an immediate reopening for those 38 businesses and also a statewide reopening.

Listed in the lawsuit are:

  • New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
  • New York State Senate
  • New York State Assembly
  • New York State Department of Economic Development
  • New York State Department of Health
  • Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz
  • Erie County Department of Health

According to the lawsuit no credible proof or data has been offered that the services the businesses offer contribute to an increased spread of COVID-19.

"Petitioners’ services do not present an increased risk of spreading COVID-19, nor has there ever been any credible proof or data offered of any such claim, whether in the County of Erie, State of New York, or elsewhere."

The lawsuit says the classifications of essential and non-essential businesses as well as the designation of zones violates constitutional rights.

"Respondents’ arbitrary classifications, i.e., “essential vs non-essential businesses” and color coding of municipalities by the “cluster zone initiative” into “red zones, orange zones and yellow zones” are forcing Petitioners to cease their operations, and as stated, violate Petitioners’ constitutional rights to Due Process and Equal Protection under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution."

The second temporary closure of these business could lead to their permanent closure, according to the lawsuit.

"Petitioners will suffer immediate and irreparable harm if the relief requested is not granted, as a second temporary closure of their respective businesses under the Cluster Zone Initiative will eliminate any possibility that most, if not all, of Petitioners will be able to re-open their respective businesses, resulting in the permanent closure thereof."

As part of New York State's "Cluster Action Initiative" parts of Erie County were designated as an Orange Zone micro-cluster on November 18 in response to a rising number of COVID-19 cases. The designation placed temporary restrictions on businesses and social activities, including the closure of personal care businesses.

You can read the full lawsuit below.