Youth sports groups, day-care centers challenge state COVID-19 orders

Kingdom Sports Center in Franklin is part of one of the lawsuits challenging state COVID-19 orders. Pictured is a 2015 event there.NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Kingdom Sports Center in Franklin is part of one of the lawsuits challenging state COVID-19 orders. Pictured is a 2015 event there.NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

The lawsuit over coronavirus reopening orders for amusement and water parks, filed against the State of Ohio for the Kings Island amusement park, has been dismissed.

But still pending are lawsuits challenging the constitutionality and authority of this and other state orders in response to concerns about spreading the new virus — on behalf of the Cedar Point Amusement Park, Kalahari Resorts, 40 day-care centers across Ohio and three youth sports organizations or businesses in Southwest Ohio.

On Wednesday, Warren County Common Pleas Judge Donald Oda II canceled a hearing on the lawsuit filed on June 4 for Kings Island amusement park and parent company Cedar Fair, owner of Cedar Point amusement park in Erie County.

The businesses were awaiting guidance from the state that was issued the day the lawsuits were filed.

RELATED: Kings Island, other ausement parks sue state day before reopening set

“We voluntarily dismissed the Kings Island lawsuit because that client got what it needed from the State and the case became moot. It can be revived if the state again takes adverse action against KI,” said Maurice Thompson of the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law.

In Erie County, a similar lawsuit filed for Cedar Point and the Kalahari Resorts is pending, after a judge issued a preliminary injunction in the amusement parks’ favor, following the state reopening order, barring the state from “imposing or enforcing penalties solely for non-compliance with the director’s order” against Ohio amusement and waterparks.

Another lawsuit has been filed in Warren County raising similar issues hindering the scheduling of tournaments on behalf of the Kingdom Sports Center in Franklin, Southwestern Ohio Basketball in Fairfield and Elite Ohio Players Basketball in West Chester.

The Davidson Law Firm in Hamilton filed the case on June 29 against Lance Himes and Amy Acton, the current and former directors of the Ohio Department of Health, and the Warren County Health District.

“Defendants continue to usurp total control over the citizens of Ohio, and in so doing, continue to obstruct the physical and mental health of Ohioans, while continuously overinflating the risk of harm to the public,” according to the lawsuit.

RELATED: Coronavirus: 69,311 total cases, 3,075 deaths reported Wednesday in Ohio

On Wednesday, lawyer Matthew Davidson said the decisions on how to operate tournaments should be made at the county level. He indicated the lawsuit could affect decisions made across the state and indicated businesses like Kingdom were unable to pay rent without tournament revenues.

“Our ultimate goal is to get the kids to play again,” Davidson said.”We hope to get some kind of clear directive.”

No hearings have been scheduled in this case in Warren County Common Pleas Judge Tim Tepe’s court.

In addition, 40 day-care centers or Montessori schools, including TLT Learning Center in Centerville and the All About Kids Learning Center in Mason, are parties in a lawsuit also filed in Warren County, attacking the state orders governing their reopenings.

“At the very same time that Defendants’ own policies — through shuttering schools and nearly every child-oriented activity — have rendered daycare services more necessary to more Ohioans than ever before, Defendants have unilaterally, arbitrarily, and unlawfully restricted the number of families that Ohio daycares may serve,” begins the lawsuit filed by Thompson and the Finney Law Firm, which also joined Thompson in the Kings Island litigation.

A preliminary injunction hearing is scheduled on Monday in Tepe’s court.

The state has declined to comment on pending litigation.

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