Mountainside Fitness’ request for injunction against gym order is denied

Jul 7, 2020, 10:10 AM | Updated: 1:24 pm
(AP Photo)...
(AP Photo)
(AP Photo)

PHOENIX – A judge on Tuesday refused to give Scottsdale-based Mountainside Fitness a temporary restraining order against Gov. Doug Ducey’s executive order to close down the state’s gyms.

“This Court does not decide who here is ‘right’ and ‘wrong,'” the ruling from Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Timothy J. Thomason said. “The government has the weight of the law on its side. The burden that Mountainside has is immense. The Governor does not have to prove that his decision was correct. This Court must give extreme deference to the EO. The EO clearly had a rational basis. It is unlikely that Mountainside will prevail on the merits.”

After the ruling, Mountainside Fitness said it would close its 18 Arizona locations at 2 p.m. Tuesday.

On June 29, Ducey ordered gyms, bars, nightclubs, movie theaters and water parks to shut down at least until July 27 as COVID-19 cases surged in the state.

Tom Hatten, the gym’s CEO, sued Ducey last week and said his business would stay open unless the court ruled against him.

“I think, you know, Doug has job do, and he did it,” Hatten told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show after the ruling came down. “I don’t agree with it.

“And I think what brought to light in this was it wasn’t just about a Mountainside closing. … I think a lot of people really rallied against the idea of how wide ranging and arbitrary authority we’ve given our governor. And I think if that brought that to light by us staying open, then I’m really proud of that, because I do think that needs to change as we work forward together.”

A telephonic status conference on the case has been scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday.

Ducey spokesman Patrick Ptack said Tuesday’s ruling was expected.

“While none of these decisions are easy, we appreciate the sacrifices that are being made in the interest of public health,” Ptack said in a statement. “Businesses need to comply with the public health orders and we ask all individuals continue to make smart decisions, wear a mask and stay home as much as possible.”

Mountainside said it was putting its 105,000 memberships on hold until the gyms reopen, and its 1,500 employees will be paid through July 26.

Hatten was cited by law enforcement for keeping open several locations in metro Phoenix.

Arizona health officials reported 117 more coronavirus deaths, a single-day high, but 52 were from death certificate matching.

Overall, the state reported 3,653 new cases Tuesday, pushing the totals to 105,094 cases and 1,927 fatalities.

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Mountainside Fitness’ request for injunction against gym order is denied