An Oregon salon owner has filed a $100,000 lawsuit against the state’s Democratic governor over fines received while remaining open for business during mandatory COVID-19 business closures.
According to KATU2, Lindsey Graham, owner of Glamour Salon in Salem, filed the suit against Governor Kate Brown earlier this month, arguing that forcing small businesses like hers to shut down due to the pandemic did more to harm public health than protect it.
The suit, filed on December 18, claims that shutting down private businesses “caused greater negative health effects on Oregonians in the form of increased stress, anxiety and depression.”
Graham also claims that she lost revenue and business opportunities as well as suffered “damage to her reputation and goodwill,” adding that Gov. Brown has no authority to shutter private businesses that are able to operate safely without risking the public’s health.
Governor Brown issued her “Stay Home, Save Lives” order back in March in an attempt to curb the spread of coronavirus, forcing Glamour Salon to shut down. Six weeks later, Graham reopened her salon in defiance of the shutdown orders.
“If we can all get back to work and feed our families, then I’m going to keep doing it,” Graham said, according to KATU2. “It’s my constitutional right to earn a living for my family, and I’m going to do it.”
Not long after, Oregon allowed limited re-openings of businesses in May, provided that the counties in which they were located recorded a decline in cases of COVID-19 and practiced extensive contact tracing.
Just a few weeks after that, Graham was fined a staggering $14,000. At a press conference, Graham reported that several state health agencies “…finally decided that my case was closed and decided my disciplinary action is as follows: That I would receive a $14,000 fine for operating a ‘hazardous facility for my employees’ which I do not have… I have independent contractors who are choosing to work at this facility.”
According to Oregon Live, Graham filed a similar suit in July against some state health agencies in an effort to hold the government accountable and keep them from once again claiming the authority to shut down businesses and effectively criminalize owners without due process.
“It’s to prevent Americans from losing their livelihoods,” Graham said at the time..
“The conduct of the Defendants represents the absolute worst abuses of power one could possibly imagine,” said Graham’s attorney Ross Day in the July lawsuit. “Even George Orwell would be shocked and appalled at the Defendants’ conduct. At the heart of the Defendants’ conduct is the Defendants’ ultimate goal: make Plaintiff Lindsey Graham an example to anyone else who may try to experience personal and economic freedom.”
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