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Wabasha, MN (KROC AM News ) - The owner of a Plainview fitness center who has ignored a recent statewide order to shut down has been ordered by a judge to close the doors.

Wabasha County Judge Christopher Neisen issued the temporary injunction Wednesday, one day after hearing arguments in the case.

The judge’s ruling prohibits the center “from opening to the public or any of its members for any type of use” until a trial on the merits of the case is held or a new order is issued.

The Minnesota Attorney General’s office filed a lawsuit last week against the owner of Plainview Wellness Center after he continued to resist requests to close under the latest COVID restrictions issued by Gov. Tim Walz.

At the time, Attorney General Keith Ellison said this is the first enforcement action his office has brought under the governor's latest order.

A fund has been set up to help pay the legal bills of Brandon Reiter, the owner of the center.

Here is one of the main points in the judge's order:

Three major public policy concerns favor the State. First, as mentioned throughout, the purpose of the Executive Order is to stop spread of COVID-19 amid a spike in cases, and thereby protect the health of Minnesotans. Second, in the absence of an injunction, Defendant would be given an unfair business advantage over other gyms that are following the Executive Order. Third, it is plainly against public policy to allow a person or entity to disregard an Order that has the effect of law, simply because they disagree with it or have data that they believe support their position. For all of these reasons, the Court finds that public policy favors granting a temporary injunction.

The judge also included this summary in response to one of the elements in the arguments:

The second Dahlberg factor requires the Court to balance the harms to be suffered if the temporary injunction is granted with the harms to be suffered if it is denied. In reviewing this factor, it is appropriate for the Court to give injunctive relief when the possible harm is “real, substantial, and irreparable.”  Defendant will be harmed financially if the temporary injunction is issued. While the Defendant does not provide precise financial losses suffered from the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Court is cognizant of the fact that shutting down a small business—even temporarily—can be very significant for small businesses that get no State or Federal relief. Defendant notes that he may even be put out of business as a result of the Executive Order. The Court notes, however, that the Executive Order is not indefinite; it is in effect until December 18, 2020, which closes Defendant down for the next 17 days. (The Court understands it is possible another Order is issued that extends the period of time). As for the harm to Plaintiff, in the absence of issuing a temporary injunction, Minnesotans will be threatened with real, substantial, and irreparable harm. If Courts across Minnesota were to unravel the Executive Order by giving it no legal effect, it may lead to further COVID-19 outbreaks. Death and infection rates will continue to climb and medical facilities may be overwhelmed. Accordingly, the Court finds that this factor weighs in favor of the State.

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