In an effort to combat the surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, the County of Los Angeles issued a modified order effective November 25, 2020 restricting outdoor dining services at restaurants, breweries, wineries, and bars. The California Restaurant Association sought a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to enjoin the County from implementing the ban. A superior court judge enjoined the County’s order, but the County filed an immediate petition for writ of mandate. The Second District Court of Appeal issued an immediate stay of the superior court’s injunction against the County and an order to show cause as to why the injunction should not be reversed.
On March 1, 2021, the Second District Court of Appeal ruled that the superior court had abused its discretion in granting a preliminary injunction against the County, and directed the court to deny the California Restaurant Association’s request for preliminary injunction. [Read the Decision]
This victory helped to ensure the protection of County residents during a raging pandemic and set an important statewide precedent granting public officials broad discretion to take preventative measures during an emergency. Per the ruling, “Wisdom and precedent dictate that elected officials and their expert public health officers, rather than the judiciary, generally should decide how best to respond to health emergencies . . .”
County of Los Angeles, Department of Public Health, et al. v. The Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles County Superior Court, Case Nos. 20STCP03881, 20STCV45134; California Second District Court of Appeal, Case No. B309416