On Friday, Judge John Kissinger dismissed a lawsuit to stop New Hampshire’s ban on gathering of 50 or more to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The lawsuit was filed earlier this week in Merrimack Superior Court and argued that Gov. Christopher Sununu doesn’t have the authority to issue the ban and there is no emergency that allows such an order.
“When ZERO people have died, and only 17 people have been diagnosed, there is no emergency, as a matter of law,” the lawsuit contends. Sununu declared a state of emergency last week.
The plaintiffs who filed the lawsuit are Facebook friends of Manchester lawyer Dan Hynes. He’s known as New Hampshire’s “DWI Guy” and is also a former state representative.
“When I saw the governor’s order, I was rather upset and other people were too,” Hynes said in a telephone interview Thursday. “We understand we are very much in the minority here.”
The plaintiffs allege that Sununu has violated their constitutional protected rights to assemble and worship by closing down dine-in restaurants and churches.
David Binford, one of the plaintiffs, said the ban will prevent him from going to political meetings and events hosted by the Grafton County Republican Committee.
Holly Beene, another plaintiff, said that ban will deprive her of going to market and eating out at restaurants.
The third plaintiff, Eric Couture, said he will have to miss church services he usually attends three times a week.
Sununu’s spokesman, Ben Vihdstadt, said the order was most certainly within the governor’s authority.
“We are confident the court will agree,” he said.
Judge Kissinger wrote in his ruling that he “cannot imagine a more critical and important public objective than protecting the citizens of this state and this country from becoming sick and dying from this pandemic.”
Many counties and states have taken similar measures to New Hampshire’s including closing bars, restaurants and all non-essential businesses. Grocery stores, delivery, fast food and other kinds of to-go food, d
Over 40 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in New Hampshire. The virus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, in the majority of people. However, the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions may suffer more life-threatening symptoms, like difficulty breathing.