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Wells County Eatery Sues County, State Over Public Health Orders

Chris Light
Wikimedia Commons

A Wells County barbecue restaurant wants to go back to pre-pandemic business as usual, and sued the Wells County Health Department and Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb this week in Wells County Circuit Court.

Filed Tuesday by attorneys for Yergy’s State Road BBQ in Bluffton, the lawsuit alleges Holcomb and the Wells County Health Department violated their constitutional rights by enforcing a health ordinance based on Holcomb’s emergency orders. 

Those orders require facial coverings by staff and limit indoor capacity in restaurants during the COVID-19 pandemic. Yergy’s was found in violation and effectively shut down in August..

In November, members of the Wells County Board of Health upheld the majority of the department’s order during a hearing.

According to the lawsuit, the governor’s orders violate the state constitution’s distribution of powers and are unenforceable. The business owners assert the orders and penalties have not been set by the legislature and should be voided.

Yergy’s is asking a judge to review the orders and prohibit their enforcement. 

Gov. Holcomb’s office issued a one-line public statement in response to the lawsuit, saying: “We do our homework before we create executive orders. I’m confident in my authority to set in place requirements that save Hoosier lives.”


Yergy's vs. Wells County Health Department by Rebecca Green on Scribd