Suing Ohio's Health Department Director to Reopen


The Cincinnati Zoo will reopen next Wednesday. Zoos, museums, and playgrounds all getting the green light to open back up by the state of Ohio. However, other major attractions like amusement parks and casinos were not included on this latest list of openings and the owners of Kings Island are now taking the state of Ohio to court. The lawsuit charges that Health Department Director Amy Acton has overstepped her authority. It accuses her of arbitrarily criminalizing all safe amusement and water park operations without providing any process for challenging the order. A similar suit against gym owners was successful in Lake County Ohio.

Here is the news release from the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law which filed the suit:

Cedar Point, Kings Island, Kalahari Sue to Open

Ohio Dept. of Health has no Constitutional Authority to Keep these Businesses Closed

Columbus, OH – The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law today filed suit to enjoin the Ohio Department of Health from continuing to enforce its criminalization of Ohio’s amusement and water parks, as implemented through the Director’s May 29, 2020 Order.

The cases are filed on behalf of Ohio’s three largest amusement and water parks: Cedar Point, Kings Island, and Kalahari Resorts.

The May 29 Order singles out amusement and water parks even as nearly all other Ohio businesses are permitted to operate. The Order provides no opening dates for these seasonal businesses that employ thousands and generate the bulk of the economic activity in their respective counties, even though these businesses are safe to operate.

The 1851 Center’s Complaints assert that the Health Director maintains no power to close otherwise lawful Ohio businesses or create her own sanctions to enforce those closures.

Further, the Order permits businesses with similar features, such as pools and large crowds, to open, while singling out amusement and water parks for disfavored treatment. Also, the Governor announced on June 4, 2020 the opening of many like-kind businesses.

“The Ohio Constitution’s protections apply to all, including those businesses that the state’s highest public officials view as non-essential. The Governor and his Health Director must end their unnecessary and unconstitutional assault on Ohioans’ businesses and traditions,” explained 1851 Center Executive Director Maurice Thompson. “We and our clients remain committed to ensuring that these arbitrary policies never again recur.”

The cases are pending in the Erie County Courts of Common Pleas before Judge Binette, and the Warren County Court of Common Pleas, before Judge Oda.

You can read the complete court filing below: