Attorney General Ellison resolves two more pandemic-related lawsuits
Shady’s to pay $30K for threatening to violate EO 20-56; Boardwalk pays $25K for violating EO 20-99, serves 30-day license suspension
November 22, 2021
November 19, 2021 (SAINT PAUL) — Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced today that his office has settled lawsuits against two businesses that violated or threatened to violate executive orders during the COVID-19 peacetime emergency: the restaurant chain known as Shady’s, operating six locations in Stearns, Benton, and Todd Counties, and Boardwalk Bar and Grill in East Grand Forks.
The Attorney General’s office has settled its lawsuit against a chain of restaurants known as Shady’s, owned and operated by Kris Schiffler, for threatening to violate Governor Tim Walz’s Emergency Executive Order 20-56. Per the terms of a consent judgment filed in Stearns County, Shady’s will pay $30,000 to the State. All funds received in this settlement go to the State of Minnesota’s General Fund, not the Attorney General’s Office.
The settlement comes after over a year of litigation, which began with Shady’s widely publicized threats to violate Emergency Executive Order 20-56, a temporary dial-back of certain activity to prevent transmission of COVID-19. The Attorney General’s Office first filed its complaint in May 2020 and obtained a temporary restraining order at the eleventh hour, requiring Shady’s to not open its doors to the hundreds of members of the public that had gathered to participate in Shady’s illegal reopening. The court then issued a temporary injunction barring Shady’s from opening in violation of the executive order. Shady’s brought counterclaims against the governor and other state officials, all of which were dismissed following opposition from the Attorney General’s Office. In August 2021, the Attorney General’s Office won summary judgment on its claims and was permitted to seek fees for its litigation costs.
The Shady’s settlement comes on the heels of a similar result in Polk County, where the Attorney General’s Office obtained a consent judgment requiring an East Grand Forks restaurant, Boardwalk Bar and Grill, to pay $25,000 for violations of Emergency Executive Order 20-99. Boardwalk was also required to serve a 30-day suspension of its liquor and food and beverage licenses in separate settlements it entered into with the Minnesota Departments of Public Safety and Health.
The Attorney General’s Office filed a lawsuit against Boardwalk in December 2020 for opening for on-premises dining in violation of Executive Order 20-99, later winning a temporary injunction from the court.
“The vast majority of restaurants and businesses around the State complied with the governor’s orders: they put the health and safety of their customers and community ahead of their profits, and I thank them for it. They should not suffer unfair and illegal competition from other businesses just because they did the right thing. We continue to be committed to holding accountable those entities that put public safety at risk. I am pleased that these businesses finally chose to take responsibility for their actions,” Attorney General Ellison said.