The municipality of Anchorage on Saturday demanded that the court hearing be disregarded after a local dinner challenged a judge’s decision to ban the house-eating service.
The city motion calls for the judge in this case the “extraordinary remedy of negligence sanctions” against the restaurant, the Kriner Dinner and its owners. The city motion also accuses the restaurant lawyer, Blake Quackenbush, of “encouraging and actively participating in the ongoing breach” and argues that he should have been sanctioned by the court.
In his ruling Friday, Supreme Court Justice Eric Aarseth wrote that the public would suffer “irreparable harm” if businesses like Kriner were allowed to violate City 15 Emergency Order, which last week blocked eating at home in restaurants and breweries. The city order is intended to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
On Saturday morning, the Kriner Dinner was open, with a line of customers waiting outside. The restaurant has been crowded all week with dinners supporting his stand against city order.
“We are extremely disappointed that they continue to choose to enforce the law when they already have the attention of the superior court and may have their day in court to make their case that the emergency order is not valid,” said a statement with writing by Carolyn Salla, city spokeswoman.
“The notion that Kriner should be immune to emergency orders issued to protect the health and safety of our community ignores the reality that most people in Anchorage are enduring: our children do not attend school in person; our defendants are not receiving trials. jury; our grandparents in assisted residential homes have been stuck inside waiting for the rest of us to make the community as safe as possible to embrace their grandchildren; and our epidemiologists and hospitals have warned that we may be “outside the ICU beds next month if the July trends continue,” the statement said. “In this new world, when the transmission of the virus to the community is widespread, it is reasonable for our residents to expect leaders to take action to maintain life and health in a community, including temporarily requesting this dinner. focus on receiving, distributing and eating in nature. “
The dinner was represented by Quackenbush lawyer of the Blake Fulton Quackenbush family law.
“We have a great client with a great business and now we have no further comment,” said Katie Payton, the firm’s administrator, Saturday evening after the city presentation.
Andy Kriner, who owns the dinner along with Norann Kriner, could not be reached immediately for comment on Saturday night after the city show.
During Friday’s court hearing, Quackenbush argued that the city also showed no evidence that business practices at the Kriner Dinner contributed to the spread of COVID-19.
Quackenbush argued that the emergency order violates the Alaska Constitution because it deprives Kriners of their right to work. He also said the city is giving Kriners and other restaurant owners “different and unequal treatment”. Other employers conducting similar businesses where masked clothing cannot be seen, such as the gym, are not similarly closed, he said.
City Attorney Kate Vogel told a community conference Friday afternoon that “if anyone wants to challenge the constitutionality of a law, they obviously have the right to do so, but they have no right not to enforce it while awaiting that court settlement.” “.
Previously, Kriner dealt with the idea that opening the restaurant endangers public health.
“If I thought I was endangering someone, I would not open it. I just do not believe I am,” he told the Daily News last week.
Early Saturday, Kriner said he would lose half of the restaurant’s revenue just by going to get out. He said: “It would just be a slow and quiet death in the restaurant business if all he did was go out. Eventually you would not do it.”
In his contempt motion on Saturday, city attorneys said they were not seeking to jail the defendants. Instead, they want to make sure the restaurant stops serving food indoors “to protect the health and safety of Anchorage residents.” By staying open, the defendants “knowingly caused” a $ 600 fine from the city every day, according to documents. But that has been insufficient to stop them from operating dinner services, the motion says.
So the municipality is now seeking a $ 5,000-a-day fine order for breach of order, above other fines.
The motion alleges Kriner was aware of the judge’s decision, but continued internal service, based on an interview posted on Facebook on Saturday.
The city claims that Kriner’s lawyer, Quackenbush, “is actively encouraging and participating in the ongoing violation.” The lawyer posted a video on a Facebook group on Saturday showing a dinner packed with the caption “Americans protesting peacefully in a historic” landing “! Breakfast is served.”
Quackenbush also commented on the post, according to the documents, saying “We have the right to work and support our families and communities. Please, if you are healthy, go out and go into business and encourage businesses to have the courage to work. It is madness to you think we are fighting for the right to work and support our families! “
According to court documents, a municipal attorney called Quackenbush on Friday after hearing that Kriner was continuing dinner service despite the order and “advised that he told his client to obey the court order.” Quackenbush said he had not seen the order, the documents say, so the lawyer sent him a copy. He replied that he had told his clients to follow the order, the documents say.
However, the documents say that based on his posts on social media on Saturday, “Quackenbush is actively working to undermine the Court Order and EO-15, despite his acknowledgment that it was his duty to inform his client to do not break the law. “
Documents say the city is seeking a monetary sanction against Quackenbush, because of his “shocking behavior”.
By posting the video from inside the dinner and posting a Kriner endorsement “by deliberately disobeying the court order,” Quackenbush “knowingly violated” the court order, the emergency order, and the Alaska Code of Professional Conduct, the documents say.
Moreover, he “positively encouraged others to engage in conduct that he knows to be illegal.”
His subsequent comment on the post indicates that Quackenbush was “knowingly assisting or inciting his client and others to violate or attempt to violate the Court Order”, which, according to the proposal, could be sanctioned.
When asked about Friday’s court decision at a community conference later in the day, Berkowitz said at a conference on Friday, it was a “heavy day”, and that he took no joy in the decision because Alaskans should be able to solve problems without resorting to litigation.
“I think the importance of being able to protect public health through these public health orders is so important that the law must be applied to everyone,” he said. “And if we want it to be as effective as possible, everyone has to agree with it.”
The impetus to the city’s pandemic policies is growing. Anchor health experts say the risks of pandemic are also increasing.
Berkowitz said he wants to bring the number of COVID-19 cases with a collective effort, in order to lift some of the restrictions. The mayor said he was pleased with most of the businesses that comply with the order.
“I know it’s easy to follow outsiders, and that’s what happened,” he said. “And they’ve got a proportionate amount of publicity for what they’re doing.”
The mayor said indoor eating was considered “high-risk behavior,” according to the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and said that if the city and country had better traces of contact, they would be more capable of closing exactly a few businesses. Rather, they are making “wide-brimmed decisions” based on what is known to be high-risk, until they know more.
“Those who are politicizing the response to a serious illness are really endangering public health,” Berkowitz said. “And they are also putting our economic well-being at great risk, and they must be held accountable for it. There is no partisan advantage to making people sick and perpetuating the pandemic.”