State, Plainview fitness center settle lawsuit over COVID-19 restrictions

Alonzo Osche

The owner of a Plainview fitness center that was sued by the state for violating an executive order has settled his case and agreed to pay a $5,000 fine and comply with all current and future executive orders, the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office announced Monday. The Minnesota Attorney General’s Office […]

The owner of a Plainview fitness center that was sued by the state for violating an executive order has settled his case and agreed to pay a $5,000 fine and comply with all current and future executive orders, the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office announced Monday.

The Minnesota Attorney General’s Office filed a lawsuit against Plainview Wellness Center and its owner Brandon Reiter on Nov. 24, on allegations that he was violating Gov. Tim Walz’s Executive Order 20-99 — which ordered that fitness centers and other places of entertainment close, and that bars and restaurants suspend indoor service for four weeks — by remaining open past when the order went into effect.

The AG’s Office asked a judge to issue a temporary restraining order, which would force Reiter to close the gym’s doors in compliance with the executive order.

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Reiter, through his attorney, Vincent J. Fahnlander, argued against the temporary restraining order, citing a number of reasons, including that there were less-restrictive alternatives to protect public health and that by forcing the gym to close it would likely mean “irreparable injury to and perhaps even the death” to Reiter’s business.

A Wabasha County District Court judge ordered Reiter to close the doors of the fitness center in compliance with the executive order in December 2020.

On Monday, March 8, 2021, the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office announced that the lawsuit had been settled. Court records indicate Reiter signed the agreement at the end of February.

Fahnlander did not return a call for comment Tuesday afternoon.

As part of the settlement, Reiter was ordered to pay $2,500 of the fine on or before March 1. The remaining amount is to be be paid in installments of $500 on the first of each month, concluding in August. The settlement funds will go toward the state’s general fund. If, in the future Reiter is found to have violated any terms of the agreement, he could face a $25,000 penalty.

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