LIVINGSTON, La (BRPROUD) – The owners of Firehouse BBQ in Livingston parish were back in court today.
“We are basically asking the judge to dismiss the claims,” said Attorney for the State Chris Chocheles.
Back in 2020, the owner of Firehouse BBQ, Danielle Bunch, lost her license to serve food after refusing to uphold the mask mandate designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. She has been entangled in a legal battle with the governor, Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) and others ever sinse.
Chocheles said the case is no longer relevant and seeks a summary judgment.
“There was litigation over the validity of the mask mandate. The mandate is no longer around, obviously, so we’re basically litigating whether she is entitled to any damages,” Chocheles said.
Chocheles said the government is protected under qualified immunity, but Bunch’s attorney Jeff Wittenbrink doesn’t believe this applies.
“We said that there is not qualified immunity because the actions that the governor and LDH and the individual Defendants took were against even the statutory authority that was granted to them,” Wittenbrink. “We just think that it was completely illegal and unconstitutional.”
If the judge disagrees with the state’s motion, the trial will continue.
“What we hope is that we would get a ruling that they were wrong and get a ruling for damages for Ms. Bunch,” said Wittenbrink.
“The only thing left is Bunch’s claims to damages,” said Chocheles.
What happens if the judge agrees with the state?
“Well, it means the trial won’t happen immediately, the case would be dismissed, and we would file an appeal,” Wittenbrink said.
“Nothing worth doing is going to happen quickly and immediately,” Bunch said.
A judge will make a decision before the trial, which is scheduled for Feb. 7.