Here’s the check: Restaurants serve NY $2B lawsuit

Hundreds of establishments demand damages and indoor dining from city, state

TRD New York /
Aug.August 31, 2020 06:50 PM
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio (Getty, iStock)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio (Getty, iStock)

Restaurants are finally bringing the check to Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo and it’s not pretty.

More than 300 restaurants are seeking class-action status for a lawsuit against the city and state, demanding they fork over $2 billion for banning indoor dining, Crain’s reported.

Legal action had been threatened by the New York City Hospitality Alliance weeks ago, but the lawsuit is unaffiliated with the trade group.

The lead plaintiff in the suit is the Queens restaurant Il Bacco, which sits just 500 feet from the Nassau County border, where indoor dining is allowed at 50 percent capacity.

“According to Gov. Cuomo, it is dangerous to eat at [Il Bacco] in Little Neck, Queens, but it is safe to dine indoors a few hundred feet east,” says the suit.

New York City is the only area of the state where indoor dining is not allowed. The lawsuit — filed the same day that New Jersey announced indoor dining will resume at 25 percent capacity — argues that there is no scientific evidence for the restriction.

De Blasio has said some cities around the world shut down indoor dining when Covid cases began to surge this summer. He recently mused that city eateries might have to wait for an effective vaccine. Indoor dining has been banned since mid-March.

Championed by attorney James Mermigis, who also filed a class-action lawsuit by gyms, the complaint also makes constitutional arguments, including appeals to the Fourth and Fifth amendments.

Mermigis told Crain’s that he expects the lawsuit to grow to between 500 and 750 restaurants.

“We’re at a point where if you don’t file a lawsuit,” he said, “nothing’s gonna get done.”

Cuomo announced a reopening plan for gyms shortly after they sued. [Crain’s] — Sasha Jones


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