RALEIGH — A judge has denied the request for a temporary restraining order (TRO) against Gov. Roy Cooper’s orders keeping gyms and fitness-related facilities in the state closed.
The complaint was filed by Jet Fitness 24/7 and it’s owner, Jennifer Durst. The Jet Fitness 24/7 facilities are located in Mooresville and Lake Norman. The denial of the TRO will impact three cases, including the complaint filed by the Reopen NC Health Clubs.
“Sorry everybody. We tried,” said a Facebook message by Jet Fitness. “The second the Chief Justice got wind of our case being held in Iredell County and moved it to Raleigh to be heard by a judge that she and Cooper appointed, I knew the deck was stacked against us. Disappointed is an understatement.”
The order was handed down by Senior Business Court Judge James L. Gale on June 9. According to his bio, Gale is the Senior Judge of the North Carolina Business Court in Greensboro. He was appointed a Special Superior Court Judge for Complex Business Cases in March 2011 and served as Chief Judge of the Business Court from October 2014 through June 2018.
Gale’s order denies the TRO motion but states that it will “allow submission of additional materials prior to ruling on pending motions for a preliminary injunction.”
It appears part of the reason for the TRO denial was that an expedited hearing was requested but that “arguments of counsel went beyond matters of record” and that the plaintiffs had implied there would have been “additional materials to file” in response to the governor’s filing.
Near the end of May, gym and fitness facility owners met with Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest. During the meeting, owners said that they didn’t think they could make it through the end of Phase 2. The owners of several gyms told Forest that Phase 2 was a “punch to the gut.”
“One of the first things I had to cut was our insurance because I couldn’t afford the mortgage at this point,” said Danny Richani, franchise co-owner of a HotWorx Infrared Fitness Studio in Wilmington. “We are not selfish. We care about others. My family is essential. At the very least, they are essential to me.”
The plaintiffs are being given until June 12 to file additional documentation and materials. The Cooper administration will then have until June 17 to respond with rebuttal materials.
This story is ongoing and may be updated.