CLAYTON, Mo. – St. Louis County is taking House of Pain Gyms to court to force them to follow the county’s stay-at-home order. County attorneys are also asking a judge to force the gyms to hand over names of everyone who’s been inside.
Court filings show the county wants names and contact numbers so that clients can be tested for COVID-19. Court records show a request to bill the gyms for the testing.
Meanwhile, Missouri leaders will be closely following what happens in court and the Missouri governor’s office met Monday to decide whether or not to intervene.
House of Pain Gyms received a second and final warning Saturday from St. Louis County, threatening “legal action Monday, May 11.”
“We have 30,000 businesses in St. Louis County and we will occasionally have those who don’t want to follow our advice and instruction,” said St. Louis County Executive Dr. Sam Page. “We’ll work through those processes as they identify themselves. But I’m going to follow the direction of my health department.”
House of Pain owner Joe Corbett posted a Facebook video Sunday explaining why his decision is not about publicity or picking a fight.
“That’s not our intention at all. I’d rather be riding my Harley than dealing with this but we feel this is an overreach and we’re feeling like they’re ruling with a heavy hand here and we’re doing what we feel is right for small business,” he said.
Attorney Chris McDonough, who represents House of Pain, issued the following statement on behalf of his clients:
Today an out of control St. Louis County Executive and County Counselor continued their assault on small business owners by filing a punitive retaliatory lawsuit against a business that has done nothing wrong.
The County Executive’s arbitrary and capricious efforts to close gyms are wholly inconsistent with the Director of the Missouri Department of Health’s April 27, 2020 order, Missouri’s Show Me Strong Recovery Plan, and the President’s Opening America Up Again Guidelines.
Individual liberty is under attack in St. Louis County. But we are confident the rule of law, and freedom, will ultimately prevail.
My clients did not pick this fight. But they won’t back down.
On Saturday, state representatives from both parties worked out at the Chesterfield House of Pain in support of the business’ holdout. Republican Dottie McKenna Bailey and Democrat Maria Chappelle-Nadal both stood together.
But the legislators said they have no power to immediately intervene. Representative Bailey said she’s asked Governor Parson to step in.
No court date had been set at last check. Fox 2 will attend the hearing once it’s scheduled.