The attorney general of Guam wants a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit against Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero and Department of Public Health and Social Services Director Arthur San Agustin, both in their personal and official capacities, that was filed last month.
The lawsuit asks the federal court to nullify the governor's executive orders that forbade certain businesses from opening during the pandemic.
Thomas Peinhopf, who operates Livehouse Inc. and The Shady Lady bar/tavern, filed the lawsuit through attorneys Thomas Fisher and Rachel Taimanao-Ayuyu.
The attorney general's motion, filed Tuesday, requests that the court dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
"The governor of Guam and director of DPHSS have taken measures to protect the public health and safety of the island's residents, adopting a phased approach designed to be as flexible as possible, that depends on available data, science and public health infrastructure," the AG's motion states. "Thomas Peinhopf asks this court to block those measures claiming that his constitutional right to operate a business outweighs the public health and safety. Even assuming Mr. Peinhopf's business interests are negatively impacted by the government's efforts to contain the contagion, he has failed to state a constitutional claim upon which to grant him the relief he requests."
The lawsuit contends the governor's executive orders violate the Constitution in that they "control the movement of citizens in their private property," adding that the public was not given prior notice or an opportunity to be heard on the restrictions.
The government's business shutdown orders have deprived the plaintiff of his right to reap the economic benefits of his private property, the lawsuit states. The governor's business shutdown orders are "illegal, unconstitutional and void."
The Guam lawsuit followed a successful challenge against government shutdown orders in Pennsylvania.