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An estimated 405 complaints have been filed in connection with prisoner and detainee conditions, while 244 were civil rights-related, 219 had to do with insurance and 125 were connected with education, according to law firm Hunton Andrews Kerth, which has published the classification data on its website. USA Today was first to report on the lawsuit numbers.
Parts of the nation have been experiencing COVID-19-related shutdowns or closures for as long as two and a half months as some states begin to open up. And aspects of local government decisions, such as those that classified businesses as being essential versus nonessential, have caused some to complain they’ve been stripped of their liberties.
Some examples, as outlined by USA Today, are churches – seen as providing solitude for members – and guns, which people feel provide them safety.
In March, gun owners and related business owners in a handful of states sued to have firearms retailers deemed “essential” so that they would be allowed to remain open despite the shutdowns. Plaintiffs argued gun store closures violated the Second Amendment and were therefore unconstitutional.
At the end of the month, the Trump administration ruled that gun shops are considered “essential” businesses that should remain open.
Similarly, churches around the country filed legal challenges opposing virus closures, calling the restrictions unconstitutional and unfair since restaurants, malls and bars were allowed limited reopening.
In-person religious services have been vectors for transmission of the virus.
On Friday, President Trump said he was “identifying houses of worship — churches, synagogues and mosques — as essential places that provide essential services.”
The COVID-19 lawsuits tracker shows New York tops the list of states with the most suits filed, with 422 as of Saturday. California is second, with 184, followed by Florida, with 116. On the other hand, Minnesota has the least, with 24.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.