New Jersey: “Theater owners drop lawsuit after N.J. ends order that closed movie houses across the state”

September 21, 2020 | By  | source

“Nearly three weeks after Gov. Phil Murphy allowed movie theaters in the state to reopen with limited capacity, many screens in New Jersey still remain dark.

But a federal lawsuit challenging his original shutdown order has ended.

In a consent order filed last week in Trenton, the National Association of Theatre Owners — and a group of several major theater operators — agreed to withdraw the lawsuit, at least for now.

The entire action was dismissed without prejudice, meaning it could be brought to court once again. Each side will pay for its own costs and fees.

Both the association and the state Attorney General’s office declined comment.

The theaters in New Jersey were shut down in March, after Murphy ordered businesses across the state to close as COVID-19 infections and deaths continued to climb in the early days of the pandemic.

But in their lawsuit filed in July, the association and some of the nation’s largest theater chains challenged the closures as unconstitutional. They argued that as the virus waned and the state allowed other places of public assembly to reopen, including churches, requiring movie theaters to remain closed was an unlawful distinction and unconstitutional.”


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