New Hanover Co. gym owner files lawsuit against Gov. Cooper in effort to reopen business

Owner of Muscleworx sues the state because unable to open gym

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - In an effort to reopen his business, the owner of a gym in New Hanover Co, has sued North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper.

Jason Morgan, the owner of Muscleworx Fitness Systems, filed the lawsuit Wednesday in response to Cooper’s decision last week to not include gyms in Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan.

“There is no reason to single out particular business and say that this business can follow CDC guidelines and this business isn’t capable of it,” said Morgan. “It’s an economic toll, it’s a livelihood toll. I’ve worked almost 25 years to build this business and you know, it’s just gone.”

In the complaint filed Monday, Morgan states that he’s been forced to move his business to Carolina Beach “in part, due to financial burden placed on Plaintiff’s business by the forced closure.” The complaint also states that the business will not remain financially viable if it stays closed an additional five weeks as required by the latest executive order by the governor.

According to the lawsuit, Morgan is seeking the following:

  • A declaration that he is entitled to the enjoyment of the “fruits of his labor, free from the intrusion of the government, and that the government intrusion is not narrowly tailored to avoid denying Plaintiff’s State and/or Federal Constitutional rights"
  • An injunction and/or order prohibiting the enforcement of any and all executive orders of Gov. Cooper that prohibit the operation of his business
  • An injunction and/or order prohibiting the enforcement of any and all executive orders prohibiting members and guests from using Muscleworx Fitness Systems.

Earlier this month, Morgan was issued a citation for opening the gym’s doors while the governor’s stay-at-home mandate was still in place. Morgan said that the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office warned him that “if he continued to operate his business that his business would be padlocked by Court order.”

Morgan says that his complaint will be heard in court Monday at 11:45 a.m.

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