A judge on Tuesday ordered operators of a Ventura gym to pay $10,500 in fines for multiple violations of a preliminary injunction ordering the business to close indoor operations.
BSF Fitness Center was found to be in contempt of court for 19 additional violations of a Sept. 4 preliminary injunction ordering the gym to follow state and county public health orders. These violations were reported from Sept. 11 to Oct. 5, according to Ventura County Deputy District Attorney Andrew Reid.
The court also ordered the gym to pay attorney fees for the district attorney’s office. The gym owners were given 15 days to pay the fines and fees, Reid said.
Neither Gym co-owner Lindsey Cohn nor her attorney James Armstrong returned requests for comment.
The $10,500 includes fines from three violations in early September after the preliminary injunction took effect, Reid said.
Before Ventura County moved into the red tier of state’s COVID-19 reopening plan on Oct. 6, gyms were not allowed to operate indoors. Now, under the red tier restrictions, gyms can open up to 10% capacity as long as there’s social distancing, according to the county’s rules.
The gym owners’ legal fight over remaining open indoors goes back to August. The Ventura County District Attorney’s Office successfully sought a temporary restraining order compelling co-owners Lindsey and Josh Cohn to follow COVID-19 restrictions and stop operating indoors.
The order was issued Aug. 21 and later replaced Sept. 4 by a longer preliminary injunction. Lindsey Cohn has argued the gym remaining open helps people with preexisting conditions. Her attorney has told the court indoor operations were financially vital to the business.
The gym also lost a battle over the legal basis for the district attorney’s office lawsuit Tuesday. The court rejected the gym’s demurrer, a challenge to the legal basis for the lawsuit’s claims, which allows the case against the business to move forward, Reid said.
The gym must file an answer to the lawsuit within 30 days of Tuesday’s hearing, Reid said.
Megan Diskin is a courts and breaking news reporter with The Star. Reach her at [email protected] or 805-437-0258.