Court: Top NC health official can be sued for COVID shutdown

Ace Speedway (Photo: WFMY/CBS News)

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The North Carolina Court of Appeals has ruled that Gov. Roy Cooper’s secretary of health and human services is not immune from a lawsuit over the administration’s restrictions on large gatherings in the early months of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Department of Health and Human Services temporarily shut down Ace Speedway in June 2020 after it repeatedly defied Cooper’s executive order limiting outdoor crowds to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

The racetrack filed counterclaims that August, alleging the department unlawfully singled out the business and violated its employees’ constitutional right to earn a living.

The court unanimously voted Tuesday to uphold a January 2021 trial court ruling denying a DHHS motion to dismiss Ace Speedway’s claims.

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