The lawsuits against businesses in the Flathead were Bullock’s attempt at attacking political rivals, but it appears Governor Gianforte is putting a stop to them
The Montana Daily Gazette covered Bullock’s use of DPHHS to attack Republican donors on October 23 of last year. We wrote at the time, “Steve Bullock has punitively targeted the business of a major Republican donor for not requiring face masks. It is not a coincidence; it is political payback and criminal corruption.”
Again, we wrote, “The State Health Department – overseen by the Governor’s Office – has sought an injunction with the court to force Syke’s Diner to comply with Governor Bullock’s order. Syke’s Diner, most locals know, is owned by prominent and influential Republican business man, Ray Thompson. DPHHS issued the request for a restraining order against Thompson’s restaurant earlier today.”
Syke’s Diner wasn’t the only one charged, however. Other businesses include Remington Bar and Casino, Your Lucky Turn Casino, Ferndale Market, and Scotty’s Bar and Casinod. The state chose three different courts, probably under the assumption that at least one would be likely to take their side. However, district court judges Amy Eddy, Heidi Ulbricht and Dan Wilson all denied the department’s request for the restraining orders. Judge Amy Eddy scolded DPHHS, reminding them of the pertinent law that reads, “a delay would cause immediate and irreparable injury to the applicant.”
However, in Governor Gianforte’s “State of the State address,” he announced that he would be dismissing the frivolous lawsuits.
Gianforte later said, “It’s been a tough year for small business and we don’t need the government piling on,” he said. “I’ve directed our general counsel to dismiss those cases.”
Countersuits from the businesses against the state for legal fees and their troubles have not yet been dismissed, and probably will be settled out of court.