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Arizona nightclub wins $1.6 million in COVID-19 lockdown lawsuit

The operators of a Tucson, Arizona, nightclub have won a $1.6 million settlement against the owner who barred them from their business during the pandemic.

The Arizona Daily Star reported that a Pima County Superior Court jury sided with the Congress Street Clubs, the owners of the Zen Rock nightclub.

On August 5, they awarded the landlords over $1 million to cover the value of the remaining terms of the lease and over $500,000 for the cost of renovations and equipment.

A lawyer for the owner declined to comment to the newspaper on the decision or a possible appeal.

In the lawsuit, the owners say they closed in March 2020 in accordance with Gov. Doug Ducey’s executive order requiring bars and restaurants to close. They were unable to reopen for several months due to social distancing restrictions, staff with COVID-19, and then another shutdown in June 2020.

Adam Peterson, a lawyer for the Congress Street Clubs, said they weren’t obligated to pay rent during that time under a “force majeure” clause in their lease. This clause relieves tenants inconvenienced by acts beyond their control such as government restrictions.

The owner had argued that the clause was too vague. In July 2020, the owner locked out the owners of the club and seized $150,000 worth of equipment.

Copyright 2022 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Arizona COVID-19 Lawsuits

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Richard Dement

The author Richard Dement