Attorney General Cameron Joins Kentucky Business, Agriculture Commissioner in Lawsuit Challenging Governor’s COVID-19 Executive Orders

FRANKFORT, Ky. (July 3, 2020) – Attorney General Daniel Cameron today filed a motion in Scott Circuit Court to join a lawsuit challenging the process used by Governor Andy Beshear to issue executive orders halting the operations of Kentucky businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The lawsuit, brought by Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles and Evans Orchard and Cider Mill, LLC, states that several of the Governor’s executive orders violate the Kentucky Constitution.

Evans Orchard and Cider Mill, an agritourism business in Georgetown, instituted new public health guidelines and procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic in compliance with Governor Beshear’s executive orders, including requiring employees to wear masks, sanitation protocols for the facility, and reduced capacity to comply with social distancing.  In one instance, Evans Orchard was told by the local health department that they could not allow more than 10 individuals at a time into the business’s 96,000 square foot attraction.

“We’ve unfortunately seen a pattern during this pandemic where time after time, Kentuckians have had to resort to costly litigation to stop the Governor’s arbitrary and oppressive executive orders,” said Attorney General Cameron. “And, time after time, those Kentuckians have prevailed in court. Virtually every court considering a constitutional challenge to one of Governor Beshear’s executive orders during this state of emergency has declared it unconstitutional and enjoined him from further enforcement. Evans Orchard is a Kentucky business that is trying to remain in operation while also protecting public health, and we’re proud to stand alongside them and Commissioner Quarles in court to fight to keep the business open and profitable.”

Governor Beshear’s executive orders have resulted in significant financial losses for Evans Orchard and other Kentucky businesses, and if allowed to remain in effect without change, will bankrupt family businesses.

“Every Kentuckian, including me, wants to do the right thing to flatten the curve and save lives, but the regulatory mayhem unleashed on our state by the haphazard and selective enforcement of Governor Beshear’s executive orders is causing economic hardship for those who want to put public health first,” said Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles. “Evans Orchard has prioritized public health, but has suffered immense financial losses as a result of the Governor’s orders which has limited their ability to operate their 96,000 square foot play area. I am glad Attorney General Daniel Cameron is joining us in our fight to make sure Evans Orchard and many other businesses can put public health first and re-open safely. We want to ensure public health is protected, the American dream is preserved, and that our laws and institutions mean something.”

To view a copy of the Attorney General's legal filings in the case, click here.