Bar owner’s shutdown lawsuit against GovGuam dismissed

Thomas Peinhopf's lawsuit challenged the constitutionality of the government of Guam’s public health measures. (PNC file photo)

US District Court Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood has dismissed bar owner Thomas Peinhopf’s lawsuit against the government of Guam, Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero, and Public Health director Arthur San Agustin.

In her order dated Feb. 5, 2021, Tydingco-Gatewood stated that she has accepted District Court Magistrate Judge Michael Bordallo’s report and recommendation to dismiss the lawsuit.

“There having been no timely objection, the court hereby ACCEPTS and ADOPTS said report and recommendation,” the order stated.

As for the defendants’ motion to dismiss counts 1 through 4, Tydingco-Gatewood granted the motion with leave to amend. The plaintiff may file an amended complaint no later than February 19, 2021. Failure to timely file an amended complaint shall result in automatic dismissal, the chief judge warned.

As for the defendants’ motion to dismiss plaintiff’s request for monetary damages, Tydingco-Gatewood also granted this with prejudice, ruling that “the law is well
settled that such damages claims are not permitted under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and therefore, amendment to the Complaint would be futile.”

Peinhopf filed the lawsuit challenging the governor’s executive orders and Public Health’s directives shutting down nonessential businesses last September.

The local business owner wanted the court to declare the issuance of the orders as “unconstitutional,” according to documents filed in District Court.

Peinhopf said this was the industry’s last resort in fighting for their livelihoods. His bar was among those shut down because of the pandemic.