Owners Of Castle Rock Restaurant In Mother’s Day Viral Video Sue Polis, Health Officials For Suspending License

May 26, 2020
A screengrab from a Twitter video showing customers inside C&C Coffee and Kitchen in Castle Rock, Colo., on May 10, 2020A screengrab from a Twitter video showing customers inside C&C Coffee and Kitchen in Castle Rock, Colo., on May 10, 2020
A screengrab from a Twitter video showing customers inside C&C Coffee and Kitchen in Castle Rock, Colo., on May 10, 2020

The owners of a Castle Rock restaurant that was shut down for defying a state public health orders are suing Gov. Jared Polis and health officials.

C&C Breakfast & Korean Kitchen's license was suspended after it opened for dine-in service Mothers Day and let dozens of diners in. A video of the packed restaurant went viral on social media.

Restaurants are still under a statewide order to suspend dine-in service to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. That order is loosening Wednesday.

In a press conference May 11, Polis called the restaurant an "immediate health hazard."

The lawsuit was filed Friday in Douglas County court on behalf of owners Jesse and April Arellano. It names Polis, the State of Colorado, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the Tri-County Health Department, and the executive director of the CDPHE, Jill Hunsaker Ryan.

The lawsuit argues the suspension of the restaurant license was unconstitutional and deprives them, “of their livelihood and ability to operate their business after they simply allowed customers onto their premises to serve food and beverages.”

It also alleged the decision to shut C&C down was, "unsupported by substantial evidence." And that the people and departments that moved to shut the restaurant down did so with "malicious" intent and a "desire for revenge."

"We are filing this lawsuit in an effort to help all small businesses which, even under newly relaxed reopening standards, are simply on a slower road to bankruptcy. The governor singled out our restaurant for summary license suspension and announced it during a press conference. That was just another example of the way the governor has misused the temporary powers the legislature granted to him in case of an emergency," the owners said in a statement provided by their lawyer.

"We never encourage people to break the law," said Colorado Restaurant Association President Sonia Riggs. "Follow the health code guidelines. Please pay attention. There's a reason that I think the government has been doing what they've been doing. They're trying to keep people safe."

Riggs said she empathizes with restaurant owners during this time because they're scared to lose their livelihoods.

The restaurant's license was suspended indefinitely, for at least one month.