News Roundup

Afternoon Briefs: Texas justice has COVID-19; 7th Circuit win for strip clubs seeking payroll loans

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Texas Supreme Court justice tests positive for COVID-19

Texas Supreme Court Justice Debra Lehrmann said Thursday she and her husband, Greg, have tested positive for COVID-19. The couple got tested after experiencing fevers and body aches. Lehrmann told the Dallas Morning News that she and her husband left home only to go grocery shopping, and they always wore masks and gloves. Their only visitors were their son, his wife and their baby. (The Dallas Morning News, Lehrmann’s Twitter post)

7th Circuit sides with strip clubs on stay request

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at Chicago refused Wednesday to stay a federal judge’s ruling that allowed strip clubs to access the Payroll Protection Program, a federal program that provides forgivable loans to small businesses that pay employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. A group of Wisconsin strip clubs had argued that excluding them from the program violated their First Amendment right to free speech. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at Cincinnati has also refused to stay a judge’s decision for an adult business in Michigan. (Law.com, the Chicago Tribune, the 7th Circuit order)

Ohio judge blocks state order requiring gym closings

Judge Eugene Lucci of Lake County, Ohio, ruled Wednesday that the director of the Ohio Department of Health did not have statutory authority to close businesses, including the gyms and health clubs that challenged the closure order. Lucci said the businesses can reopen if they follow heath guidelines. (Cleveland.com, the Cincinnati Enquirer)

Some grand juries are issuing indictments

Some grand juries are back at work. News stories indicate that grand juries in some counties are issuing indictments in Virginia, Texas, Tennessee, Ohio and North Carolina. Federal grand juries in the Northern District of Ohio and the Southern District of Georgia also issued indictments, although the Georgia grand jury met virtually. A federal grand jury in Cleveland is also meeting. One news report by BuzzFeed indicates that the Cleveland grand jury is investigating a Ukraine oligarch. (The Martinsville Bulletin, the Beaumont Enterprise, the Times News, the Tribune Chronicle, WLOS, ABC 13, Savannah Now, Cleveland.com, BuzzFeed News)

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