Michigan pizza shop owner who refused to close for COVID-19 seeks reimbursement of fines

Michigan pizza shop owner who refused to close for COVID-19 seeks reimbursement of fines
© Ingham County Sheriff's Office

A Michigan restaurant owner who had her license revoked and spent four nights in jail after she refused to comply with a coronavirus ban on indoor dining is suing the state to have her contempt of court findings dropped and fines related to her decision dismissed.

The Associated Press reported that an attorney for Marlena Pavlos-Hackney filed a motion Tuesday demanding a refund for $15,000 paid in fines, arguing that she appeared in court for a March 19 hearing at which she was found in contempt of court without a lawyer despite having retained counsel.

Pavlos-Hackney was jailed after being found in contempt of court but released after officers were convinced that her restaurant would remain closed.

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The owner of Marlena's Bistro and Pizzeria in Holland, Mich. was arrested last month after her food service license was suspended in January over her refusal to stop serving customers indoors following the state's pandemic ban in November.

A sign previously on the door of her pizza shop read: “Welcome. We are a Constitutionally Compliant Business. We are not infringing on anyone’s inalienable rights. By law, we do not follow any of the governor’s, mayor’s, health department’s, or other government agency orders or suggestions pertaining to social distancing or mask wearing."

It's unclear whether Pavlos-Hackney has made any further attempts to reopen her business since her release.