Twice in less than a month, Bit Bar, a Salem-based arcade venue, successfully challenged the Massachusetts government in federal court for violating the First and Fourteenth Amendments.
Randazza Legal Group filed a complaint on behalf of Bit Bar against the Massachusetts governor, Charlie Baker, in early October. In it, Bit Bar argued that Governor Baker’s decision to keep arcades closed amidst the COVID-19 pandemic but allow casinos to reopen violated the arcade’s First and Fourteenth Amendment rights.
Two days after being served with the complaint, the governor caved and allowed Bit Bar and similar businesses to re-open.
While the case was pending, Bit Bar sought to apply for aid through a COVID-19 relief program for small businesses through Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation (MGCC), a quasi-public entity. However, Bit Bar was not permitted to apply due to a provision in the program that barred any firm involved in litigation with the Commonwealth.
Bit Bar filed a lawsuit against MGCC in federal court on October 27, arguing the provision was a violation of its First Amendment right to Petition.
MGCC caved in the day after being served with the Complaint.
“Boston Bit Bar Labs Inc.’s application will in no way be prejudiced by or treated differently as a result of the recently-filed lawsuit against MGCC or any previously filed suits against the Commonwealth or its officers,” wrote Neil Martin, the chief operating officer of MGCC in a letter to Bit Bar.
“We are of course pleased that yet again, the Commonwealth has decided to follow the Constitution after being smacked across the face with a federal lawsuit,” Marc Randazza, managing partner of Randazza Legal Group said. “Perhaps in the future, the Commonwealth can just respect the Constitution without being sued – but I somehow doubt it. Fortunately, we are here to help.”
These Cases In the News
After lawsuit, state drops ‘litigation’ language from aid plan
Salem News reports Bit Bar and Randazza Legal Group’s victory when Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation caved after being sued by Bit Bar.
Bit Bar heads back to court over strings tied to relief program
Salem News covers the lawsuit filed against Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation by Bit Bar.
Salem video arcade tries to continue suit against Charlie Baker over Covid-19 shutdown even after he lifts ban on arcades
Universal Hub reports that after the Court dismissed the lawsuit in favor of the Governor of Massachusetts, attorney Marc Randazza makes it clear his client Bit Bar will be appealing the decision.
Massachusetts Arcades Allowed To Reopen Thursday
CBS Boston reports that Gov. Baker’s order allowing arcades to finally reopen has gone into effect after he announced it the week before.
Arcades given green light to reopen in Massachusetts amid pandemic
7 News Boston shares that Gov. Baker’s order allowing arcades to finally reopen has gone into effect after he announced it the week before.
Arcades can reopen in Massachusetts next week
Boston.com shares that Baker’s announcement that arcades could reopen soon came shortly after Bit Bar filed its lawsuit.
Massachusetts gaming arcade, Bit Bar, sues Gov. Charlie Baker over coronavirus reopening plan claiming casino slot machines are similar to arcade games
MassLive details the lawsuit Bit Bar filed against the Governor of Massachusetts, Charlie Baker, for his decision to keep arcades closed amidst the COVID-19 pandemic but allow casinos to reopen.
Salem Arcade Bar Files Suit Against State
Patch explores the arguments Bit Bar made in its lawsuit against the Governor of Massachusetts.