Bay Area restaurateurs sue California and counties to recover permit fees charged amid COVID-19
The lawsuits allege that the counties and state have been “unjustly enriched by the illegal exaction of money” from the restaurants.
Restaurants in a handful of greater Bay Area counties have filed class-action lawsuits seeking refunds for liquor license and health permit fees assessed by the state and counties even though they were forced to shutter completely or operate at significantly lower capacity under COVID-19 public health orders.
Restaurant owners in Contra Costa, Santa Clara, Monterey and Sonoma in recent days have joined those across much of the state, including San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles, that filed similar lawsuits against the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and the counties in which they operate.
The lawsuits, filed separately in each county, allege that the counties and state have been “unjustly enriched by the illegal exaction of money” from the restaurants “under the guise of a permit, licensing or tax fee” for services the business owners couldn’t provide because of health order restrictions.
As such, the lawsuit seeks to have the court declare that any past and ongoing collection of permit and licensing fees are “invalid and illegal.”