In response to Illinois Governor Pritzker’s Executive Orders 2020-32, 2020-38, and 2020-43 (which included requiring residents to “stay at home,” compelling all “non-essential businesses” to temporarily close, and prohibiting gatherings of more than a specified number of people), several individuals and businesses filed suit against Governor Pritzker, claiming that his Executive Orders violated various provisions of the U.S. Constitution, including that the restrictions violated the First Amendment free speech, religious exercise, and assembly rights, their Due Process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment, and the Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause. A federal district court dismissed the lawsuit, and the case was appealed to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
On appeal, the Seventh Circuit upheld the district court’s dismissal in Nowlin et al. v. Pritzker. The court determined that the individual plaintiffs did not establish the necessary injury in fact to satisfy Counts I through V. The court of appeals also dismissed Count VI (the Fifth Amendment takings claim filed by the businesses), finding that the businesses failed to establish that the Governor’s COVID-19 restrictions constituted a regulatory taking. Citing prior U.S. Supreme Court precedent discussing the burden of proof necessary to prove a taking by governmental regulation, the court reasoned that the businesses failed to show that Governor’s Executive Orders deprived the businesses of all or a significant part of their economically beneficial use.