A Brooklyn law firm plans to sue Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio in federal court over the lockdown order that will force its closure Thursday.
Turturro Law on McDonald Avenue is in the red zone where non-essential businesses will be shuttered this week to control the spread of a coronavirus outbreak in that area.
“It’s completely arbitrary,” partner Natraj Bhushan told The Post.
Bhushan says his firm has complied with social distancing and other measures, but the city’s lack of enforcement led to the outbreak and second shutdown.
And because of the new lockdown, Turturro will be forced “to cease all or most of its operations without any sort of hearing or formal procedure,” claims the lawsuit, which is slated to be filed in Brooklyn federal court on Thursday.
On Tuesday, Cuomo announced he would be closing non-essential businesses and schools in sections of Brooklyn and Queens where COVID-19 cases have been rising. Restaurants can do take-out only, mass gatherings will be prohibited, and houses of worship will be limited to 25 percent capacity or 10 people.
“This initiative, which was hastily implemented by Defendant Cuomo in an effort to target mass gatherings in the City of New York (and other locations) because of a failure to enforce ‘social distancing rules’ and ‘mask mandates’ now forces Turturro Law (and numerous other non-essential businesses) to shutter its doors despite its diligent efforts and compliance with” public health requirements, the court documents charge.
While the firm understands the need for the governor to take measures during the pandemic, “The initiative at issue, however, is unreasonable, unduly burdensome, and invasive upon the sanctity of attorney-client privilege,” the court papers say.
There isn’t any evidence to suggest the firm would be placing the public at any greater health risk if it opened for “work deemed essential,” the suit says.
The suit also claims the closure could threaten the firm’s — and other businesses’ — ability to stay open in the long-term.
And the new measures are especially unfair to Turturro because other legal practices throughout the city and the country won’t have these same restrictions placed upon them, the court papers allege.
The lockdown is not legally or scientifically justified and the governor could take less drastic measures to help stem the spread of the coronavirus, the firm argues.
Turturro is seeking to overturn the lockdown and unspecified attorneys fees and other costs.
Rich Azzopardi, senior advisor to the governor, told The Post the suit is meritless.
The city Law Department deferred comment to the governor’s office. The mayor’s office didn’t immediately return a request for comment.
“We’re focused on breaking this cluster and saving lives,” Azzopardi said. “Being unhappy is better than being sick or dead.”