Judge Blocks Culver City's School's Indoor Sessions

SANTA MONICA (CNS) - A judge has issued a temporary restraining order against a Culver City gymnastics school and its owner, who have been accused of holding indoor classes and activities in violation of a local order aimed at limiting the spread of the coronavirus.

Santa Monica Superior Court Judge Mark A. Young on Thursday granted a request by the city of Culver City for the TRO, which was brought in connection with a lawsuit the city filed Sept. 1 against the Los Angeles School of Gymnastics on Higuera Street and owner Tanya Berenson.

Lawyers for the city state in their court papers that the school is a public nuisance and that the city staff received complaints about the school's alleged indoor operations.

The city's zoning code precludes the outdoor operation of gyms and fitness establishments, so the city manager on July 21 issued a public order suspending the enforcement of that zoning code provision to allow gyms and fitness facilities to operate outdoors on private property if owners obtain a temporary permit from the city. The TRO against indoor operations is effective until that public order is vacated or amended.

The TRO will legally expire Oct. 28, at which time the judge will hold another hearing if necessary to decide if it should be extended.

Berenson previously told City News Service that she has not violated any health orders and has conducted all sessions and classes outdoors according to Gov. Gavin Newsom's health orders issued in July.

She said none of her 600 students has contracted the coronavirus at the gym and that the business is a pillar in the Culver City gymnastics community that helped send Valerie Zimring-Schneiderman, a rhythmic gymnast, to the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.

Berenson said the legal efforts against the school and its children's activities center represented a “really sad day'' in Culver City.

In his court papers opposing the TRO,  defense attorney Drew H. Sherman said there was no emergency that warranted a TRO being issued, that the city did not provide the defense with proper service of the complaint and that the TRO does not specify what activities are to be enjoined pending the Oct. 28 hearing.

Photo: Getty Images

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