CULVER CITY (CBSLA) — The city of Culver City announced Wednesday that it had taken legal action against a gymnastics school and its owner-operator for allegedly offering indoor sessions in violation of health orders aimed at limiting the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Los Angeles School of Gymnastics (8450 Higuera Street) flagrantly refuses to comply with public health rules, jeopardizing the health of the entire Culver City community. https://t.co/iJbS96j3m8 pic.twitter.com/AZTOfjW9Iu
— City of Culver City (@CulverCityGov) September 2, 2020
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Santa Monica Superior Court against the Los Angeles School of Gymnastics and owner Tanya Berenson, is seeking to have the gym declared a public nuisance and in violation of an emergency public order. The city is also seeing an injunction against further indoor operations until the city’s health order is vacated or amended.
According to the lawsuit, the city began receiving complaints from parents, neighbors and employees on July 21 that the school in the 8400 block of Higuera Street was continuing to operate indoors — in violation of the state, county and city orders.
The city also alleges that officials attempted to “educate and obtain voluntary compliance,” but the business “failed, refused or neglected to comply,” with those requests.
According to the suit, Culver City Fire Department personnel went to the gym on July 22 and left updated business operation guidelines with the gym staff who later said they had given the paperwork to Berenson, who was not present at the time. Later that month, Berenson told county health workers and city officials that the gym would move all classes, camps and coaching outside, according to the lawsuit.
But, according to the suit, fire inspectors who returned to the gym July 29 saw 10 children inside engaged in activity and another eight being checked in for admission into the indoor facility.
After receiving additional complaints about alleged indoor activity at the gym in early August, the city issued a cease-and-desist letter that said the city’s fire marshal determined that Berenson was “attempting to hide the fact that classes were taking place indoors,” according to the suit.
Berenson Wednesday told City News Service that her gym has not violated any health orders and has conducted all sessions and classes outdoors in accordance with Gov. Gavin Newson’s health orders.
She also said that none of her 600 students have contracted COVID-19 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 proceedings against the school and its children’s activities center represent a “really sad day” in Culver City.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)