Casey’s Restaurant in Roseburg has appealed its fines from the state and has asked for a conference on the matter.
The restaurant, located at 326 NW Garden Valley Blvd., reopened for dine-in service on May 5. On May 14, the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited the restaurant and issued two fines, totaling $13,900, for reopening for dine-in service against Gov. Kate Brown’s executive order. OSHA said the restaurant “willfully” disobeyed the order and in doing so put employees at “serious” risk.
Casey’s had 30 days from the date of the citation to file an appeal, which it did on June 3.
Casey’s is owned by Lance and Laurie Mounts. On Thursday, Laurie Mounts declined to comment and referred questions to their attorney.
The restaurant is being represented by George Goodman, of the Newberg firm Cummings Goodman Denley & Vickers. On its website, the firm says it has over 20 years of experience representing clients fighting OSHA citations in the Northwest and across the country.
Reached by phone Thursday, Goodman said he typically doesn’t discuss cases that are in litigation. He did say that OSHA issued Casey’s what is known as a red tag warning, which is typically associated with shutting down a business due to an imminent danger that people may get sick or injured.
“I have seen no other cases in Oregon where they issued a red tag like this. It’s very unusual,” Goodman said.
In the appeal, Casey’s challenged the validity of the fines and denied it violated any laws.
“The reason for this appeal is that the Employer contests the validity of each and every violation and penalty contained in the above-captioned citation. The Employer also denies the assertion that there was any violation of the Oregon Safe Employment Act in this matter,” the appeal states.
Casey’s requested an informal conference “in an attempt to negotiate a possible settlement.”
A date for that conference has yet to be set.
According to OSHA guidelines: “Appeals are normally scheduled for an informal conference with an Oregon OSHA appeals specialist. During such conferences, the appeals specialist, the compliance officer, and the employer will discuss the issues in question. The appeals specialist has the authority to resolve the appealed citation. An employer who is not satisfied with the outcome of the informal conference may further pursue their appeal before an administrative law judge of the Workers’ Compensation Board.”
Casey’s is backed by a legion of supporters in its fight against the citation and fines.
On May 28, the Mounts’ opened a GoFundMe account, seeking $14,000 to help pay legal fees in its fight against the fines.
“To our customers and supporters, it has come to our attention that many of you would like to stand side by side with us to uphold our freedom and constitutional rights,” the Mounts wrote on the GoFundMe page. “As you all may know, we chose to open our restaurant outside of Governor Kate Brown’s executive order. We want you all to know that we did not have any malicious intentions. Rather, we wish to support our employees, customers, business and rights. We have been fined $14,000 by OSHA. We have made a GoFundMe for our customers to show the love and support that they’ve been begging to give us.”
Within a couple of days, the account had raised more than $8,000. As of Thursday afternoon the restaurant had raised $13,278 from 178 donors.