Judge Dismisses Lawsuits Between City and Local Bar, Ending 2-Year COVID Battle

Copy
facebooktwitterlinkedintelegram
Judge Dismisses Lawsuits Between City and Local Bar, Ending 2-Year COVID Battle

The shuttered Tinhorn Flats Saloon and Grill in Burbank, Calif., on August 25, 2022. (Jill McLaughlin/The Epoch Times)

Jill McLaughlin

Jill McLaughlin

11/22/2023

Updated: 12/30/2023

BURBANK, Calif.—A two-year legal battle between the City of Burbank and a popular Western-themed restaurant and bar shut down by authorities during the COVID-19 pandemic has concluded after a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge recently dismissed all remaining claims from both sides.
The Tinhorn Flats Saloon and Grill on Magnolia Boulevard was a local favorite before it was forced to close and fined several hundred thousand dollars by the city and Los Angeles County during the pandemic.
Former owner Baret Lepejian and his two children operated the bar at the time.
The family countersued after the city filed a lawsuit against the business, claiming the city violated its First Amendment rights by retaliating against the owners for not shutting down.
The city’s lawsuit claimed the business was a public nuisance after the family ignored a $50,000 fine for defying pandemic lockdown orders and staying open.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Armen Tamzarian dismissed the bar’s lawsuit Nov. 7 saying there was a lack of objective evidence that the city acted in a retaliatory way when enforcing its health and zoning laws.
The shuttered Tinhorn Flats Saloon and Grill in Burbank, Calif., on August 25, 2022. (Jill McLaughlin/The Epoch Times)

The shuttered Tinhorn Flats Saloon and Grill in Burbank, Calif., on August 25, 2022. (Jill McLaughlin/The Epoch Times)

The judge also dismissed the city’s lawsuit as moot because of the bar’s closure and the sale of the property, Burbank city officials said in a Nov. 13 press release.
The former owners celebrated the ruling on Tinhorn Flats Saloon’s Instagram page.
“This week all charges against Tinhorn Flats were dropped, which included hundreds of thousands $$$$ in ‘fines,’” the former owner posted.
The former owner also posted that the business will not reopen, saying the “damage was done and [the] property was illegally sold.”
In addition to city actions, the Los Angeles County Health Department cited the business 40 times and later erected a fence around the property after bar owners continued to serve diners, even though the city had revoked its health and zoning permits.
The county also disconnected the bar’s electricity in March 2021, before locking the doors. The owners were evicted in 2021 by the former owner’s ex-wife who assumed ownership.
The owner’s son, Lucas Lepejian, was arrested three times for allegedly returning to the bar in violation of the city’s restraining order.
Mr. Lepejian’s ex-wife, Isabelle Lepejian reclaimed the property after it was closed and later sold it to Old Fashioned Investment, LLC in November 2022.
Mr. Lepejian and his children Lucas Lepejian and Talya Lepejian have moved out of state, the son told The Epoch Times in August 2022.
The shuttered Tinhorn Flats Saloon and Grill in Burbank, Calif., on Nov. 21, 2023. (Jill McLaughlin/The Epoch Times)

The shuttered Tinhorn Flats Saloon and Grill in Burbank, Calif., on Nov. 21, 2023. (Jill McLaughlin/The Epoch Times)

Jill McLaughlin

Jill McLaughlin

Author

Jill McLaughlin is an award-winning journalist covering politics, environment, and statewide issues. She has been a reporter and editor for newspapers in Oregon, Nevada, and New Mexico. Jill was born in Yosemite National Park and enjoys the majestic outdoors, traveling, golfing, and hiking.

Author's Selected Articles
California Insider
Sign up here for our email newsletter!
©2024 California Insider All Rights Reserved. California Insider is a part of Epoch Media Group.