SANTA MONICA—Santa Monica Superior Court Judge Mark A. Young approved on Thursday, September 10 the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) by Culver City against the Los Angeles School of Gymnastics on Higuera Street.
The request was in relation to a lawsuit filed by Culver City on September 1 against Tanya Berenson, owner of the Los Angeles School of Gymnastics on Higuera Street, who has been accused of operating indoor classes/activities and violating local health orders.
Culver City requested the court to declare that the gym is a public nuisance and also is violating public health order. The city’s Temporary Restraining Order against the gym’s indoor operations will be effective until October 28, but the judge will hold another hearing and decide if it should be extended.
On September 3, Berenson said that she did not violate any local health orders and has conducted all sessions and classes outdoors, following Governor Gavin Newsom’s health orders issued in July.
“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,” said Berenson.
The city’s lawsuit notes that on July 13, Governor Newsom issued a health order that bans gyms’ all indoor operations. A week later, the city began allowing gyms to reopen outdoor operations on private property, subject to obtaining a temporary use permit from the city.
On July 21, the city started receiving “numerous complaints from parents, neighbors and employees that the Los Angeles School of Gymnastics and Berenson continued to operate indoors in alleged violation of the state, county and city orders prohibiting such activities.”
On July 22, Culver City Fire Department personnel went to the Los Angeles School of Gymnastics, but were told Berenson was not there. A gym staff member told the CCFD that she would follow the updated guidelines.
In late July, Berenson advised county health workers that the gym would move its operation outdoors by email and telephone.
On July 29, fire inspectors saw 10 children inside of the gym doing activity and another eight children being checked in to enter the indoor facility.
In early August, the city received more complaints about the gym, so the staff sent a “cease-and-desist letter” to the gym.
During a subsequent stop at the gym, the city fire inspector found that indoor classes were still ongoing and a gym staff member said it was because “a rattlesnake had been observed outside.”