Bruce Rosen

Bruce Rosen Tells NJ Is in Tight Spot Over Theaters’ COVID Suit

The state of New Jersey could have a tough time defending a suit by major movie theatre chains over COVID-19 restrictions that bar their reopening, according to Bruce S. Rosen.

Bruce, a MARC partner, was quoted on July 7, 2020 in an story on the suit filed in federal court in Trenton against NJ Gov. Phil Murphy and Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. 

The plaintiffs say the state is violating their First Amendment rights by allowing some establishments, such as churches, to remain open while not permitting theaters to do so. The plaintiffs also contend that their equal protection and due process rights have been trampled on and that New Jersey’s action constitutes a taking of property without just compensation.

Bruce was quoted in the article as saying, “I don’t know how a court could rule against this with a straight face.” He added, “There are many, many cases saying you cannot treat religious interests differently than secular interests. Why wouldn’t the inverse be true?”

He said a religious institution’s First Amendment rights don’t outweigh those of a business, especially one with First Amendment protection.

The plaintiffs include the National Association of Theatre Owners; the National Association of Theatre Owners of New Jersey; American Multi-Cinema, Inc.; Cinemark USA, Inc.; Regal Cinemas, Inc.; BJK Entertainment, Inc.; Bow Tie Cinemas, LLC; and Community Theaters LLC. The represent theaters across the state.

Read the article here.


Bruce is a media and commercial litigator, and previously was an award-winning newspaper reporter and editor. He has long been associated with high-profile, free-speech litigation.

He also has extensive experience in complex and standard commercial litigation, including employment, environmental, contract, land use and minority shareholder matters.

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