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A group of 35 Bakersfield-area restaurant owners filed suit in Kern County Superior Court Wednesday accusing Gov. Gavin Newsom and four other top state officials of exceeding their authority by restricting their business operations during the pandemic.

As a legal remedy, the suit calls for stopping the state from banning outdoor service and allowing restaurants to offer indoor dining at up to 25 percent of their capacity or not more than 100 people “if the restaurant complies with all other regulations such as masking and distancing.”

A key accusation in the lawsuit is that the state essentially took the defendants’ property — their businesses — without offering fair compensation.

“It’s confiscation. I call it legal extortion,” said Tom Anton, the attorney who filed the suit Wednesday afternoon on the restaurant owners’ behalf.

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