BUFFALO, N.Y. — Athletes Unleashed owner Robby Dinero had been taking a grassroots approach in challenging the state's coronavirus restrictions: Hosting meetings and protests and tearing up fines in defiance of orders that include his gym be closed.

Dinero even told media last week he had no plans for a lawsuit but would be opening his business Monday. The attorney his corporation has since retained says plans change.

"Look at some of the people who have been interviewed in the media," Paul Cambria said. "They're desperate. They're losing their entire life savings and so on because of some of these orders and so that's kind of an emotional response. My discussion was, the only appropriate way to address this is in the courts."

Dinero did not open Monday but Cambria did file a lawsuit on behalf of the gym, naming Governor Cuomo, the state Department of Health and Empire State Development as defendants. The primary argument is that while the state Legislature did give the governor some limited authority to deliver directives to deal with that pandemic, there was no automatic extension of that power.

"Our position is that the authority was limited to 30 days and the Legislature has to weigh in on the validity and need and so on of these various measures," Cambria said.

He said the lawsuit does not directly address the $15,000 fine Dinero faces for violating state mask orders and gathering limits. Cambria said that is a civil process with the county health department that is just getting started.

"This action that we filed today is separate, however it could have an impact on that because if the courts agree that the authority of these orders expired after 30 days, that means that there was nothing to enforce when they went to the gym," he said.

The attorney said the COVID-19 restrictions have put many people out of business or out of work and all the lawmakers who they've elected to represent them should be taking part in making the decisions.