An attorney for the chiropractor has said that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration has repeatedly flouted state law.
A Michigan chiropractor has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), alleging that the state’s latest mask mandate is unlawful.
According to MLive.com, Michigan DHHS Director Robert Gordon recently issued a state-wide mask mandate. Gordon’s order came shortly after many of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive actions on coronavirus were invalidated by the state supreme court.
State law, says MLive.com, gives the Department of Health and Human Services the authority to “prohibit the gathering of people” and “establish procedures” during an epidemic.
However, Semlow Peak Performance Chiropractic in Grand Haven, Michigan, has filed a lawsuit against the state.
Earlier this month, Semlow was served a cease-and-desist order by Ottawa County for not enforcing mandatory mask requirements. An attorney for the business, David Kallman, called the county’s order a form of “overreach.”
“It’s an overreach by the state government,” Kallman told MLive.com. “It’s an abuse of power by mandating all kinds of things that the law doesn’t allow.”
Kristina Wieghmink, a spokesperson for the Ottawa County Department of Public Health, said that Semlow Peak Performance Chiropractic has been violating Michigan’s mask mandates for months. According to Wieghmink, the county’s been receiving complaints about Semlow since July.
Wieghmink also stated that, contrary to Kallman’s claim that Semlow was “shut down without warning,” the department had sent the business numerous emails about its noncompliance.
Grand Haven police were later forced to visit Semlow after the chiropractic office refused to cooperate; staff on-site purportedly told officers they were not planning to change their coronavirus-mitigation strategy, or lack thereof.
Semlow later sent an email to the Ottawa County Department of Public Health, in which an individual—presumably the owner—called Public Health officials “terrorists,” and accused them of threatening the business’s economic well-being.
MLive.com notes that this is not the first such case Kallman has worked.
Earlier this year, Kallman represented Owosso-area barber Karl Manke in a suit against the state. Michigan had issued several citations against Manke and attempted to strip him of his barber’s license for running a non-essential business at a time when Gov. Whitmer’s executive orders explicitly prohibited doing so.
Kallman said that, although Michigan is clearly facing an epidemic, the extent of Gordon and the DHHS’s powers needs clarification.
“Where does he get the authority to require masks? Where does he get authority to require contact tracing?” Kallman asked. “He doesn’t have the authority to do any of that stuff. He has the authority to prohibit gatherings. Period. That’s it.”
Kallman suggested that Robert’s mask mandates are an example of Gov. Whitmer’s administration trying to flout the supreme court’s recent ruling.
In the justices’ 4-3 majority opinion, they recommended that Whitmer try to work with the state
“So what does she do?” Kallman asked. “She ignores it. She just thumbs her nose at the Supreme Court and says, ‘I don’t care, I’m just going to keep doing things unilaterally the way I want to do them.”
However, Kallman was seemingly keen to show that he is not trying to downplay the severity of the novel coronavirus outbreak—rather, he only wants to keep public officials accountable to the rule of law.
“People think I’m anti-mask or something or I’m anti-people-being-safe,” he said. “That is not the issue, here [sic]. Things need to be done correctly, legally.”
“[Whitmer] needs to follow the law,” Kallman added. “That’s all we’re saying.”