West Michigan lawsuits first to challenge new epidemic orders on masks, gatherings – The Detroit News

22October 2020

Two claims originating in Ottawa County seem the first to challenge the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services' epidemic orders on gathering guidelines and mask use.

The epidemic orders mainly have replaced some of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's executive orders, which were reversed Oct. 2 by the Michigan Supreme Court.

On Friday, a Hudsonville Christian school called Libertas Classical Association filed suit in Michigan's Western U.S. District Court, declaring its humans rights were breached when the county health department threatened to shut the school since of infractions of the state's mask required and event limitations.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer wears a mask on the campaign trail on Oct. 18, 2020 in West Bloomfield. A West Michigan school and chiropractor have separately sued in federal court to undo epidemic orders involving a mask mandate and other rules by Whitmer's Health and Human Services Department.

On Wednesday, a Grand Haven chiropractic doctor's workplace submitted fit in the Michigan Court of Claims, arguing that the department's mask required surpassed what orders it is allowed to release under

state law. Both the school and Semlow Peak Performance Chiropractic have actually been served cease-and-desist letters from the Ottawa County Health Department in recent weeks. The chiropractic specialist's lawsuit was appointed to Court of Claims Chief Judge Christopher Murray, an appointee of former Republican Gov. John Engler. The school's claim was assigned to U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney, who was chosen by Republican previous President George W. Bush and whose demand to the Michigan Supreme Court in a different case led to the turmoil of the guv's emergency situation orders.

The Department of Health and Human Services has not been served with the complaints but is “confident that the order is legal,” spokeswoman stated Thursday.

“Director Robert Gordon issued the order under a various law than the law invalidated by the Michigan Supreme Court,”Health and Human Services spokeswoman Lynn Sutfin stated.”The law under which Director Gordon acted was enacted by the Michigan Legislature specifically to deal with upsurges.”

The claims challenging the state's epidemic orders come as the Michigan Health and Hospital Association announced, no matter whatever laws or rules remain in location, health centers across Michigan will observe and need mask usage, entrance screenings and constraints.

Libertas Christian School in Hudsonville received a cease and desist order dated Oct. 6 from the Ottawa County Health Department after it stopped working to comply with gathering limitations and face mask requirements required under the state health department's epidemic orders. The order came a day after the Department of Health and Human Services released its mask mandate.

The offenses could be treated as a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in prison and other fines, the health department said. It also threatened to report the noncompliance to the Michigan Department of Education “for follow up sanctions.”

The school argues in its suit that it has increased cleaning at its centers, motivated hand cleaning, made masks and hand sanitizer offered, and executed treatments needing ill or exposed kids to stay home.

Furthermore, the school has actually executed “prayer, fasting, almsgiving and traditional spiritual aids to combat illness.”

No trainees at the school have actually ended up being ill or tested positive for the infection considering that it started running under its own protocols on Sept. 8, the suit said.

The school stated the health department's primary locations of issue consisted of the school's “early morning worship assembly” or “morning chapel.”

In addition, the order requiring instructors and trainees to wear masks amounts to a “capricious mandate” that is not moneyed by the state. In fact, the lawsuit notes, the state has actually tried to block financing through a suit tough federal guidelines that would provide direct coronavirus aid to independent schools.

“Closing Libertas would ultimately reject Libertas, its instructors, its trainees and their households the opportunity to take part in religious and biblical education, practice and worship in an integrated method,” the lawsuit stated.

The litigation argues the health department's cease-and-desist order and the state's epidemic orders that underpin it broke the school and its trainees' right to liberty of association, due process, Michigan's separation of powers teaching, religious liberty and the civil right to household integrity and education.

In the Grand Haven case, chiropractor Kirk Semlow also received a cease-and-desist order from the Ottawa County Health Department dated Oct. 6.

The department alerted Semlow that if he failed to enforce the mask required in his office, he could face a misdemeanor, the closure of his service or licensing sanctions through the Michigan Licensing and Regulatory Affairs firm.

Neither the state nor county health department has the power to require face masks, the lawsuit said. It argued that the departments' authority was restricted instead to the restriction of the gathering of people and treatments intending to “guarantee the extension of vital public health services.”

The fast addition of more rules by state firms produces “a legal minefield for well-intentioned businesses,” the chiropractor's lawyers stated.

“Defendants are unlawfully broadening their authority to now consist of needing face coverings, contact tracing, data collection requirements of companies, restricting the sale of concessions at sporting events, and many other requirements beyond the scope of their statutory authority,” the lawsuit stated.

The claim by Semlow also looks for a judgment on orders prohibiting the sale of concessions at sporting occasions and needing organizations to collect client details for contact tracing.

eleblanc@detroitnews.com!.?.!Source: detroitnews.com

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