(The Center Square) – A medical center filed a lawsuit in the Court of Claims, targeting Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration’s statewide mask mandate.
The Ottawa County Department of Public Health issued a cease-and-desist order to Grand Haven-based Semlow Peak Performance Chiropractic. The order seeks compliance with an Oct. 5 Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) emergency order issued by Director Robert Gordon.
The cease-and-desist order is dated Oct. 6 but wasn’t served until Oct. 16, alleging that the center is not complying with the mask mandate.
A second emergency order superseded Gordon’s Oct. 5th order on Oct 9.
The lawsuit argues the 1978 law cited by Gordon authorizes him to “prohibit the gathering of people for any purpose” and to “establish procedures … to insure continuation of essential public health services,” but gives no authority to require masks at private businesses.
Dr. Kirk J. Semlow, owner and operator of Semlow Chiropractic, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief against the order’s enforcement.
The Michigan Supreme Court on Oct. 2 ruled Whitmer’s executive orders after April 30 were unconstitutional and recommended Whitmer and the legislature work together to protect Michiganders from COVID-19.
Since then, Whitmer has turned to a backup source of power, including MDHHS, to issue and enforce her now-void orders.
In a news release, the doctor argued Whitmer and the legislature should work together to protect Michiganders.
“The Supreme Court has ruled and the Governor should comply with its ruling. We live in a representative republic and are not ruled by one person. My business is not a health threat to anyone, and we take appropriate precautions in providing our services to patients,” Semlow said in a statement.
Lansing attorney David A. Kallman is representing Semlow.
“It appears we once again have to request that our courts uphold our clients’ legal rights. These further attempts to shut down Michigan businesses is out of line. Dr. Semlow’s business is not a threat to the public’s health, safety, or welfare,” Kallman said in a statement.
“He will fight to uphold the rule of law and restore good governance in Michigan. We call on Governor Whitmer to comply with the Supreme Court’s ruling and work with the Legislature to adopt an appropriate COVID-19 plan.”
The lawsuit was announced Wednesday, the same day Whitmer and other state officials “sounded the alarm bells” about rising rates of COVID-19 as winter draws near and Michiganders spend more time inside, where it’s more likely to spread the respiratory virus.
State officials encouraged Michiganders to wear masks while inside with people outside immediate family, and even when dining-in at restaurants before and after eating.