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

22October 2020

Two suits originating in Ottawa County seem the very first to challenge the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services' epidemic orders on event rules and mask usage.

The epidemic orders largely have actually taken the place of a few 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 submitted fit in Michigan's Western U.S. District Court, declaring its civil liberties were broken when the county health department threatened to shut the school since of violations of the state's mask required and event restrictions.

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 practitioner's office submitted match in the Michigan Court of Claims, arguing that the department's mask required exceeded what orders it is allowed to provide 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 suit 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 former President George W. Bush and whose demand to the Michigan Supreme Court in a different case led to the turmoil of the governor's emergency orders.

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

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

The claims challenging the state's epidemic orders come as the Michigan Health and Hospital Association revealed, regardless of whatever laws or rules are in place, hospitals across Michigan will observe and require mask usage, entrance screenings and constraints.

Libertas Christian School in Hudsonville got a stop and desist order dated Oct. 6 from the Ottawa County Health Department after it stopped working to adhere to event constraints and face mask requirements needed under the state health department's epidemic orders. The order came a day after the Department of Health and Human Services released its mask required.

The offenses could be dealt with as a misdemeanor punishable by approximately six 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 claim that it has actually increased cleansing at its facilities, encouraged hand cleaning, made masks and hand sanitizer available, and implemented procedures requiring sick or exposed kids to stay at home.

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

No trainees at the school have actually become ill or tested favorable for the virus because it began running under its own protocols on Sept. 8, the suit stated.

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

In addition, the order requiring teachers and trainees to wear masks total up to a “capricious required” that is not moneyed by the state. In fact, the lawsuit notes, the state has attempted to obstruct funding through a lawsuit tough federal guidelines that would provide direct coronavirus aid to private schools.

“Closing Libertas would ultimately deny Libertas, its instructors, its trainees and their households the chance to engage in spiritual and biblical education, practice and praise in an integrated way,” the suit said.

The lawsuits argues the health department's cease-and-desist order and the state's epidemic orders that underpin it breached the school and its students' right to liberty of association, due procedure, Michigan's separation of powers teaching, religious liberty and the civil right to household stability and education.

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

The department alerted Semlow that if he failed to implement the mask required in his office, he could face a misdemeanor, the closure of his organization 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 stated. It argued that the departments' authority was limited instead to the prohibition of the event of people and procedures intending to “insure the extension of vital public health services.”

The quick addition of more rules by state firms develops “a legal minefield for well-intentioned services,” the chiropractic doctor's lawyers said.

“Defendants are unlawfully expanding their authority to now include needing face coverings, contact tracing, data collection requirements of organizations, restricting the sale of concessions at sporting occasions, and numerous other requirements beyond the scope of their statutory authority,” the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit by Semlow also seeks a judgment on orders prohibiting the sale of concessions at sporting occasions and needing companies to gather customer details for contact tracing.

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

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