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Michigan medical groups sue Gov. Gretchen Whitmer over 'drastic' and 'unconstitutional' coronavirus lockdown

The lawsuit says CDC coronavirus projections were "grossly inaccurate."

Anthony Lanzilote/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Four Michigan medical providers and a patient seeking a knee surgery have filed a lawsuit against Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. The health care groups argue that Whitmer's executive order requiring Michigan citizens to stay at home is "drastic" and "unconstitutional."

The federal lawsuit was filed May 12 by Grand Health Partners in Grand Rapids, Wellston Medical Center in Wellston, Primary Health Services in Ludington, and Jeffery Gulick, a Michigan man seeking knee replacement surgery, according to MLive.

The lawsuit names Whitmer, as well as Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon. The lawsuit calls for the reopening of health care facilities for procedures that are currently deemed "nonessential."

"During a press conference on Monday, April 27, 2020, Governor Whitmer acknowledged that the curve has flattened in Michigan," the lawsuit filed by the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation and the Miller Johnson law firm said. "Graphics depicted that while Governor Whitmer's administration anticipated 220,000 patients being hospitalized without social distancing efforts, there had only been 3,000 hospitalizations as of April 27. That is less than 1.4% of the projected COVID-19 hospitalizations underlying the Governor's declared states of emergency and disaster."

Michigan currently has more than 48,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, seventh in the U.S., along with 4,714 COVID-19 deaths, fourth-highest in the country.

The lawsuit calls Centers for Disease Control forecasts of COVID-19 cases and deaths "grossly inaccurate." In March, the CDC projected that the number of nationwide infections would be between 160 million and 214 million, with deaths of between 200,000 and 1.7 million. More than 1.4 million coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the U.S., and 86,244 reported COVID-19 deaths.

"Meanwhile, medical providers are on the brink of financial ruin, facing extreme revenue shortages caused by the Governor's order forcing the postponement or cancellation of so-called 'non-essential' procedures," the lawsuit states. "Thousands of healthcare workers across Michigan have been furloughed or laid off."

"The executive orders are unconstitutionally vague; they violate procedural and substantive due process; and they violate the dormant commerce clause," the lawsuit says of Whitmer's state of emergency declaration.

Whitmer's shelter-in-place order started on March 24 and has been extended through May 28. Michigan manufacturing was allowed to resume on Monday.

Whitmer faced suits from the state House and Senate last week after she extended the stay-at-home order.

"Only the Legislature has the power to extend the state of emergency," Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield said.

"The Legislature is left with no choice but to seek the court's intervention to restore constitutional order," Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey stated.

Earlier this week, a Michigan circuit court judge denied a complaint by the Michigan Attorney General's Office to shut down a barbershop that was defying Whitmer's order. A Shiawassee County judge rejected the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services' request for a temporary restraining order to shut down 77-year-old barber Karl Manke.

On Wednesday, Michigan state regulators suspended Manke's license.

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