ACLU-MN sues state of Minnesota over unconstitutional massage therapist law

Affiliate: ACLU of Minnesota
November 15, 2007 12:00 am

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ACLU of Minnesota
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Saint Paul, Minn – The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota, on behalf of LaRae Lundeen Fjellman and Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals, filed a lawsuit today against the current and former Commissioners of Health for the state of Minnesota. In their lawsuit they allege that the Minnesota statute (§146A.08, subd. 1(d)) which prohibits alternative health care providers from engaging in acts of private, consensual, noncommercial marital and non-marital sex with a former client within two years of termination of the professional relationship violates the rights of privacy and equal protection guaranteed by the Minnesota and United States Constitutions.

The lawsuit also challenges the Minnesota statute (§146A.08, subd. 1(q)) that prohibits social contact and friendship between a massage professional and a client, saying that it is unconstitutionally overbroad and vague. The law is so broad it might even prohibit a massage professional from accepting tips from or exchanging gifts with a client.

The lawsuit asks the court to rule that the law is unconstitutional, enjoin the state from enforcing the law in the future, and award damages to Mrs. Fjellman to compensate her for the ordeal she was put through while being investigated by the Department of Health. Mrs. Fjellman was disciplined for entering into a personal relationship and marrying a former client within two years of ending their professional relationship. The discipline was eventually rescinded, but not before Mrs. Fjellman was humiliated in her community, and forced to pay thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees defending her constitutional rights.

“The ACLU-MN is filing this lawsuit to prevent others from being subjected to the same fate as Mrs. Fjellman” says Executive Director Charles Samuelson.

Volunteer attorneys in this case are Robin Wolpert and Mark Johnson of Greene and Espel, P.L.L.P. This complaint can be found online at:

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