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Hold Your Horses: A Delay in That Massage Case

I don't know why I'm so obsessed with that case involving a Maryland woman forbidden from massaging horses. Maybe it's because:

  1. I find massage a little funny.
  2. I find massaging horses a little funny.
  3. I find chiropracty a little funny.
  4. I find it a little funny that chiropractors would try to stop someone from massaging horses.

Oh, and also outrageous. I mean, when I sat in a Rockville courtroom last week it seemed pretty clear that the judge didn't have a problem with Mercedes Clemens massaging horses and that he expected the Maryland Board of Chiropractor Examiners, the group that sent her a cease-and-desist letter, to drop its opposition.

The board met yesterday in Baltimore but instead of rescinding the letter, it announced it would have a written statement forthcoming. No word on what "forthcoming" means. Possibly Monday.

That left Mercedes's lawyers, from the libertarian group Institute for Justice, to fume.

"We are extremely disappointed," Paul Sherman said. "We just don’t understand what there is left to debate. The board admitted in court it doesn’t have jurisdiction over animal massage. That should be the end of the matter.... Mercedes should not have to wait one more day to have this order rescinded."

Grant Gerber, the Maryland assistant attorney general representing the chiropractic group, said he had no comment. And Jim Vallone, head of the bone-benders, didn't return my call.

I could see this coming. My spidey-sense was tingling in the courtroom last week. There was just something about the way the Maryland Board of Chiropractor Examiners was presenting its case. For some reason Mercedes really got under their skin.

Those chiropractors sure seem to have a lot of built-up tension. Relax, guys. Get a massage.

By John Kelly  |  May 15, 2009; 8:37 AM ET
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