Ethical Massage

     I know it’s early, but I’ve come across a strong contender for Southern California Lawsuit of the Year.
     It’s a proposed class action against Allied Professional Insurance Company.
     “The class Plaintiff represents consists of massage therapists who, between December 21, 2008, and about February 22, 2011, were denied coverage, a defense and/or indemnity, by defendants, and each of them, for claims made by third persons against such class of massage therapists, which claims against Plaintiff and class members included negligence and/or mere allegations of sexual misconduct allegedly made during the provision of lawful massage services.”
     Yes, if you rub someone the wrong way, there may be no insurance coverage.
     So many questions.
     How, for example, does one negligently massage? Have you gone too far if you hear bones cracking? Is it the masseur’s fault if the massagee is unusually ticklish?
     And what exactly is sexual misconduct by a massage therapist?
     Isn’t a lawsuit just as likely if there’s no sexual misconduct? Could “misconduct” be defined as failing to offer sex?
     Disappointment can be very damaging to the psyche.
     What I most wondered about, though, is how often could massage therapists be sued. Is this so common that a therapist can’t be without insurance?
     I wouldn’t have thought so but the suit has a second defendant: The American Massage Council.
     Bet you didn’t know there was one of those.
     According to the suit, the Council claims that “with more than fifty years of combined experience in massage therapy defense, massage therapy practice management, massage therapy ethics and risk management, we will be there when you need us.”
     Massage therapy ethics?
     Is it improper to make claims about past massage successes?
     Is it a conflict of interest to massage parties who hate each other?
     Is it proper to share fees with another therapist brought in to complete a threesome?
     Does a masseur/masseuse who massages him/herself have a fool for a client?
     We need the Council to answer these questions.
     
     ANOTHER EXAMPLE. I’ve discovered another profession that could be an example for lawyers: dentistry.
     I realized this after spotting a billboard advertising “sleep dentistry.” The ad contained a series of bullet point advantages and one of them was “total memory loss.”
     Apparently you can get your teeth fixed and then begin a whole new life.
     I wasn’t sure this was a great selling point for people with toothaches, but it could be a great idea for lawyers.
     You put a distressed client to sleep for the years the litigation will take and then wake them up with no memory of any of it.
     Just make sure you get your fee up front.
     
     NO COURTS FOR GOVERNMENT. Here’s a concept you may not have considered before: all U. S. courts have a conflict of interest in cases involving the government because courts are part of and get paid by the government.
     Right?
     Well, maybe. But I do have an entertainment option for you (particularly those of you looking for something to do while suffering from insomnia). Check out this website: www.fulldisclosure.net.
     You’ll find hours of entertainment watching a surprisingly cheerful-looking old guy explaining how corrupt the bench is and how any judgment in L. A. Superior Court is void if it involved the county as a party.
     My favorite video so far is the one in which we learn how this Ph.D. and former prosecutor was tortured in jail. The torture – as related by the smiling, double-chinned guy fresh out of jail – includes leaving the lights on at night, “freezing” in temperatures in the 50s, and having to shower alone.
     And then there was the indignity of having to wear a red jumpsuit instead of an orange one.
     Really. I don’t make this stuff up.
     Expect the movie version soon.

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