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Case Name O'Brien v. HHS FA-MO-0006
Docket / Court 4:12-cv-00476-CEJ ( E.D. Mo. )
State/Territory Missouri
Case Type(s) Speech and Religious Freedom
Special Collection Contraception Insurance Mandate
Case Summary
On March 15, 2012, a Catholic business owner filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri under the First Amendment, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act ("RFRA"), and the Administrative Procedures Act ("APA"), against the U.S. Departments of Health and Human ... read more >
On March 15, 2012, a Catholic business owner filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri under the First Amendment, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act ("RFRA"), and the Administrative Procedures Act ("APA"), against the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and the Treasury. The plaintiff, represented by the American Center for Law & Justice and the Fidelis Center for Law and Policy, asked the court for both declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging that federal rules adopted pursuant to the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ("ACA") violated his religious freedom by requiring him to provide coverage for contraception through his business's group health insurance plan. Claiming that providing coverage for contraception would both contravene his Christian faith and compel speech contrary to his beliefs, the plaintiff sought an exemption from the ACA's contraception mandate for himself and other institutions with similar religious objections.

On May 21, 2012, the defendants moved to dismiss the case. The defendants argued that the plaintiff had not alleged any imminent injury, and that he thus lacked standing and had failed to state a legitimate claim. On June 11, 2012, the plaintiff filed an amended complaint, with additional facts supporting his allegation of imminent injury. The defendants moved to dismiss this amended complaint on the same grounds as the original complaint.

On September 28, 2012, the District Court (Judge Carol E. Jackson) granted the defendants' motion to dismiss the case for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. Judge Jackson found that the contraceptive coverage mandate did not impose a substantial burden on the plaintiff's religious freedom, nor did it compel the plaintiff to speak, to subsidize speech, or to subsidize expressive conduct. O'Brien v. DHHS, 894 F. Supp. 2d 1149 (E.D. Mo. 2012).

The plaintiff appealed this dismissal to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals (Docket No. 12-3357) and moved for an injunction pending appeal. On November 28, the 8th Circuit (unsigned, with Circuit Judge Morris S. Arnold dissenting) granted a stay pending appeal, without comment. Judges William Jay Riley, Steven M. Colloton, Jane Kelly heard oral argument on October 24, 2013. The appeal is ongoing as of April 5, 2014.

Hannah Swanson - 05/27/2013
Mallory Jones - 11/26/2013
Richard Jolly - 04/05/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Free Exercise Clause
Freedom of speech/association
Defendant-type
Hospital/Health Department
Discrimination-basis
Religion discrimination
General
Contraception
Religious programs / policies
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Non-government for profit
Causes of Action Religious Freedom Rest. Act/Religious Land Use and Inst. Persons Act (RFRA/RLUIPA)
Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. ยงยง 551 et seq.
Defendant(s) U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services
U.S. Dept. of Labor
U.S. Dept. of the Treasury
Plaintiff Description Plaintiffs are business owners who oppose the use of contraception for religious reasons, and therefore object to the contraception mandate in the ACA.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
None
Source of Relief None
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2012
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing FA-MN-0005 : The QC Group, Inc. v. Sebelius (D. Minn.)
FA-MO-0008 : Bick Holdings Inc. v. Sebelius (E.D. Mo.)
Docket(s)
4:12-cv-476 (E.D. Mo.) 10/11/2012
FA-MO-0006-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 03/15/2012
FA-MO-0006-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint 06/11/2012
FA-MO-0006-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Brief of the Amici Curiae American Civil Liberties Union and American Civil Liberties of Eastern Missouri in Support of Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint 08/15/2012
FA-MO-0006-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Memorandum in Support of Preliminary Injunction 08/23/2012
FA-MO-0006-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum and Order 09/28/2012 (894 F.Supp.2d 1149) (E.D. Mo.)
FA-MO-0006-0005.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Oral Argument Access 10/24/2013
FA-MO-0006-0006.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Jackson, Carol E. (E.D. Mo.) [Magistrate]
FA-MO-0006-0005 | FA-MO-0006-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Gillen, Patrick T. (Florida)
FA-MO-0006-0001 | FA-MO-0006-0002 | FA-MO-0006-0003 | FA-MO-0006-9000
Manion, Frances J (Kentucky)
FA-MO-0006-0001 | FA-MO-0006-0002 | FA-MO-0006-0003 | FA-MO-0006-0006 | FA-MO-0006-9000
Surtees, Geoffrey R. (Kentucky)
FA-MO-0006-0001 | FA-MO-0006-0002 | FA-MO-0006-0003 | FA-MO-0006-9000
White, Edward L. III (Michigan)
FA-MO-0006-0001 | FA-MO-0006-0002 | FA-MO-0006-0003 | FA-MO-0006-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Bennett, Michelle Renee (District of Columbia)
FA-MO-0006-9000
Jed, Adam C. (District of Columbia)
FA-MO-0006-0006
Other Lawyers Amiri, Brigitte A. (New York)
FA-MO-0006-0004 | FA-MO-0006-9000
Doty, Grant R. (Missouri)
FA-MO-0006-0004 | FA-MO-0006-9000
Rothert, Anthony E. (Missouri)
FA-MO-0006-0004 | FA-MO-0006-9000

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