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Case Name Weingartz Supply Co. v. Sebelius FA-MI-0006
Docket / Court 2:12-cv-12061-RHC-MJH ( E.D. Mich. )
State/Territory Michigan
Case Type(s) Speech and Religious Freedom
Special Collection Contraception Insurance Mandate
Case Summary
On May 7, 2012, an organization of Catholic business owners (Legatus) and one of its member businesses (Weingartz Supply Co.) filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. The plaintiffs sued the federal government under the First Amendment, the Religious ... read more >
On May 7, 2012, an organization of Catholic business owners (Legatus) and one of its member businesses (Weingartz Supply Co.) filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. The plaintiffs sued the federal government under the First Amendment, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act ("RFRA"), and the Administrative Procedures Act ("APA"). The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel and the Thomas More Law Center, 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 their religious freedom by requiring them to provide coverage for contraception through their companies' group health insurance plans. Claiming that providing contraceptive coverage would contravene their Catholic faith, the plaintiffs sought an exemption from the ACA's contraception mandate for themselves and other business owners with similar religious objections.

On October 31, 2012, the District Court (Judge Robert H. Cleland) granted plaintiff Weingartz Supply Co.'s motion for a preliminary injunction, finding that the contraception mandate substantially burdened the plaintiff's religious freedom. Judge Cleland denied plaintiff Legatus's injunction motion, finding that Legatus qualified for the enforcement safe harbor period and thus had not alleged a concrete and imminent harm. Judge Cleland also instructed the defendants to report monthly on the status of their ongoing rulemaking process. Legatus v. Sebelius, 901 F. Supp. 2d 980 (E.D. Mich. 2012).

The government appealed the Weingartz Supply Co. preliminary injunction order to the Sixth Circuit (Docket No. 13-01092). Plaintiff Legatus appealed its injunction denial to the Sixth Circuit (Docket No. 13-01093). The 6th Circuit consolidated the two appeals. On January 31, 2013, District Court Judge Cleland granted the the government's motion to stay the district court proceedings pending the Sixth Circuit appeals.

The Government published the amended final regulations of the ACA on July 2, 2013. Plaintiffs Legatus voluntarily dismissed its Sixth Circuit appeal and on August 9, 2013, the court lifted the stay and reopened the case with respect to Legatus and the government. On August 30, 2013, Legatus amended its complaint to challenge the updated regulations enforcing the contraception mandate. Legatus argued that the accommodations put forth in the amended regulation required the plaintiffs to provide self-certification to their insurance provider setting forth their religious objections, which in turn triggers an obligation on the part of the insurance provider to procure the services Legatus finds objectionable. Legatus is, thus, the but-for cause of providing contraception coverage. Legatus asked the court to grant a preliminary and permanent injunction against enforcement of the relevant provisions of the ACA.

On December 20, 2013, the District Court (Judge Robert H. Cleland) granted Legatus' motion for preliminary injunction. The court found that the government's proffered compelling interests of promoting public health generally and promoting gender equality, while perhaps compelling in other circumstances, were not directly related to promoting the specific interests asserted in this litigation. Likewise, the contraception mandate was not the least restrictive means of furthering that interest. Finally, the court recognized that a failure to grant a preliminary injunction would result in irreparable harm to Legatus.

On February 12, 2014, the government moved for interlocutory appeal of the district court's ruling. On May 5, 2014, the Sixth Circuit granted the the government's interlocutory appeal to consolidate this case with Ave Maria Foundation v. Sebelius and to hold briefing in abeyance pending the resolution of Catholic Diocese of Nashville v. Sebelius , No. 13-6440 and Michigan Catholic Conference v. Sebelius , No. 13-2373. The appeal to the Sixth Circuit has been held in abeyance since that time.

On December 31, 2014, following the Supreme Court decision in Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius, the District Court entered an injunction and judgment in favor of plaintiff Weingartz Supply Co. and owner Daniel Weingartz. The injunction prevented the government from enforcing the contraceptive coverage mandate as it existed on June 30, 2014, against Weingartz, and directed the parties to come to an agreement on attorneys' fees and costs. The ruling did not impact plaintiff Legatus' claims. On April 15, 2015, plaintiff Weingartz reached a settlement with defendants on attorney's fees and costs. As of February 29, 2016, plaintiff Legatus has not filed any further motions.

Hannah Swanson - 05/27/2013
Mallory Jones - 11/26/2013
Kate Craddock - 02/29/2016


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Establishment Clause
Free Exercise Clause
Freedom of speech/association
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief denied
Preliminary relief granted
Defendant-type
Hospital/Health Department
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-basis
Religion discrimination
General
Abortion
Contraception
Religious programs / policies
Plaintiff Type
Closely-held (for profit) corporation
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 Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Settlement
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
2:12-cv-12061 (E.D. Mich.) 04/15/2015
FA-MI-0006-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 05/07/2012
FA-MI-0006-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Notice of Motion and Brief for Temporary Restraining Order 07/25/2012
FA-MI-0006-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Motion and Brief for Preliminary Injunction Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 65(a) 08/15/2012
FA-MI-0006-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amici Curiae Brief of the American Civil Liberties Union and the American Civil Liberties Fund of Michigan in Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction 09/17/2012
FA-MI-0006-0006.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Attorney General Bill Schuette's Amicus Brief in Support of Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction 09/28/2012
FA-MI-0006-0007.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Daniel Weingartz and Weingartz Supply Company's Motion for Preliminary Injunction and Denying Without Prejudice Plaintiff Legatus's Motion for Preliminary Injunction 10/31/2012 (E.D. Mich.)
FA-MI-0006-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Stay of District Court Proceedings and Administratively Closing Case 01/31/2013 (E.D. Mich.)
FA-MI-0006-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 08/14/2013
FA-MI-0006-0008.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint 08/30/2013
FA-MI-0006-0009.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order and Opinion Granting Plaintiff Legatus' Motion for Preliminary Injunction 12/20/2013 (988 F.Supp.2d 794) (E.D. Mich.)
FA-MI-0006-0010.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Injunction and Judgment as to Plaintiffs Weingartz Supply Company and Daniel Weingartz 12/31/2014 (E.D. Mich.)
FA-MI-0006-0011.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Cleland, Robert Hardy (E.D. Mich.)
FA-MI-0006-0004 | FA-MI-0006-0005 | FA-MI-0006-0010 | FA-MI-0006-0011 | FA-MI-0006-9000
Hluchaniuk, Michael J. (E.D. Mich.) [Magistrate]
FA-MI-0006-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers LiMandri, Charles Salvatore (California)
FA-MI-0006-0001
Mendoza, Teresa (California)
FA-MI-0006-0001
Mersino, Erin Elizabeth (Michigan)
FA-MI-0006-0001 | FA-MI-0006-0002 | FA-MI-0006-0003 | FA-MI-0006-0009 | FA-MI-0006-9000
Thompson, Richard (Michigan)
FA-MI-0006-0001 | FA-MI-0006-0003 | FA-MI-0006-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Bennett, Michelle Renee (District of Columbia)
FA-MI-0006-9000
Davis, Ethan P. (District of Columbia)
FA-MI-0006-9000
Other Lawyers Amiri, Brigitte A. (New York)
FA-MI-0006-0006 | FA-MI-0006-9000
Bursch, John J. (Michigan)
FA-MI-0006-0007
Davis, Robert C. (Michigan)
FA-MI-0006-9000
Mehta, Sarah L. (Michigan)
FA-MI-0006-0006 | FA-MI-0006-9000
Moss, Kary L. (Michigan)
FA-MI-0006-0006
Restuccia, B. Eric (Michigan)
FA-MI-0006-0007 | FA-MI-0006-9000
Schuette, Bill (Michigan)
FA-MI-0006-0007
Steinberg, Michael J. (Michigan)
FA-MI-0006-0006 | FA-MI-0006-9000

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