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Case Name Korte v. United States Department of Health and Human Services FA-IL-0006
Docket / Court 3:12-cv-01072-MJR-PMF ( S.D. Ill. )
State/Territory Illinois
Case Type(s) Speech and Religious Freedom
Special Collection Contraception Insurance Mandate
Case Summary
On October 9, 2012, a family of Catholic business owners filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois under the First Amendment, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act ("RFRA"), and the Administrative Procedures Act ("APA"), against the U.S. Departments of ... read more >
On October 9, 2012, a family of Catholic business owners filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois 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 plaintiffs, represented by the American Center for Law & Justice, 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 10, the plaintiffs moved for partial summary judgment.

On December 14, 2012, the District Court (Judge Michael J. Reagan) denied the plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction, finding that indirect financial support of subjectively objectionable conduct was not a substantial burden on the plaintiffs' religious freedom. Korte v. DHHS, 2012 WL 6553996 (S.D. Ill. Dec. 14, 2012).

The plaintiffs appealed the preliminary injunction order to the 7th Circuit (Docket No. 12-03841). On December 28, 2012, District Court Judge Reagan granted the defendant departments' motion to stay the district court proceedings pending the 7th Circuit appeal. That same day, the 7th Circuit (Circuit Judges Joel M. Flaum and Diane S. Sykes, with Circuit Judge Ilana D. Rovner dissenting) granted the plaintiffs' emergency motion for an injunction pending appeal, finding that the coerced coverage of contraception imposed a substantial burden on the plaintiffs' religious freedom. Korte v. Sebelius, 2012 WL 6757353 (7th Cir. Dec. 28, 2012).

On January 30, 2013, the 7th Circuit consolidated the case with Grote v. Sebelius (FA-IN-0004) The 7th Circuit (Judges Flaum, Sykes, and Rovner) heard arguments in the case on May 22, 2013.

On November 8, 2013, the Seventh Circuit (Judge Sykes) held that both business owners and their companies may challenge the mandate and could state a valid claim under the RFRA. The Court reversed and remanded the case with instructions to enter preliminary injunctions barring enforcement of the contraception mandate against plaintiffs. Grote v. Sebelius, No. 12-3841, 2013 WL 5960692 (7th Cir. Nov. 8, 2013).

The government sought review in the Supreme Court, and on November 27, 2013, the case was stayed pending the Supreme Courts' decision in Hobby LobbyBurwell v. Hobby Lobby (also known as Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius) and Conestoga Wood Specialities Corps. The Hobby Lobby decision issued on June 30, 2014: In 5-4 opinion by Justice Alito, the Court held that the HHS regulations imposing the contraceptive mandate violate RFRA, when applied to closely-held for-profit corporations. (The Court emphasized, however, that alternative methods for meeting the government's asserted interest were available.) The next day, the Supreme Court denied the government's petition for review in this case.

On July 28, 2014, the District Court lifted the stay. On August 12, 2014, the Seventh Circuit (Judge Sykes) awarded the plaintiffs $578.80 in costs. On September 3, 2014, the District Court entered an order continuing the preliminary injunction, and on November 7, 2014, the Court granted the joint motion for summary judgment in favor of the plaintiffs on their RFRA claim, entered a permanent injunction against enforcement of the contraception services mandate as it existed in law and regulation on June 30, 2014, and dismissed all other claims against defendants. On February 26, 2015, the District Court entered judgment in favor of the plaintiffs, and noted that the parties had reached an independent settlement on attorneys' fees and costs.

Emma Lawton - 11/17/2013
Richard Jolly - 03/23/2014
Kate Craddock - 02/21/2016


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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 Business owners opposing the contraception coverage mandate under the Affordable Care Act for religious reasons.
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
Case Listing FA-IN-0004 : Grote Industries v. Sebelius (S.D. Ind.)
Docket(s)
3:12-cv-01072-MJR-PMF (S.D. Ill.) 02/26/2015
FA-IL-0006-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief 10/09/2012
FA-IL-0006-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum and Order 12/14/2012 (912 F.Supp.2d 735) (S.D. Ill.)
FA-IL-0006-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Granting Emergency Motion for Injunction Pending Appeal] 12/28/2012 (2012 WL 6757353)
FA-IL-0006-0007.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Court of Appeals Opinion 11/08/2013 (735 F.3d 654)
FA-IL-0006-0008.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: U.S. Court of Appeals website
Certiorari -- Summary Disposition 07/01/2014 (134 S.Ct. 2902)
FA-IL-0006-0009.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Supreme Court website
Order 08/12/2014
FA-IL-0006-0010.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order of Injunction 11/07/2014 (S.D. Ill.)
FA-IL-0006-0011.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judgment in a Civil Case 02/26/2015 (S.D. Ill.)
FA-IL-0006-0012.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Flaum, Joel Martin (Seventh Circuit, N.D. Ill.)
FA-IL-0006-0007 | FA-IL-0006-0008
Frazier, Philip M. (S.D. Ill.) [Magistrate]
FA-IL-0006-9000
Reagan, Michael Joseph (S.D. Ill.)
FA-IL-0006-0002 | FA-IL-0006-0011 | FA-IL-0006-0012 | FA-IL-0006-9000
Rovner, Ilana Kara Diamond (Seventh Circuit, N.D. Ill.)
FA-IL-0006-0007 | FA-IL-0006-0008
Sykes, Diane S. (Seventh Circuit)
FA-IL-0006-0007 | FA-IL-0006-0008 | FA-IL-0006-0010
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Manion, Frances J (Kentucky)
FA-IL-0006-0001 | FA-IL-0006-9000
Surtees, Geoffrey R. (Kentucky)
FA-IL-0006-0001 | FA-IL-0006-9000
White, Edward L. III (Michigan)
FA-IL-0006-0001 | FA-IL-0006-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Humphreys, Bradley Philip (District of Columbia)
FA-IL-0006-9000
Other Lawyers Amiri, Brigitte A. (New York)
FA-IL-0006-9000
Chaiten, Lorie (Illinois)
FA-IL-0006-9000
Clark, Stephan Robert (Missouri)
FA-IL-0006-9000
Dewart, Deborah Jane (North Carolina)
FA-IL-0006-9000
Kennedy, Thomas E. III (Illinois)
FA-IL-0006-9000
Navarro, Heather B. (Missouri)
FA-IL-0006-9000

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