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Case Name Wieland v. Sebelius FA-MO-0007
Docket / Court 4:13-cv-01577 ( E.D. Mo. )
State/Territory Missouri
Case Type(s) Speech and Religious Freedom
Special Collection Contraception Insurance Mandate
Case Summary
On August 14, 2013, private citizens filed a lawsuit in the Eastern District of Missouri against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Administrative Procedure Act and the First Amendment. The plaintiff, represented by the public interest ... read more >
On August 14, 2013, private citizens filed a lawsuit in the Eastern District of Missouri against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Administrative Procedure Act and the First Amendment. The plaintiff, represented by the public interest firm Thomas More Society, asked the court for an exception to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandate requiring employers to provide health insurance coverage of contraception. Due to the ACA mandate, the plaintiffs' employer, the State of Missouri, only offered a health insurance plan that includes contraception coverage. The plaintiffs claimed paying for this health insurance plan violated their Catholic religious beliefs and their right to family integrity.

On September 10, 2013, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss on the grounds that the plaintiffs do not have claim upon which relief can be granted. The defendants' motion argued that the ACA contraception mandate applies only to employers, not private individuals. Furthermore, defendants argued that if the government began allowing individual exceptions to certain aspects of insurance policies the group insurance model would fall apart.

On October 16, 2013, the court (Judge Jean C. Hamilton) granted defendant's motion to dismiss for lack of standing. The court found that because plaintiffs' alleged injuries were linked with the independent discretionary actions of the State and his health insurance provider, neither of which were parties to the action, plaintiffs alleged only indirect causation between the contraception mandate and their alleged injuries. Moreover, plaintiffs failed to demonstrate that an injunction of the governments' policy would alter the behavior of these third parties. These third parties would retrain discretion not to offer plaintiff a health plan that excludes contraception and abortion.

Plaintiffs appealed, and on July 20, 2015, the Court of Appeals reversed. In an opinion by Judge Wollman, the Court pointed out that prior to the enactment of the contraception mandate, the insurance provider and the state had been willing to offer the plaintiffs a contraceptive-free healthcare plan. It concluded that this was persuasive evidence that the insurance provider might well alter its policy if the plaintiffs succeeded on the merits of their claim, and therefore that the injury was not too speculative for adjudication. The case was remanded to the district court for decision on the merits.

Mallory Jones - 10/16/2013
Richard Jolly - 04/05/2014
- 07/21/2015


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Free Exercise Clause
Freedom of speech/association
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief denied
Defendant-type
Hospital/Health Department
Discrimination-basis
Religion discrimination
General
Contraception
Religious programs / policies
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Religious Freedom Rest. Act/Religious Land Use and Inst. Persons Act (RFRA/RLUIPA)
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. ยงยง 551 et seq.
Defendant(s) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
U.S. Department of Labor
U.S. Department of the Treasury
Plaintiff Description Private citizen seeking exemption from the ACA's mandate requiring contraception coverage from employers providing health insurance.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2013
Case Ongoing No
Docket(s)
4:13-cv-01577-JCH (E.D. Mo.) 11/22/2013
FA-MO-0007-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 08/14/2013
FA-MO-0007-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant's Motion to Dismiss 09/10/2013
FA-MO-0007-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant's Memorandum in Support of Motion to Dismiss 09/10/2013
FA-MO-0007-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum and Order 10/16/2013 (978 F.Supp.2d 1008) (E.D. Mo.)
FA-MO-0007-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
[Opinion] 07/20/2015 (793 F.3d 949)
FA-MO-0007-0005.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Hamilton, Jean Constance (E.D. Mo.)
FA-MO-0007-0004 | FA-MO-0007-9000
Wollman, Roger Leland (Eighth Circuit)
FA-MO-0007-0005
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Belz, Timothy (Missouri)
FA-MO-0007-0001 | FA-MO-0007-9000
Breen, Peter C. (Illinois)
FA-MO-0007-0001 | FA-MO-0007-9000
Brejcha, Thomas (Illinois)
FA-MO-0007-9000
White, Kevin E (Illinois)
FA-MO-0007-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Bennett, Michelle Renee (District of Columbia)
FA-MO-0007-0002 | FA-MO-0007-0003 | FA-MO-0007-9000
Callahan, Richard G. (Missouri)
FA-MO-0007-0002 | FA-MO-0007-0003
Delery, Stuart F. (District of Columbia)
FA-MO-0007-0002 | FA-MO-0007-0003
Lieber, Sheila M. (District of Columbia)
FA-MO-0007-0002 | FA-MO-0007-0003
Ricketts, Jennifer (District of Columbia)
FA-MO-0007-0002 | FA-MO-0007-0003
Other Lawyers None on record

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