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Case Name SMA LLC v. Sebelius FA-MN-0004
Docket / Court 0:13-cv-01375-ADM-LIB ( D. Minn. )
State/Territory Minnesota
Case Type(s) Speech and Religious Freedom
Special Collection Contraception Insurance Mandate
Case Summary
On June 7, 2013, the Catholic owners of a company filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of Minnesota under the First and Fifth Amendments, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), and the Administrative Procedures Act (APA), against the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, ... read more >
On June 7, 2013, the Catholic owners of a company filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of Minnesota under the First and Fifth Amendments, 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, and the Internal Revenue Service. The plaintiff, represented by Mohrman & Kaardal P.A., asked the court for both declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging the federal rules adopted pursuant to the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) violated its religious freedom by requiring it to provide employee insurance coverage for contraception through its group health insurance plan. Claiming that providing coverage for contraception would contravene their religious faith and involve them in a "public scandal" according to the Catholic Church, the plaintiffs sought an exemption from the ACA's contraception mandate.

On July 3, 2013, the plaintiffs filed a motion for preliminary injunction. On July 5, 2013, defendants gave notice of non-opposition to plaintiff's motion. On July 8, 2013, Judge Ann D. Montgomery ordered the defendant not to enforce the ACA insurance mandate regarding contraception against the plaintiff until 30 days after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit rules on either O'Brien v. U.S. Dep't of Health and Human Services or Annex Medical, Inc. v. Sebelius, which involve similar legal issues and the same defendant as this case.

However, on June 30, 2014, the Supreme Court ruled in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby that HHS regulations imposing the contraceptive mandate violate RFRA when applied to closely-held for-profit corporations. This ruling created a new standard for for-profit companies challenging the contraception mandate. Following the ruling, the Eighth Circuit remanded Annex Medical for additional fact-finding, and on November 12, 2014 the Eastern District of Missouri in O'Brien entered an injunction on the joint motion of the parties establishing that the government could not impose that version of the contraception services mandate against the plaintiffs, but further regulations were open to enforcement and to litigation.

On November 20, 2014, the District of Minnesota entered an injunction and judgment that very closely matched the injunction entered in O'Brien and similar cases around the country. The court entered the injunction based on the stipulation of the parties, establishing that the government would not enforce the version of the contraceptive services mandate at issue in Hobby Lobby against closely-held for-profit corporations like that of the plaintiffs. Prior to the Hobby Lobby ruling, no for-profit corporations had access to a religious exemption to the mandate. After the ruling, the government designed an exemption similar to the one used for non-profit religious employers, allowing religious, closely-held for-profit employers to notify the government of their religious objection to contraception. The government would then work with the insurer directly to provide contraception coverage to the employees.

The court's order also awarded attorney fees and costs to the plaintiffs. On January 5, 2015, the court granted an extension of the deadline to file for attorney fees and costs until March 15, 2015.

Emma Lawton - 10/17/2013
Richard Jolly - 04/04/2014
Kate Craddock - 09/18/2016


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Establishment Clause
Free Exercise Clause
Freedom of speech/association
Content of Injunction
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 Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. ยงยง 551 et seq.
Religious Freedom Rest. Act/Religious Land Use and Inst. Persons Act (RFRA/RLUIPA)
Defendant(s) Department of Health and Human Services
Department of Labor
Department of the Treasury
Internal Revenue Service
Plaintiff Description Corporation owned by Catholics seeking religious exemption from the ACA's contraception mandate.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2015
Case Ongoing No
Docket(s)
1:13-cv-01375 (D. Minn.) 01/05/2015
FA-MN-0004-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 06/07/2013
FA-MN-0004-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Last Amended Complaint 06/13/2013
FA-MN-0004-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order for Preliminary Injunction 07/08/2013 (D. Minn.)
FA-MN-0004-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order for Injunction and Judgment 11/20/2014 (D. Minn.)
FA-MN-0004-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Montgomery, Ann D. (D. Minn.) [Magistrate]
FA-MN-0004-0003 | FA-MN-0004-0004 | FA-MN-0004-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Kaardal, Erick G. (Minnesota)
FA-MN-0004-0001 | FA-MN-0004-0002 | FA-MN-0004-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Bildtsen, Ann M (Minnesota)
FA-MN-0004-9000
Humphreys, Bradley Philip (District of Columbia)
FA-MN-0004-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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