University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name MK Chambers Co. v. Sebelius FA-MI-0010
Docket / Court 2:13-cv-11379 ( E.D. Mich. )
State/Territory Michigan
Case Type(s) Speech and Religious Freedom
Special Collection Contraception Insurance Mandate
Case Summary
On March 28, 2013, MK Chambers, a for-profit company filed this lawsuit in the U. S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan under the First Amendment, Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), and the Administrative Procedure Act against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. ... read more >
On March 28, 2013, MK Chambers, a for-profit company filed this lawsuit in the U. S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan under the First Amendment, Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), and the Administrative Procedure Act against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, asked the court for an exception to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandate requiring employers to provide health insurance coverage of contraception. Specifically, the plaintiff claimed that providing insurance coverage of contraception would violate the religious beliefs of the corporation's owners.

On April 4, 2013, Judge Denise Page Hood denied the plaintiff's emergency ex-parte motion for a temporary restraining order. The plaintiffs had sought this motion in order to continue providing insurance coverage to their employees without the medications they object to. Judge Hood's order stated that it was not clear plaintiffs would succeed under their RFRA claim, not likely they would succeed on their First Amendment claim, since the ACA has no purpose to target religions. Judge Hood also found that since the plaintiffs had filed their lawsuit over two months after the mandate went into effect, their claim of irreparable injury was not convincing.

On April 26, 2013, the plaintiff filed an emergency motion for a preliminary injunction. It argued injunction relief was warranted to prevent the ACA mandate from infringing on the plaintiff's religious beliefs. On May 22, 2013, the defendant filed a memorandum in opposition to injunctive relief and a motion to dismiss on the grounds that plaintiff will not suffer irreparable harm from the mandate.

On June 6, 2013, the defendant re-filed their memorandum in opposition to injunctive relief and filed a separate, amended motion to dismiss as required by the court's local rules. No substantive changes were made to either.

On September 13, 2013, the court denied the plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction. The court found the plaintiff was unlikely to show the ACA mandate put a "substantial burden" on the corporation owner's religious beliefs.

On January 31, 2014 the parties filed a joint motion to stay the case until the Supreme Court ruled in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, No. 13- 354; and Conestoga Woods Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius, No. 13-356. Judge Denise Page Hood granted the stay on February 21, 2014.

On August 21, 2014, following the Supreme Court's holding in Hobby Lobby that the HHS regulations imposing the contraceptive mandate violate RFRA when applied to closely-held for-profit corporations, the parties agreed to a stipulated preliminary injunction in this case. The preliminary injunction said the government could not sanction the plaintiffs for failing to provide contraceptive care to which the plaintiffs hold religious objections.

On November 21, 2014, the district court entered a stipulated order and judgment in this case. The judgment established a permanent injunction against government enforcement of the June 30, 2014 version of the contraceptive mandate at issue in Hobby Lobby, where for-profit corporations could not access a religious exemption to the contraception mandate. After the ruling in Hobby Lobby, 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 November 21, 2014 order further awarded attorney fees and costs to the plaintiffs. On March 13, 2015, the plaintiffs withdrew their motion for a hearing on attorney fees and costs

Mallory Jones - 11/07/2013
Richard Jolly - 04/03/2014
Kate Craddock - 09/18/2016


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
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
Causes of Action Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. ยงยง 551 et seq.
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
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
Plaintiff Description A for-profit company that believes the Affordable Care Act contraception insurance coverage mandate violates the owner's religious freedom.
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 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)
2:13-cv-11379 (E.D. Mich.) 03/13/2015
FA-MI-0010-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 03/28/2013
FA-MI-0010-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Denying Ex-Parte Emergency Motion for Temporary Restraining Order 04/03/2013 (2013 WL 1340719) (E.D. Mich.)
FA-MI-0010-0010.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiff's Emergency Motion for Preliminary Injunction 04/26/2013
FA-MI-0010-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant's Motion to Dismiss and Memorandum in Support 06/06/2013
FA-MI-0010-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Denying Motion for Preliminary Injunction 09/13/2013 (2013 WL 5182435) (E.D. Mich.)
FA-MI-0010-0007.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulated Order Staying Case 02/21/2014 (E.D. Mich.)
FA-MI-0010-0008.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulated Order Entering Preliminary Injunction 08/21/2014 (E.D. Mich.)
FA-MI-0010-0009.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulated Order and Judgment 11/21/2014 (E.D. Mich.)
FA-MI-0010-0011.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Hluchaniuk, Michael J. (E.D. Mich.) [Magistrate]
FA-MI-0010-9000
Hood, Denise Page (E.D. Mich.)
FA-MI-0010-0007 | FA-MI-0010-0008 | FA-MI-0010-0009 | FA-MI-0010-0010 | FA-MI-0010-0011 | FA-MI-0010-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Chapman, Daniel E. (Michigan)
FA-MI-0010-0001 | FA-MI-0010-0002 | FA-MI-0010-9000
Cochrane, Kimberly A. (Michigan)
FA-MI-0010-0002 | FA-MI-0010-0009 | FA-MI-0010-0011 | FA-MI-0010-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Delery, Stuart F. (District of Columbia)
FA-MI-0010-0004
Gershengorn, Ian Heath (District of Columbia)
FA-MI-0010-0004
Humphreys, Bradley Philip (District of Columbia)
FA-MI-0010-0004 | FA-MI-0010-0009 | FA-MI-0010-0011 | FA-MI-0010-9000
Lieber, Sheila M. (District of Columbia)
FA-MI-0010-0004
McQuade, Barbara L. (Michigan)
FA-MI-0010-0004
Ricketts, Jennifer (District of Columbia)
FA-MI-0010-0004
Other Lawyers Lee, Jennifer (New York)
FA-MI-0010-9000
Mach, Daniel (District of Columbia)
FA-MI-0010-9000
Restuccia, B. Eric (Michigan)
FA-MI-0010-9000
Steinberg, Michael J. (Michigan)
FA-MI-0010-9000

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -