University of Michigan Law School
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Case Name Willis & Willis PLC v. Sebelius FA-DC-0009
Docket / Court 1:13-cv-01124 ( D.D.C. )
State/Territory District of Columbia
Case Type(s) Speech and Religious Freedom
Special Collection Contraception Insurance Mandate
Case Summary
On July 24, 2013, a for-profit company filed this lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of D.C. under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Administrative Procedure Act and the First Amendment against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The plaintiff, ... read more >
On July 24, 2013, a for-profit company filed this lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of D.C. under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Administrative Procedure Act and the First Amendment against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The plaintiff, represented by the public interest firm the Thomas More Law Center, 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 deeply held, religious beliefs of the corporation's owners.

On August 23, 2013, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly granted the plaintiff's unopposed motion for preliminary injunction and stayed the case. The court ordered the defendant not to enforce the ACA insurance mandate regarding contraception against the plaintiff until 30 days after the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled in Gilardi v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services , which involved similar legal issues and the same defendant as this case.

On November 1, 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled in Gilardi that the ACA's contraception insurance mandate likely violates the free exercise clause of the Constitution and reversed the District Court's denial of a preliminary injunction against the defendant. Gilardi was held at the Supreme Court while the Court decided Burwell v. Hobby Lobby. On June 30, 2014, the court held in Hobby Lobby that the HHS regulations imposing the contraceptive mandate violate RFRA, when applied to closely-held for-profit corporations.

On October 27, 2014, the district court held that based on the Supreme Court's ruling in Hobby Lobby, the plaintiffs in this case as a closely-held for-profit corporation, were entitled to a permanent injunction against enforcement of the version of the contraceptive mandate in place on June 30, 2014. The district court did not extend the ruling to future versions of the mandate, and directed the parties to come to an agreement on attorney's fees and costs. The parties requested technical corrections to the order by joint motion, which the court granted in a new order on October 31, 2014. On December 17, 2014, the parties submitted a Joint Status Report notifying the court that they reached an agreement on attorney's fees and costs, and there would be no need for further proceedings in this case.

Mallory Jones - 12/05/2013
Mallory Jones - 03/31/2014
Kate Craddock - 08/07/2016


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Free Exercise Clause
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
Defendant-type
Hospital/Health Department
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-basis
Religion discrimination
General
Abortion
Contraception
Reasonable Accommodations
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.
Religious Freedom Rest. Act/Religious Land Use and Inst. Persons Act (RFRA/RLUIPA)
Defendant(s) Department of Health and Human Services
Plaintiff Description For-profit corporation seeking exemption from the ACA contraception insurance mandate.
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
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2014
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing FA-DC-0004 : Gilardi v. Dep't of Health and Human Services [Gilardi v. Sebelius] (D.D.C.)
Docket(s)
1:13-cv-01124-CKK (D.D.C.) 12/17/2014
FA-DC-0009-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 07/24/2013 (2013 WL 3819571)
FA-DC-0009-0001.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Preliminary Injunction 08/23/2013 (D.D.C.)
FA-DC-0009-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 10/27/2014 (D.D.C.)
FA-DC-0009-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Kollar-Kotelly, Colleen (D.D.C., FISC)
FA-DC-0009-0002 | FA-DC-0009-0003 | FA-DC-0009-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Mersino, Erin Elizabeth (Michigan)
FA-DC-0009-0001 | FA-DC-0009-9000
Thompson, Richard (Michigan)
FA-DC-0009-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Bennett, Michelle Renee (District of Columbia)
FA-DC-0009-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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