University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Beckwith v. Sebelius FA-FL-0005
Docket / Court 13-cv-648 ( M.D. Fla. )
State/Territory Florida
Case Type(s) Speech and Religious Freedom
Special Collection Contraception Insurance Mandate
Case Summary
On March 12, 2013, a for-profit company filed a lawsuit in the Middle District of Florida under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Administrative Procedure Act and First Amendment against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The plaintiff, represented by the public interest firm ... read more >
On March 12, 2013, a for-profit company filed a lawsuit in the Middle District of Florida under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Administrative Procedure Act and First Amendment against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The plaintiff, represented by the public interest firm Thomas More Law Center, asked the court for an exception to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandate requiring employers to provide health insurance coverage for contraception. Specifically, the plaintiff claimed that providing insurance coverage for specific forms of contraception, including the morning-after pill and the intrauterine device (IUD), would violate the religious beliefs of the corporation's owners. The plaintiff also asked that the court declare the contraception insurance mandate to be unconstitutional.

On March 13, 2013, the plaintiff filed a motion for preliminary injunction. The defendant opposed this motion on the grounds that the plaintiff had not suffered harm upon which relief can be granted. Defendant argued that the plaintiff, as a corporation, cannot exercise religion and cannot suffer a violation of its religious beliefs. On June 25, 2013, United States District Court (Judge Elizabeth A. Kovachevich) granted the plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction.

On August 22, 2013, the defendant appealed this order to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Oral arguments in the appellate court are scheduled for the week of April 28, 2014. As of January 28, 2014, the appeal is ongoing.

Mallory Jones - 01/28/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Free Exercise Clause
Freedom of speech/association
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
Defendant-type
Hospital/Health Department
Discrimination-basis
Religion discrimination
General
Contraception
Religious programs / policies
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Non-government for profit
Causes of Action Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
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) U.S. Department of Health
U.S. Department of Labor
U.S. Department of the Treasury
Plaintiff Description A for-profit company that believes the Affordable Care Act's contraception insurance mandate violates its owner's religious freedom
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 Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
13-cv-648 (M.D. Fla.) 11/29/2013
FA-FL-0005-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction and Local Rule 05/13/2013
FA-FL-0005-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant's Brief in Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction 05/28/2013
FA-FL-0005-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amicus Curiae Brief of the American Civil Liberties Union and the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida in Opposition to the Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction 05/28/2013
FA-FL-0005-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum of the State of Florida By Attorney General Pam Bondi, as Amicus Curiae in Support of Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction 06/06/2013 (M.D. Fla.)
FA-FL-0005-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order on Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction 06/25/2013 (M.D. Fla.)
FA-FL-0005-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Unopposed Motion to Stay Proceedings 08/23/2013
FA-FL-0005-0006.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order on Defendants' Unopposed Motion for Stay 08/26/2013 (M.D. Fla.)
FA-FL-0005-0007.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Kovachevich, Elizabeth Anne (M.D. Fla.)
FA-FL-0005-0005 | FA-FL-0005-0007 | FA-FL-0005-9000
Pizzo, Mark A. (M.D. Fla.) [Magistrate]
FA-FL-0005-9000 | FA-FL-0005-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Mersino, Erin Elizabeth (Michigan)
FA-FL-0005-9000
Richardson, Scott P. (Arkansas)
FA-FL-0005-9000
Thompson, Richard (Michigan)
FA-FL-0005-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Delery, Stuart F. (District of Columbia)
FA-FL-0005-0002 | FA-FL-0005-0006
Gershengorn, Ian Heath (District of Columbia)
FA-FL-0005-0002 | FA-FL-0005-0006
Kenneth, Michael (Florida)
FA-FL-0005-0002 | FA-FL-0005-0006
Lieber, Sheila M. (District of Columbia)
FA-FL-0005-0002 | FA-FL-0005-0006
O'neill, Robert E (District of Columbia)
FA-FL-0005-0002 | FA-FL-0005-0006
Pollack, Michael Charles (District of Columbia)
FA-FL-0005-0002 | FA-FL-0005-9000
Ricketts, Jennifer (District of Columbia)
FA-FL-0005-0002 | FA-FL-0005-0006
Other Lawyers Bondi, Pamela Jo (Florida)
FA-FL-0005-0004
Kayanan, Maria (Florida)
FA-FL-0005-0003
Mach, Daniel (District of Columbia)
FA-FL-0005-0003
MacMillan, Yvette Acosta (Florida)
FA-FL-0005-0003

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