University of Michigan Law School
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Case Name The Ave Maria Foundation v. Sebelius FA-MI-0013
Docket / Court 13-cv-15198 ( E.D. Mich. )
State/Territory Michigan
Case Type(s) Speech and Religious Freedom
Special Collection Contraception Insurance Mandate
Case Summary
On December 20, 2013, a group of non-profit organizations filed a 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 December 20, 2013, a group of non-profit organizations filed a 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, including The Ave Maria Foundation, Domino's Farms Petting Farm, and Thomas More Law Center, are represented by the public interest firm The Thomas More Law Center. The plaintiffs asked the court to rule that the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) contraception insurance mandate, even with the accommodation for non-profit religious organizations, is unconstitutional. Specifically, the plaintiffs asked for both a preliminary and permanent injunction keeping the government from enforcing the contraception insurance mandate against them because it violates the owners' deeply-help, Catholic religious beliefs.

On December 23, 2013, the plaintiffs filed an emergency motion for a temporary restraining order against the defendant. The defendants opposed this motion on the grounds that the accommodation to the ACA mandate does not substantially burden the plaintiffs' religious freedom under RFRA or cause the plaintiffs irreparable harm.

On January 13, 2013 U.S. District Court (Judge Stephen J. Murphy, III.) granted the plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction. On January 23, 2014, the court granted a joint motion to stay the case pending the defendants' decision to appeal the preliminary injunction. The order referenced two expedited appeals in similar cases in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, Catholic Diocese of Nashville v. Sebelius (No. 13-6640) and Michigan Catholic Conference v. Sebelius (No. 13-2723). The case is stayed until March 28, 2014, which is 14 days after the deadline has passed for the defendant to file an appeal, or, until 15 days after the appeal is resolved. As of April 20, 2014, the defendants had not filed an appeal and this case is ongoing.

Mallory Jones - 02/09/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Establishment Clause
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 non-profit
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 Plaintiffs are non-profit organizations, run by Catholic owners who believe the accommodation to the ACA's contraception insurance mandate offered to religions, non-profits violates their religious freedom
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted Moot
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)
2:13-cv-15198-SJM-MAR (E.D. Mich.) 01/23/2014
FA-MI-0013-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 12/20/2013
FA-MI-0013-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Motion for Temporary Restraining Order 12/23/2013
FA-MI-0013-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants' Memorandum in Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion for Temporary Restraining Order 12/27/2013
FA-MI-0013-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Reply in Support of Their Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order 12/30/2013
FA-MI-0013-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion and Order Granting a Preliminary Injunction 01/13/2014 (E.D. Mich.)
FA-MI-0013-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Joint Motion to Stay District Court Proceedings 01/17/2014
FA-MI-0013-0006.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Joint Motion to Stay, Staying Further Proceedings, and Administratively Closing the Case 01/23/2014 (E.D. Mich.)
FA-MI-0013-0007.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Murphy, Stephen Joseph III (E.D. Mich.)
FA-MI-0013-0005 | FA-MI-0013-0007 | FA-MI-0013-9000
Randon, Mark Court not on record
FA-MI-0013-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Mersino, Erin Elizabeth (Michigan)
FA-MI-0013-0001 | FA-MI-0013-0002 | FA-MI-0013-0004 | FA-MI-0013-0006 | FA-MI-0013-9000
Thompson, Richard (Michigan)
FA-MI-0013-0001 | FA-MI-0013-0002 | FA-MI-0013-0006
Defendant's Lawyers Bennett, Michelle Renee (District of Columbia)
FA-MI-0013-0006 | FA-MI-0013-9000
Delery, Stuart F. (District of Columbia)
FA-MI-0013-0003 | FA-MI-0013-0006
Hartnett, Kathleen R. (District of Columbia)
FA-MI-0013-0003 | FA-MI-0013-0006
Humphreys, Bradley Philip (District of Columbia)
FA-MI-0013-0003 | FA-MI-0013-9000
Lieber, Sheila M. (District of Columbia)
FA-MI-0013-0003 | FA-MI-0013-0006
McQuade, Barbara L. (Michigan)
FA-MI-0013-0006
Ricketts, Jennifer (District of Columbia)
FA-MI-0013-0003 | FA-MI-0013-0006
Other Lawyers None on record

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