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Case Name Dordt College v. Sebelius FA-IA-0001
Docket / Court 5:13-cv-04100 ( N.D. Iowa )
State/Territory Iowa
Case Type(s) Speech and Religious Freedom
Special Collection Contraception Insurance Mandate
Case Summary
On October 23, 2013, a non-profit organization filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa 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 ... read more >
On October 23, 2013, a non-profit organization filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa 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 plaintiff, represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom, 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 plaintiff asked for a permanent injunction keeping the government from enforcing the contraception insurance mandate against the organization and other similarly situated religious non-profits.

On January 10, 2014, the defendant filed a motion to dismiss, or, in the alternative, for summary judgment 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 May 21, 2014, the District Court granted the plaintiffs preliminary injunctive relief on the basis that the plaintiffs had shown they were sufficiently likely to succeed on their merits, when considering the Eighth Circuit had twice granted injunctions pending appeal to similarly situated plaintiffs challenging the mandate.

On July 18, 2014, defendants filed notice of appeal to the preliminary injunction.

On September 17, 2015, the Eighth Circuit issued an opinion affirming the District Court's injunctive relief for the plaintiff. The Court accepted the the plaintiff's argument that they will be forced to violate their religious beliefs by complying with either the contraceptive mandate or the accommodation process or to incur severe monetary penalties for refusing to comply. The court argues that the current accommodation process is not the least restrictive means of furthering the government's interests and that the plaintiffs would be substantially likely to succeed on the merits of their claim that the mandate and accommodation process substantially burden their exercise of religion in violation of RFRA.

Mallory Jones - 03/15/2014
Maria Ricaurte - 10/11/2015


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
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
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 A non-profit organization that believes the ACA's contraception insurance mandate violates the university'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 Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing No
Docket(s)
5:13−cv−04100 (N.D. Iowa) 09/17/2015
FA-IA-0001-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 10/23/2013
FA-IA-0001-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss or, in the alternative, for Summary Judgment; Defendants' Statement of Material Facts in Support of; Defendants' Memorandum in Support of 01/10/2014
FA-IA-0001-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Brief in Support of Defendant's Motion to Dismiss 01/10/2014
FA-IA-0001-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Brief of Amici Curae American Civil Liberties Union and American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa in support of Defendants' Motion to Dismiss or, In the Alternative, for Summary Judgment 01/21/2014
FA-IA-0001-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Opposition to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, for Summary Judgment; Plaintiffs' Response to Defendants' Statement of Material Facts 02/07/2014
FA-IA-0001-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order for Injunctive Relief 05/21/2014 (N.D. Iowa)
FA-IA-0001-0006.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion - 8th Circuit 10/11/2015 (2015 WL 5449504)
FA-IA-0001-0007.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Judges Bennett, Mark W. (S.D. Iowa, N.D. Iowa) [Magistrate]
FA-IA-0001-0006 | FA-IA-0001-9000
Benton, William Duane (Eighth Circuit)
FA-IA-0001-0007
Colloton, Steven M. (Eighth Circuit)
FA-IA-0001-0007
Strand, Leonard T. (N.D. Iowa) [Magistrate]
FA-IA-0001-9000
Wollman, Roger Leland (Eighth Circuit)
FA-IA-0001-0007
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Baylor, Gregory S. (District of Columbia)
FA-IA-0001-0001 | FA-IA-0001-0004 | FA-IA-0001-9000
Bos, Carole D. (Michigan)
FA-IA-0001-0001 | FA-IA-0001-0004
Bowman, Matthew S. (District of Columbia)
FA-IA-0001-0001 | FA-IA-0001-0004 | FA-IA-0001-9000
Cortman, David A. (Georgia)
FA-IA-0001-0001 | FA-IA-0001-0004 | FA-IA-0001-9000
Dykstra, Daniel D. (Iowa)
FA-IA-0001-0001 | FA-IA-0001-0004 | FA-IA-0001-9000
Theriot, Kevin H. (Kansas)
FA-IA-0001-0001 | FA-IA-0001-0004 | FA-IA-0001-9000
Wright, Jeff W. (Iowa)
FA-IA-0001-0001 | FA-IA-0001-0004 | FA-IA-0001-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Berry, Sean (District of Columbia)
FA-IA-0001-0005
Delery, Stuart F. (District of Columbia)
FA-IA-0001-0005
Lee, Jennifer (New York)
FA-IA-0001-0003 | FA-IA-0001-9000
Lieber, Sheila M. (District of Columbia)
FA-IA-0001-0005
Pollack, Michael Charles (District of Columbia)
FA-IA-0001-0002 | FA-IA-0001-0005 | FA-IA-0001-9000
Other Lawyers Amiri, Brigitte A. (New York)
FA-IA-0001-0003 | FA-IA-0001-9000
Dewart, Deborah Jane (North Carolina)
FA-IA-0001-9000
Mach, Daniel (District of Columbia)
FA-IA-0001-0003 | FA-IA-0001-9000
Ricketts, Jennifer (District of Columbia)
FA-IA-0001-0005
Schreurs, Micah (Iowa)
FA-IA-0001-9000
Wilson, Randall C. (Iowa)
FA-IA-0001-0003 | FA-IA-0001-9000

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