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Case Name Dobson v. Sebelius FA-CO-0007
Docket / Court 13-cv-03326 ( D. Colo. )
State/Territory Colorado
Case Type(s) Speech and Religious Freedom
Special Collection Contraception Insurance Mandate
Case Summary
On December 10, 2013, the owner of a non-profit religious corporation filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado under the First Amendment, Fifth Amendment Due Process Clause, Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and the Administrative Procedure Act against the U. ... read more >
On December 10, 2013, the owner of a non-profit religious corporation filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado under the First Amendment, Fifth Amendment Due Process Clause, Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and the Administrative Procedure Act against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The plaintiff alleged the Affordable Care Act's requirement that employee health plans provide coverage of contraception violates his religious freedom. The plaintiff, represented by Alliance Defending Freedom and private counsel, asked the court to strike down the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) contraception insurance mandate, even with the accommodation for non-profit religious organizations. Specifically, the plaintiff sought both preliminary and permanent injunctions barring the government from enforcing the contraception insurance mandate against it.

On January 21, 2014, the plaintiff filed a motion for preliminary injunction on the grounds that the contraception insurance mandate substantially burdened the plaintiff's religious exercise. On April 17, 2014, the Court (Judge Robert E. Blackburn) granted the preliminary injunction. Dobson v. Sebelius, 38 F.Supp.3d 1245 (2014).

The federal government appealed to the Tenth Circuit, and on July 7, 2014, the Tenth Circuit agreed to the parties' request to hold the appeal in abeyance until the seven cases consolidated as Zubik v. Burwell were resolved by the Supreme Court.

Nearly two years later, on May 16, 2016, in Zubik, the Court issued a per curiam order remanding all seven cases to their respective Courts of Appeals; instructing the lower courts to give the parties time to come to agreement on an approach that that "accommodates petitioners’ religious exercise while at the same time ensuring that women covered by petitioners’ health plans 'receive full and equal health coverage, including contraceptive coverage.'" 136 S.Ct 1557, 1560. The Court took no position on the merits of that case.

Two of the Zubik cases had come from the Tenth Circuit -- Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged v. Sebelius and Southern Nazarene University v. Sebelius. Both were remanded to the Tenth Circuit as part of the Zubik decision; that judgment issued on June 17, 2016. In this case, on June 22, the U.S. defendants filed a status report requesting another 30 days to evaluate appropriate next steps in light of the Zubik order. As of August 1, 2016, no further action had been taken in this case.

Mallory Jones - 03/11/2014
Beth Richardson - 06/05/2015
Kate Craddock - 07/24/2016


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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
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-basis
Religion discrimination
General
Abortion
Contraception
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Non-profit religious organization
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Non-government non-profit
Causes of Action Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 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) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
U.S. Department of Labor
U.S. Department of the Treasury
Plaintiff Description A non-profit corporation who believes the ACA's contraception insurance mandate, even with the accommodation for religious organizations, violates the founder's religious freedom.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted Moot
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 2015 - n/a
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
1:13−cv−03326 (D. Colo.) 07/23/2014
FA-CO-0007-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
14-1233 (U.S. Court of Appeals) 08/08/2016
FA-CO-0007-9001.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Verified Complaint 12/10/2013
FA-CO-0007-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction and Certificate of Compliance Re: Consultation on Motion 01/21/2014
FA-CO-0007-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Brief in Support of Motion for Preliminary injunction 01/21/2014
FA-CO-0007-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants' Memorandum in Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction 02/14/2014
FA-CO-0007-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Motion for Preliminary Injunction 04/17/2014 (38 F.Supp.3d 1245) (D. Colo.)
FA-CO-0007-0005.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Blackburn, Robert E. (D. Colo.)
FA-CO-0007-0005 | FA-CO-0007-9000 | FA-CO-0007-9001
Shaffer, Craig B. (D. Colo.) [Magistrate]
FA-CO-0007-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Aden, Steven H. (District of Columbia)
FA-CO-0007-9001
Baylor, Gregory S. (District of Columbia)
FA-CO-0007-0001 | FA-CO-0007-0002 | FA-CO-0007-0003 | FA-CO-0007-9000 | FA-CO-0007-9001
Bowman, Matthew S. (District of Columbia)
FA-CO-0007-0001 | FA-CO-0007-0002 | FA-CO-0007-0003 | FA-CO-0007-9000
Cortman, David A. (Georgia)
FA-CO-0007-0001 | FA-CO-0007-0002 | FA-CO-0007-0003 | FA-CO-0007-9000 | FA-CO-0007-9001
Kniffin, Eric N (District of Columbia)
FA-CO-0007-9001
Norton, Michael Jeffrey (Colorado)
FA-CO-0007-0001 | FA-CO-0007-0002 | FA-CO-0007-0003 | FA-CO-0007-9000 | FA-CO-0007-9001
Nussbaum, L. Martin (Colorado)
FA-CO-0007-0001 | FA-CO-0007-0002 | FA-CO-0007-0003 | FA-CO-0007-9001
Speir, Ian Seth (Colorado)
FA-CO-0007-9000 | FA-CO-0007-9001
Tedesco, Jeremy D. (Arizona)
FA-CO-0007-0001 | FA-CO-0007-0002 | FA-CO-0007-0003 | FA-CO-0007-9000
Theriot, Kevin H. (Kansas)
FA-CO-0007-0001 | FA-CO-0007-0002 | FA-CO-0007-0003 | FA-CO-0007-9000 | FA-CO-0007-9001
Defendant's Lawyers Barbero, Megan (District of Columbia)
FA-CO-0007-9001
Bennett, Michelle Renee (District of Columbia)
FA-CO-0007-0004 | FA-CO-0007-9000 | FA-CO-0007-9001
Delery, Stuart F. (District of Columbia)
FA-CO-0007-0004
Jed, Adam C. (District of Columbia)
FA-CO-0007-9001
Klein, Alisa B. (District of Columbia)
FA-CO-0007-9001
Lieber, Sheila M. (District of Columbia)
FA-CO-0007-0004
Nemeroff, Patrick George (District of Columbia)
FA-CO-0007-9001
Ricketts, Jennifer (District of Columbia)
FA-CO-0007-0004
Salzman, Joshua Marc (District of Columbia)
FA-CO-0007-9001
Stern, Mark B. (District of Columbia)
FA-CO-0007-9001
Other Lawyers Amiri, Brigitte A. (New York)
FA-CO-0007-9000

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