University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Feltl and Company v. Sebelius FA-MN-0009
Docket / Court 0:13-cv-02635 ( D. Minn. )
State/Territory Minnesota
Case Type(s) Speech and Religious Freedom
Special Collection Contraception Insurance Mandate
Case Summary
On September 25, 2013, Feltl and Company, Inc., a privately held, for-profit securities brokerage and investment banking company subject to the employer mandate under the Affordable Care Act, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of Minnesota. The plaintiff sued under the Religious Freedom ... read more >
On September 25, 2013, Feltl and Company, Inc., a privately held, for-profit securities brokerage and investment banking company subject to the employer mandate under the Affordable Care Act, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of Minnesota. The plaintiff sued under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the Administrative Procedures Act. The plaintiffs sued the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and the Internal Revenue Service. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, asked the court for a declaratory injunction that the contraceptive services mandate violated the above statutes. The plaintiffs also requested a declaratory judgment that the mandate is generally invalid, a permanent injunction against HHS, Treasury, and the IRS from enforcing the mandate against the Feltls and their company, and a declaratory judgment that group health plans excluding contraception do not violated the Affordable Care Act. The plaintiffs further requested reasonable attorneys fees and a jury trial.

This lawsuit claims that the contraceptive services mandate was improperly promulgated under the Administrative Procedures Act, and that being required to provide a health plan to their employees that includes contraceptive services violates the Feltls' freedom of religion and First and Fifth Amendment rights. Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed that distinguishing between religious employers and private companies in exemptions for the contraceptive services mandate constitutes establishing religion, and that purchasing or providing coverage for contraception, sterilization, and abortifactant drugs through their employee group health plan violates their sincerely held religious beliefs.

Following the U.S. Supreme Court's June 2014 decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., courts have granted similar closely-held, private, for profit companies injunctions protecting them from enforcement of the contraceptive services mandate.

On November 5, 2013, Judge Donovan W. Frank ordered a preliminary injunction staying HHS's ability to enforce the mandate against Feltl and Company. On November 26, 2014, Judge Frank issued an order for injunction and judgment that enjoined HHS or other agencies from taking any action to enforce the contraceptive services mandate or attendant penalties against the plaintiffs. The court found that the contraceptive services mandate violated the plaintiff's rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and awarded attorneys fees. The injunction excluded future changes in statute or regulation. The plaintiff was given time to file for attorneys fees, but nothing shows that it did, so either it didn't claim them, or that part of the matter was settled out of court.

Kate Craddock - 10/04/2015


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Establishment Clause
Free Exercise Clause
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-basis
Religion discrimination
General
Abortion
Contraception
Religious programs / policies
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Public (for-profit) corporation
Causes of Action Religious Freedom Rest. Act/Religious Land Use and Inst. Persons Act (RFRA/RLUIPA)
Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. ยงยง 551 et seq.
Defendant(s) HHS, Department of Labor, Department of Treasury, IRS
Plaintiff Description Feltl and Company, Inc. is a privately held for-profit company subject to the employer mandate under the Affordable Care Act.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted Moot
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Declaratory Judgment
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2015
Case Ongoing No
Docket(s)
0:13-cv-2635 (D. Minn.) 01/05/2015
FA-MN-0009-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Verified Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief 09/25/2013
FA-MN-0009-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order on Preliminary Injunction 11/05/2013 (D. Minn.)
FA-MN-0009-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order for Injunction and Judgment 11/26/2014 (D. Minn.)
FA-MN-0009-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Frank, Donovan W. (D. Minn.)
FA-MN-0009-0002 | FA-MN-0009-0003 | FA-MN-0009-9000
Keyes, Jeffrey J. Court not on record
FA-MN-0009-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Dickey, James (Minnesota)
FA-MN-0009-9000
Kaardal, Erick G. (Minnesota)
FA-MN-0009-0001 | FA-MN-0009-0003 | FA-MN-0009-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Bildtsen, Ann M (Minnesota)
FA-MN-0009-0003 | FA-MN-0009-9000
Humphreys, Bradley Philip (District of Columbia)
FA-MN-0009-0003 | FA-MN-0009-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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