University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name Catholic Benefits Association v. Sebelius FA-OK-0006
Docket / Court 5:14-cv-00685-R ( W.D. Okla. )
State/Territory Oklahoma
Case Type(s) Speech and Religious Freedom
Special Collection Contraception Insurance Mandate
Case Summary
On July 1, 2014, the Catholic Benefits Association and the Catholic Insurance Company filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma. The Catholic Benefits Association is an association of Catholic nonprofit and closely held for-profit employers that provide ... read more >
On July 1, 2014, the Catholic Benefits Association and the Catholic Insurance Company filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma. The Catholic Benefits Association is an association of Catholic nonprofit and closely held for-profit employers that provide health benefits to their employees, and the Catholic Insurance Company, Inc., sells stop-loss insurance to some of these employers who self-fund their insurance plans. The plaintiffs alleged that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and related agencies' enforcement of the Affordable Care Act's (ACA's) contraceptive services mandate ('mandate') violated the plaintiffs' rights under the the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and violated the Administrative Procedures Act. Represented by private counsel, the plaintiffs asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, claiming that notifying HHS of their religious objection to contraception started a chain of events that ended with their employees receiving contraceptive services. The plaintiffs claimed this violates their rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Free Exercise, Establishment, and Free Speech clauses of the First Amendment, and the Administrative Procedures Act.

On December 29, 2014, the court granted the Catholic Benefits Association a preliminary injunction against federal enforcement of the mandate for their current members who were nonprofit religious employers and for current members who were non-exempt closely held for-profit employers. 81 F.Supp.3d. 1269 (W.D. Oka. 2014). The court did not provide preliminary injunctive relief for future members of the association, for employers that met the ACA definition of religious employer and are exempt from mandate, or for the Catholic Insurance Company.

The same plaintiffs had filed an earlier suit, The Catholic Benefits Ass'n v. Sebelius, No. 5:14-cv-00240-R (W.D. Okla. June 4, 2014), which had resulted in an injunction for their nonprofit and closely held for-profit member employers at the time. They filed an additional motion to add employers who joined the association following that date, but it was denied. The current suit is to add those members to the injunction. The court in the preceding case also ruled that the Catholic Insurance Company did not have standing to sue in its own right.

On March 17, 2015, the Tenth Circuit granted the government's unopposed motion to hold this case and related appeals in abeyance pending resolution of Little Sisters of the Poor v. Burwell (FA-CO-0006), Southern Nazarene University v. Burwell (FA-OK-0005), and Reaching Souls International v. Burwell (FA-OK-0002).

Kate Craddock - 10/11/2015


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Establishment Clause
Free Exercise Clause
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief denied
Preliminary relief granted
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Contraception
Religious programs / policies
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
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) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
U.S. Department of Labor
U.S. Department of the Treasury
Plaintiff Description Plaintiffs are an association of Catholic nonprofit and closely-held for-profit employers that provide health benefits to their employees, and a Catholic based insurance company which sells stop-loss insurance to some of these employers which self-fund their insurance plans.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted Moot
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief 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)
5:14-cv-00685-R (W.D. Okla.) 03/25/2015
FA-OK-0006-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Verified Complaint 07/01/2014
FA-OK-0006-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Verified Complaint 10/03/2014
FA-OK-0006-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injuction 12/29/2014 (81 F.Supp.3d 1269) (W.D. Okla.)
FA-OK-0006-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order to Hold Appeals in Abeyance 03/17/2015
FA-OK-0006-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Russell, David Lynn (N.D. Okla., W.D. Okla., E.D. Okla.)
FA-OK-0006-0003 | FA-OK-0006-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Ables, J Angela (Oklahoma)
FA-OK-0006-0001 | FA-OK-0006-0002 | FA-OK-0006-9000
Blassingame, Johnny R Jr. (Oklahoma)
FA-OK-0006-0002 | FA-OK-0006-9000
Kniffin, Eric N (District of Columbia)
FA-OK-0006-0002 | FA-OK-0006-9000
Nussbaum, L. Martin (Colorado)
FA-OK-0006-0001 | FA-OK-0006-0002 | FA-OK-0006-9000
Speir, Ian Seth (Colorado)
FA-OK-0006-0002 | FA-OK-0006-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Grogg, Adam Anderson (District of Columbia)
FA-OK-0006-9000
Humphreys, Bradley Philip (District of Columbia)
FA-OK-0006-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -