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Case Name Catholic Charities, Diocese of Fort Worth v. Sebelius FA-TX-0002
Docket / Court 4:12-cv-00314 ( N.D. Tex. )
Additional Docket(s) 14-10241  [ 14-10241 ]
State/Territory Texas
Case Type(s) Speech and Religious Freedom
Special Collection Contraception Insurance Mandate
Case Summary
On May 21, 2012, the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth filed a lawsuit in the Northern District of Texas against the Federal Government under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (42 U.S.C. § 2000bb), the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. § 706(2)), and the First Amendment. The Catholic ... read more >
On May 21, 2012, the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth filed a lawsuit in the Northern District of Texas against the Federal Government under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (42 U.S.C. § 2000bb), the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. § 706(2)), and the First Amendment. The Catholic Diocese represented several other religiously affiliated schools and organizations. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, sought to enjoin enforcement of provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) extending universal contraception coverage in employer-sponsored private health insurance coverage. The plaintiffs contended that this mandatory contraception coverage violated their sincerely held religious beliefs.

On January 31, 2013, U.S. District Court (Judge Terry R. Means) denied the U.S. motion to dismiss for lack of ripeness. On August 22, 2013, the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint addressing the government's newly released accommodations for non-profit, religious organizations.

On October 9, one of the plaintiffs—The University of Dallas—filed a motion for preliminary injunction. On December 31, 2013, Judge Means granted the plaintiff's motion, adopting the analysis set out by Judge Rosenthal in her opinion in E. Texas Baptist Univ. v. Sebelius just three days prior. Both Judges agreed that the accommodation imposition on the plaintiffs to self-certify their religious objections to this requirement of the ACA met the substantial burden test. On February 24, 2014, the defendant filed an interlocutory appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. (Case No. 14-10241)

The remaining plaintiffs—Catholic Charities, Diocese of Fort Worth, Inc., Our Lady of Victory Catholic School, and Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth—filed a motion for preliminary injunction on April 18, 2014. Judge Means granted the preliminary injunction on June 5, 2014, enjoining the defendant from enforcing the ACA provision at issue in this case until further order from the court. The defendant filed an interlocutory appeal to the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 9, 2014.

The plaintiffs Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth and Our Lady of Victory Catholic School filed a motion for voluntary dismissal, and on September 30, 2014 Judge Means entered a final judgment dismissing the case without prejudice as to the two plaintiffs. Given the lead plaintiff’s dismissal from the case, the name of the plaintiff in the case was changed to “Catholic Charities, Diocese of Fort Worth, Inc.” at this time.

In addition to this case, there was also a case filed in the Eastern District of Texas and one filed in the Northern District of Texas, all alleging the same ACA violation. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals consolidated the appeals of the claims in all three district courts into one appeal, under the case name, East Texas Baptist University v. Burwell. Judge Jerry E. Smith delivered the opinion on June 22, 2015. The Circuit Court’s decision reversed all of the District Courts’ decisions, including Judge Means' grant of the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction, because the “plaintiffs have not shown and are not likely to show that the requirement substantially burdens their religious exercise under established law.” 793 F.3d 449.

The plaintiffs of this consolidated case filed a petition to the Supreme Court, which granted certiorari on May 17, 2016. The Supreme Court vacated the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals decision on the same day in the case University of Dallas v. Burwell. The Court remanded this consolidated case back to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in light of its recent remand in Zubik v. Burwell, which reached no decision on the merits of a similar case. 136 S.Ct. 2008.

On October 6, 2017, President Trump changed federal government's policy on the matter, removing the requirement that employers provide contraception coverage through health insurance plans. Shortly thereafter, the plaintiffs moved to voluntarily dismiss the case.

A final judgment was entered in accordance with the plaintiffs’ joint stipulation of dismissal on January 11, 2018. The case was dismissed with prejudice and is now closed.

Christopher Schad - 05/20/2012
Wyatt Fore - 03/29/2013
Mallory Jones - 03/24/2014
Mackenzie Walz - 01/21/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Establishment Clause
Free Exercise Clause
Freedom of speech/association
Discrimination-basis
Religion discrimination
General
Contraception
Religious programs / policies
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
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 Treasury
Plaintiff Description Several religiously affiliated universities in Texas.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement Voluntary Dismissal
Filing Year 2012
Case Closing Year 2018
Case Ongoing No
Docket(s)
4:12-cv-314 (N.D. Tex.)
FA-TX-0002-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/07/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Plaintiff's Original Complaint [ECF# 1]
FA-TX-0002-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/21/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [denying defendants' motion to dismiss] [ECF# 43] (2013 WL 9600145) (N.D. Tex.)
FA-TX-0002-0002.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 01/31/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants’ Motion for Reconsideration or, in the Alternative, for Certification Under 28 U.S.C. § 1292(B) Permitting Immediate Appeal and Brief in Support [ECF# 47]
FA-TX-0002-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/28/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiff’s Response to Defendants’ Motion for Reconsideration or Immediate Appeal Under 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b) [ECF# 52]
FA-TX-0002-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/21/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants’ Reply in Support of Their Motion for Reconsideration or, in the Alternative, for Certification under 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b) Permitting Immediate Appeal [ECF# 53]
FA-TX-0002-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/04/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Denying Motion to Reconsider or, Alternatively, to Certify for Immediate Appeal [ECF# 57] (2013 WL 9600550) (N.D. Tex.)
FA-TX-0002-0007.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 06/07/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint [ECF# 64]
FA-TX-0002-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/22/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiff University of Dallas's Motion for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 70]
FA-TX-0002-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/09/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment [ECF# 71]
FA-TX-0002-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/09/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs’ Brief in Support of Plaintiff University of Dallas’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction and Plaintiffs’ Motion for Summary Judgment [ECF# 72]
FA-TX-0002-0011.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/09/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, or, in the Alternative, for Summary Judgment [ECF# 75]
FA-TX-0002-0012.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/05/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants’ Memorandum in Support of Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, for Summary Judgment, and in Opposition to Plaintiffs’ Motions for Preliminary Injunction and for Summary Judgment [ECF# 76]
FA-TX-0002-0013.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/05/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 99] (2013 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 185410) (N.D. Tex.)
FA-TX-0002-0014.pdf | LEXIS | Detail
Date: 12/31/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Administratively Terminating Pending Motions [ECF# 102] (N.D. Tex.)
FA-TX-0002-0015.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/01/2014
Source: Bloomberg Law
Order Granting Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 106] (N.D. Tex.)
FA-TX-0002-0016.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/05/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Rule 54 (b) Final Judgment [ECF# 110] (N.D. Tex.)
FA-TX-0002-0017.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/30/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order and Opinion (793 F.3d 449)
FA-TX-0002-0020.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 06/22/2015
Source: Google Scholar
Order [Ct. of App. ECF# 119]
FA-TX-0002-0018.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/07/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [remanding case] (136 S.Ct. 2008)
FA-TX-0002-0019.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 05/16/2016
Source: Google Scholar
Judges Ginsburg, Ruth Bader (SCOTUS, D.C. Circuit)
FA-TX-0002-0019
Means, Terry R. (N.D. Tex.)
FA-TX-0002-0002 | FA-TX-0002-0007 | FA-TX-0002-0014 | FA-TX-0002-0015 | FA-TX-0002-0016 | FA-TX-0002-0017 | FA-TX-0002-9000
Smith, Jerry Edwin (Fifth Circuit)
FA-TX-0002-0018
Sotomayor, Sonia (Second Circuit, SCOTUS, S.D.N.Y.)
FA-TX-0002-0019
Plaintiff's Lawyers Crumley, John W. (Texas)
FA-TX-0002-0001 | FA-TX-0002-0005 | FA-TX-0002-0008 | FA-TX-0002-0009 | FA-TX-0002-0010 | FA-TX-0002-0011 | FA-TX-0002-9000
Ghorayeb, Basheer Y. (Texas)
FA-TX-0002-0001 | FA-TX-0002-0005 | FA-TX-0002-0008 | FA-TX-0002-0009 | FA-TX-0002-0010 | FA-TX-0002-0011 | FA-TX-0002-9000
Lyons, Katherine J. (Texas)
FA-TX-0002-0001 | FA-TX-0002-0005 | FA-TX-0002-9000
Marinkovic, Tamara (Texas)
FA-TX-0002-0001 | FA-TX-0002-0005 | FA-TX-0002-0008 | FA-TX-0002-0009 | FA-TX-0002-0010 | FA-TX-0002-0011 | FA-TX-0002-9000
Murphy, Terence M. (Texas)
FA-TX-0002-0001 | FA-TX-0002-0005 | FA-TX-0002-0008 | FA-TX-0002-0009 | FA-TX-0002-0010 | FA-TX-0002-0011 | FA-TX-0002-9000
Schroeter, Thomas K. (Texas)
FA-TX-0002-0001 | FA-TX-0002-0005 | FA-TX-0002-9000
Teater, James S. (Texas)
FA-TX-0002-0001 | FA-TX-0002-0005 | FA-TX-0002-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Delery, Stuart F. (District of Columbia)
FA-TX-0002-0003 | FA-TX-0002-0006 | FA-TX-0002-0012 | FA-TX-0002-0013
Gershengorn, Ian Heath (District of Columbia)
FA-TX-0002-0003 | FA-TX-0002-0006
Grogg, Adam Anderson (District of Columbia)
FA-TX-0002-9000
Humphreys, Bradley Philip (District of Columbia)
FA-TX-0002-0003 | FA-TX-0002-0006 | FA-TX-0002-0012 | FA-TX-0002-0013 | FA-TX-0002-9000
Lieber, Sheila M. (District of Columbia)
FA-TX-0002-0003 | FA-TX-0002-0006 | FA-TX-0002-0012 | FA-TX-0002-0013
Ricketts, Jennifer (District of Columbia)
FA-TX-0002-0003 | FA-TX-0002-0006 | FA-TX-0002-0012 | FA-TX-0002-0013
Saldana, Sarah R. (Texas)
FA-TX-0002-0003 | FA-TX-0002-0006 | FA-TX-0002-0012 | FA-TX-0002-0013
Other Lawyers Amiri, Brigitte A. (New York)
FA-TX-0002-9000
Lee, Jennifer (New York)
FA-TX-0002-9000
Mach, Daniel (District of Columbia)
FA-TX-0002-9000
White, Edward L. III (Michigan)
FA-TX-0002-9000

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