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Case Name Ozinga v. Sebelius FA-IL-0005
Docket / Court 1:13-cv-03292 ( N.D. Ill. )
State/Territory Illinois
Case Type(s) Speech and Religious Freedom
Special Collection Contraception Insurance Mandate
Case Summary
On March 1, 2013, the Christian owners of a closely-held corporation and the corporation itself filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The plaintiffs sued the federal government (the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and the Treasury) ... read more >
On March 1, 2013, the Christian owners of a closely-held corporation and the corporation itself filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The plaintiffs sued the federal government (the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and the Treasury) under the First Amendment, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act ("RFRA"), and the Administrative Procedures Act ("APA"). The plaintiffs, represented by in-house counsel, the Thomas More Society, and the Jubilee Campaign - Law of Life Project, asked the court for both declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging the federal rules adopted pursuant to the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ("ACA) violated their religious freedom by requiring the corporation to provide employee insurance coverage for contraception through its group health insurance plan. Claiming that providing coverage for contraception would contravene both their Christian faith and compel speech and association contrary to their beliefs, the plaintiffs sought an exemption from the ACA's contraception mandate for themselves and other institutions with similar religious objections.

On July 12, 2013, the plaintiffs filed a motion for a preliminary injunction. On July 13, 2013, the government filed a motion to stay proceedings in light of Korte v. Sebelius and Grote v. Sebelius, cases raising the same issue pending before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. The government also gave notice of non-opposition to a preliminary injunction until the Grote and Korte appeals were resolved.

On July 16, 2013, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas M. Durkin granted the preliminary injunction.

On August 14, 2013, the Court granted the government's motion to stay proceedings until the Seventh Circuit issued a decision in Korte and Grote. 2013 WL 12212731.

On September 30, 2015, the District Court granted a permanent injunction in favor of the plaintiffs, following the Court's decision in Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius. The plaintiffs had requested an injunction of any regulation related to the ACA's contraception mandate, but the Court limited the injunction to the regulations implementing the mandate that were at issue in Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius and the plaintiffs' complaint. Those regulations would have required all for-profit corporations, whether closely held or not, to provide contraception as part of their employee health plan. The Supreme Court also denied review in Korte, and the lower courts addressed it under Hobby Lobby. 2015 WL 13439819.

On November 30, 2015, the plaintiffs in this case appealed to the Seventh Circuit. On February 9, 2016, the Seventh Circuit granted the government's motion to hold the appeal in abeyance pending Supreme Court review of Zubik v. Burwell [II].

On May 16, 2016, the Supreme Court issued a per curiam order in Zubik remanding all seven consolidated cases to their respective courts of appeals. The Court ordered 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. Following that order, the Seventh Circuit heard oral argument in this case on November 1, 2016. The case focused on whether district court should have issued an injunction against the version of the contraception mandate at issue in Hobby Lobby (as the district court did) or an injunction against all further enforcement of the contraceptive services mandate.

On December 27, 2016, the Seventh Circuit initially affirmed the District Courts' ruling, but it later withdrew its opinion and the appeal remained under consideration.

On January 9, 2017, the parties were ordered to filed briefs discussing whether or not the case was subject for debated given the regulatory accommodation for religious employers was revised in July 2015 to include closely held, for-profit employers.

Following the filing of briefs on the issue, one August 28, 2017, the Seventh Circuit vacated the case and remanded it with instructions to dismiss it as moot. The court found that, because the plaintiffs' initial claim had been based on the unrevised regulation, they had sustained no harm due to the injunction during litigation, and the revised regulation post Hobby Lobby no longer posed prospective harm to the company. The Circuit Court therefore dismissed the case. The court also ordered both parties would bear their own cost of fees for appeal. 855 F.3d 730.

This case is now closed.

Emma Lawton - 10/05/2013
Richard Jolly - 04/06/2014
Kate Craddock - 11/13/2016
Taylor Brook - 03/08/2018

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Constitutional Clause
Establishment Clause
Free Exercise Clause
Freedom of speech/association
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
Hospital/Health Department
Religion discrimination
Religious programs / policies
Plaintiff Type
Closely-held (for profit) corporation
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Non-government for profit
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) Department of Health and Human Services
Department of Labor
Department of the Treasury
Plaintiff Description Corporation owned by Christians who want religious exemption from the ACA's contraception mandate.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Filing Year 2013
Case Closing Year 2017
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing FA-IL-0006 : Korte v. United States Department of Health and Human Services (S.D. Ill.)
FA-IN-0004 : Grote Industries v. Sebelius (S.D. Ind.)
FA-OK-0001 : Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores (W.D. Okla.)
FA-PA-0010 : Zubik v. Burwell [II] (W.D. Pa.)
1:13-cv-03292 (N.D. Ill.)
FA-IL-0005-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/30/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
15-3648 (U.S. Court of Appeals)
FA-IL-0005-9001.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/20/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
FA-IL-0005-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/01/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Preliminary Injunction Order [ECF# 25] (N.D. Ill.)
FA-IL-0005-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/16/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order to Stay Proceedings [ECF# 29] (N.D. Ill.)
FA-IL-0005-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/14/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 53] (N.D. Ill.)
FA-IL-0005-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/30/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
[Opinion] [Ct. of App. ECF# 57] (855 F.3d 730)
FA-IL-0005-0005.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 04/28/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Durkin, Thomas Michael (N.D. Ill.)
FA-IL-0005-0002 | FA-IL-0005-0003 | FA-IL-0005-0004 | FA-IL-0005-9000
Easterbrook, Frank Hoover (Seventh Circuit)
Rovner, Ilana Kara Diamond (N.D. Ill., Seventh Circuit)
Sykes, Diane S. (Seventh Circuit)
Plaintiff's Lawyers Breen, Peter C. (Illinois)
FA-IL-0005-0001 | FA-IL-0005-9000
Brejcha, Thomas (Illinois)
FA-IL-0005-0001 | FA-IL-0005-9000
Casey, Samuel B. (District of Columbia)
FA-IL-0005-0001 | FA-IL-0005-9000
Craddock, Jason (Illinois)
Norman, Andy Robert (Illinois)
White, Kevin E (Illinois)
FA-IL-0005-0001 | FA-IL-0005-9000 | FA-IL-0005-9001
Defendant's Lawyers Bennett, Michelle Renee (District of Columbia)
Berwick, Benjamin Leon (District of Columbia)
FA-IL-0005-9000 | FA-IL-0005-9001
Klein, Alisa B. (District of Columbia)
Nemeroff, Patrick George (District of Columbia)

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