On February 18, 2012, Louisiana College, a Christian university, filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana against the Federal Government under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), claiming violations of these statutes and their First and Fifth Amendment rights. 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 violates their sincerely held religious beliefs.
On January 4, 2013, the District Court (Judge Dee D. Drell) stayed discovery of the case pending resolution of similar litigation throughout the country and legislative alterations to the contraception mandate. On March 26, 2013, the Court dismissed the case for a lack of ripeness noting that appropriate amendments could be made after August 15, 2013.
On September 19, 2013, the plaintiffs filed a second amended complaint. Specifically, they contended that the amended ACA regulation still violates their free exercise by requiring them to provide a form to a third-party administrator who arranges payment for contraception, such that coverage applies to employees as a direct consequence of their employment with the plaintiff.
On November 2, 2013, defendants moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim or for summary judgment. On November 18, 2013, plaintiff filed a cross-motion for summary judgment. On August 14, 2014, the court denied defendant's motion to dismiss and granted in part plaintiff's cross-motion for summary judgment, on the plaintiff's Religious Freedom and Restoration Act Claim, dismissing the remainder of plaintiff's claims as moot. The court held that regulations requiring the University to self-certify its eligibility for an accommodation from the mandate requiring employee health insurance coverage for contraceptives violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, since requiring the affirmative act of self-certification substantially burdened the University's sincerely held belief that life began at fertilization by facilitating the provision of such contraceptive services by its insurer. The court also determined that the self-certification mandate was not the least restrictive means to accomplish the government's interests, since a limited religious exemption or other alternatives would not undermine those interests.
The defendants appealed to the Fifth Circuit on October 8, 2014. On December 12, 2014, the Fifth Circuit granted defendants' motion to stay pending resolution of a number of related cases.
On November 4, 2016, the court issued a per curiam order materially identical to the order in Zubik v. Burwell. That order decreed that "the parties on remand should be afforded an opportunity to arrive at an approach going forward 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.” La Coll. v. Price, No. 14-31167 (5th Cir. Nov. 14, 2016) (included in documents).
On January 10, 2017, the government notified the court by status report that no accommodation had yet been reached, and requested permission to follow up with a further status report in sixty days. The court indicated that such permission would need to be requested by formal motion. Micah Telegen - 03/02/2017
Emma Lawton - 11/25/2013
Kate Craddock - 02/29/2016