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Case Name Louisiana College v. Sebelius FA-LA-0002
Docket / Court 12-cv-00463 ( W.D. La. )
State/Territory Louisiana
Case Type(s) Speech and Religious Freedom
Special Collection Contraception Insurance Mandate
Case Summary
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 ... read more >
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. The plaintiffs contended that this mandatory contraception coverage violated 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 continued to violate their free exercise rights by requiring them to provide a form to a third-party administrator who arranged payment for contraception, such that coverage would apply 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, the 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 the 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).

The case sat essentially without action until January 5, 2018, at which point the defendants voluntarily dismissed their appeal. No reason was given for the inaction or dismissal but the court later theorized the delay was due to the pending litigation of other similar cases.

Following the dismissal of the defendant's appeal, on August 20, 2018, the plaintiffs filed two motions for both declaratory and injunctive relief. The plaintiffs cited concerns that as their previous motion for injunctive relief was voluntarily withdrawn, there was a possibility that the August 2014 ruling granting them relief under the RFRA could be opened up to additional litigation. As a result they requested a permanent injunction and declaration in line with the prior ruling on RFRA. Finally, the plaintiffs asked to bring a seven month out-of-time claim for attorney fees.

On March 13, 2019, the court denied all of the previous motions. The court ruled that they were mystified by the first two motions because the plaintiffs already possessed a favorable ruling and their motions only opened themselves up to further litigation that could yield a less than favorable result. The court found their previous judgement as final and any additional injunctions or declarations lacked justiciability. On the matter of a late claim for attorney fees, the court denied the claim as there was no excuse for the lateness beyond the plaintiff's own neglect.

There has been no further action on this case.

Micah Telegen - 03/02/2017
Emma Lawton - 11/25/2013
Kate Craddock - 02/29/2016
Carter Powers Beggs - 11/30/2019


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Establishment Clause
Free Exercise Clause
Freedom of speech/association
Defendant-type
Hospital/Health Department
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) United States Department of Health and Human Services
United States Department of Labor
United States Department of Treasury
Plaintiff Description A Christian institution of higher learning in Louisiana that opposes the use of contraception on religious grounds.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Form of Settlement Voluntary Dismissal
Filing Year 2012
Case Closing Year 2019
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Docket(s)
14-31167 (U.S. Court of Appeals)
FA-LA-0002-9001.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/05/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
1:12-cv-00463-DDD-JDK (W.D. La.)
FA-LA-0002-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/13/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
First Amended Complaint [ECF# 29]
FA-LA-0002-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/11/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judgment [dismissing defendants' motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction] [ECF# 43] (2012 WL 3061500 / 2012 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 104609) (W.D. La.)
FA-LA-0002-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 07/26/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [temporarily staying the case] [ECF# 68] (W.D. La.)
FA-LA-0002-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/04/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [granting defendants' motion to dismiss] [ECF# 69] (W.D. La.)
FA-LA-0002-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/26/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Second Amended Complaint [ECF# 77]
FA-LA-0002-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/19/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Ruling (38 F.Supp.3d 766) (W.D. La.)
FA-LA-0002-0006.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 08/13/2014
Source: Bloomberg Law
Amended Judgment [ECF# 108] (W.D. La.)
FA-LA-0002-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/14/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Appellate Order [Ct. of App. ECF# 00513757929]
FA-LA-0002-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/14/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Ruling [ECF# 139] (2019 WL 1186815) (W.D. La.)
FA-LA-0002-0009.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 03/13/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Dennis, James L. (Fifth Circuit) show/hide docs
FA-LA-0002-0008
Drell, Dee D. (W.D. La.) show/hide docs
FA-LA-0002-0002 | FA-LA-0002-0003 | FA-LA-0002-0004 | FA-LA-0002-0005 | FA-LA-0002-0006 | FA-LA-0002-0007 | FA-LA-0002-0009 | FA-LA-0002-9000
Jones, Edith Hollan (Fifth Circuit) show/hide docs
FA-LA-0002-0008
Kirk, James D. (W.D. La.) [Magistrate] show/hide docs
FA-LA-0002-0005 | FA-LA-0002-9000
Smith, Jerry Edwin (Fifth Circuit) show/hide docs
FA-LA-0002-0008
Plaintiff's Lawyers Aden, Steven H. (Virginia) show/hide docs
FA-LA-0002-9000
Baylor, Gregory S. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
FA-LA-0002-0005 | FA-LA-0002-9000 | FA-LA-0002-9001
Bowman, Matthew S. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
FA-LA-0002-9000
Cortman, David A. (Georgia) show/hide docs
FA-LA-0002-0001 | FA-LA-0002-0005 | FA-LA-0002-9000
Harle, Denise (Georgia) show/hide docs
FA-LA-0002-9000
Johnson, J. Michael (Louisiana) show/hide docs
FA-LA-0002-0001 | FA-LA-0002-0005 | FA-LA-0002-9000 | FA-LA-0002-9001
Lewis, James C. (Louisiana) show/hide docs
FA-LA-0002-9000
Stanley, Erik William (Kansas) show/hide docs
FA-LA-0002-0001 | FA-LA-0002-9000
Theriot, Kevin H. (Kansas) show/hide docs
FA-LA-0002-0001 | FA-LA-0002-0005 | FA-LA-0002-9000 | FA-LA-0002-9001
Defendant's Lawyers Barbero, Megan (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
FA-LA-0002-9001
Bennett, Michelle Renee (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
FA-LA-0002-9000
Humphreys, Bradley Philip (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
FA-LA-0002-9000 | FA-LA-0002-9001
Jed, Adam C. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
FA-LA-0002-9001
Klein, Alisa B. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
FA-LA-0002-9001
Salzman, Joshua Marc (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
FA-LA-0002-9001
Other Lawyers Amiri, Brigitte A. (New York) show/hide docs
FA-LA-0002-9000
Harrison, Justin Paul (Louisiana) show/hide docs
FA-LA-0002-9000
Lee, Jennifer (New York) show/hide docs
FA-LA-0002-9000
Mach, Daniel (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
FA-LA-0002-9000

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