On March 15, 2012, a Catholic business owner filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri under the First Amendment, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act ("RFRA"), and the Administrative Procedures Act ("APA"), against the U.S. Departments of Health and Human ...
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On March 15, 2012, a Catholic business owner filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri under the First Amendment, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act ("RFRA"), and the Administrative Procedures Act ("APA"), against the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and the Treasury. The plaintiff, represented by the American Center for Law & Justice and the Fidelis Center for Law and Policy, asked the court for both declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging that federal rules adopted pursuant to the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ("ACA") violated his religious freedom by requiring him to provide coverage for contraception through his business's group health insurance plan. Claiming that providing coverage for contraception would both contravene his Christian faith and compel speech contrary to his beliefs, the plaintiff sought an exemption from the ACA's contraception mandate for himself and other institutions with similar religious objections.
On May 21, 2012, the defendants moved to dismiss the case. The defendants argued that the plaintiff had not alleged any imminent injury, and that he thus lacked standing and had failed to state a legitimate claim. On June 11, 2012, the plaintiff filed an amended complaint, with additional facts supporting his allegation of imminent injury. The defendants moved to dismiss this amended complaint on the same grounds as the original complaint.
On September 28, 2012, the District Court (Judge Carol E. Jackson) granted the defendants' motion to dismiss the case for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. Judge Jackson found that the contraceptive coverage mandate did not impose a substantial burden on the plaintiff's religious freedom, nor did it compel the plaintiff to speak, to subsidize speech, or to subsidize expressive conduct. O'Brien v. DHHS, 894 F. Supp. 2d 1149 (E.D. Mo. 2012).
The plaintiff appealed this dismissal to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals and moved for an injunction pending appeal. On November 28, the Eighth Circuit (unsigned, with Circuit Judge Morris S. Arnold dissenting) granted a stay pending appeal, without comment. Judges William Jay Riley, Steven M. Colloton, Jane Kelly heard oral argument on October 24, 2013. On September 8, 2014, the Eighth Circuit reversed the district court’s decision and remanded the case back for proceedings consistent with the recent Supreme Court’s decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores
. On November 12, 2014, the parties filed a joint motion for entry of injunction and judgment and sought a judgment in favor of plaintiffs on their RFRA claim, a permanent injunction, and to dismiss all other claims against the defendants. On November 12, 2014, the Court entered a judgment in favor of plaintiffs on claims under RFRA, permanently enjoined defendants from enforcing the disputed June 30, 2014 Contraceptive Coverage Requirement against the plaintiff, and dismissed all other claims against defendants.
This case is now closed.Hannah Swanson - 05/27/2013
Mallory Jones - 11/26/2013
Richard Jolly - 04/05/2014
MJ Koo - 03/14/2017