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Case Name Weingartz Supply Co. v. Sebelius FA-MI-0006
Docket / Court 2:12-cv-12061-RHC-MJH ( E.D. Mich. )
State/Territory Michigan
Case Type(s) Speech and Religious Freedom
Special Collection Contraception Insurance Mandate
Case Summary
On May 7, 2012, (1) Legatus, an organization of Catholic business persons and their spouses, together with (2) Weingartz Supply Co., a for-profit business and (3) its owner, Daniel Weingartz, also a Legatus member, filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan ... read more >
On May 7, 2012, (1) Legatus, an organization of Catholic business persons and their spouses, together with (2) Weingartz Supply Co., a for-profit business and (3) its owner, Daniel Weingartz, also a Legatus member, filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. The plaintiffs sued the federal government under 42 U.S.C. §1983, the Administrative Procedures Act (APA), and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel and Thomas More Law Center, a Catholic non-profit legal service, claimed that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandate that required employers to provide health insurance coverage of contraception violated the owners' religious beliefs. The plaintiffs sought both declaratory and injunctive relief, specifically an exemption from the ACA's contraception mandate for themselves and other business owners with similar religious objections. The case was assigned to District Judge Robert H. Cleland.

On Oct. 31, 2012, the court granted a preliminary injunction as to Weingartz Supply Co. and its owner, but denied without prejudice Legatus's injunction motion, finding that as a Catholic non-profit organization, Legatus did not have standing to challenge the contraceptive mandate because it was protected by a temporary safe harbor while the Government amended the final regulations regarding the religious employer exemption. The court also instructed the Government to file monthly reports on the status of the amendment process. Legatus v. Sebelius, 901 F. Supp. 2d 980 (E.D. Mich. 2012).

The defendants appealed the Weingartz Supply Co. preliminary injunction order to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (Docket No. 13-01092), and Legatus appealed the denial of its motion for an injunction (Docket No. 13-01093). The Sixth Circuit consolidated the appeals. On Jan. 28, 2013, all of the defendants jointly moved to stay the district court proceedings pending the appeals, and Judge Cleland granted the motion three days later.

The Government published the amended final regulations of the ACA on July 2, 2013. Legatus voluntarily dismissed its appeal and moved to lift the stay. On Aug. 9, 2013, the district court lifted the stay and reopened the case only with respect to Legatus and the defendants.

On Aug. 30, 2013, Legatus amended its complaint to challenge the updated regulations. Legatus argued that the accommodations put forth in the amended regulation required the plaintiffs to provide self-certification to their insurance provider setting forth their religious objections, which in turn would trigger an obligation on the part of the insurance provider to procure the disputed services. On Sept. 20, 2013, Legatus moved for a preliminary injunction against enforcement of the relevant provisions of the ACA under the RFRA.

On Oct. 1, 2013, the Sixth Circuit granted the defendants-appellants' motion to waive oral argument. The panel requested that the parties file supplemental briefs by Oct. 15, 2013, addressing the effect of Autocam Corp. v. Sebelius, 730 F.3d 618 (6th Cir. 2013), a recent Sixth Circuit decision, on the appeal.

On Dec. 20, 2013, Judge Cleland granted Legatus' motion for a preliminary injunction. The court found that the defendant's stated interests of promoting public health generally and promoting gender equality, while compelling, were not directly related to promoting the specific interests asserted in this litigation. Likewise, the contraception mandate was not the least restrictive means of furthering that interest. Finally, the court found that a failure to grant a preliminary injunction would result in irreparable harm to Legatus.

On Feb. 12, 2014, the defendants moved for an interlocutory appeal of the district court's ruling.

On Apr. 7, 2014, the defendants moved to consolidate the two new appeals with Ave Maria Foundation v. Sebelius and to hold briefing in abeyance pending the resolution of Catholic Diocese of Nashville v. Sebelius, No. 13-6440, and Michigan Catholic Conference v. Sebelius, No. 13-2373, two appeals presenting substantially the same questions of law already pending before the Sixth Circuit and scheduled for oral argument on May 8, 2013. On May 5, 2014, the Sixth Circuit granted the motion.

The Sixth Circuit issued a decision in Michigan Catholic Conference v. Sebelius on June 11, 2014. In an opinion by Circuit Judge Karen Nelson Moore, the court affirmed the district judge's denial of a preliminary injunction to all plaintiffs. The opinion found that organizations exempt from the contraception mandate faced no burden on their exercise of their religion, and therefore were unlikely to succeed in proving a violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. And organizations eligible to receive an "accommodation" under the law needed only to provide a "self-certification" that documented that they had a religious objection. This self-certification did not constitute an unlawful religious burden. For similar reasons, the law did not violate the First Amendment's free speech, free exercise, or establishment clauses. Michigan Catholic Conference v. Burwell, 755 F.3d 372 (6th Cir. 2014).

However, on June 30, 2014, the Supreme Court issued a decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., 134 S. Ct. 2751 (2014), a substantially similar case. In a 5-4 opinion by Justice Alito, the Court held that the HHS regulations imposing the contraceptive mandate violated RFRA, when applied to closely-held for-profit corporations. 

In light of this decision, on Dec. 31, 2014, the District Court entered an injunction and judgment in favor of Weingartz Supply Co. and its owner. The injunction prevented the government from enforcing the contraceptive coverage mandate as it existed on June 30, 2014, against the corporate entity and its owner, and directed the parties to come to an agreement on attorneys' fees and costs. The ruling did not impact Legatus' claims.



On Apr. 15, 2015, Weingartz Supply Co. and its owner notified the district court that they had reached an agreement on attorneys' fees and costs - they did not specify the details of the agreement - and that no further proceedings were necessary.

In the Sixth Circuit, the plaintiffs in the consolidated appeal moved for voluntary dismissal of their appeals, which the Sixth Circuit panel granted on Nov. 9, 2017.

On Feb. 2, 2018, all plaintiffs filed a stipulation of dismissal in district court, and it appears the case is now closed.

Hannah Swanson - 05/27/2013
Mallory Jones - 11/26/2013
Kate Craddock - 02/29/2016
Elizabeth Greiter - 03/20/2018


compress summary

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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
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief denied
Preliminary relief granted
Defendant-type
Hospital/Health Department
Discrimination-basis
Religion discrimination
General
Contraception
Religious programs / policies
Plaintiff Type
Closely-held (for profit) corporation
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Non-government for profit
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Religious Freedom Rest. Act/Religious Land Use and Inst. Persons Act (RFRA/RLUIPA)
Defendant(s) U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services
U.S. Dept. of Labor
U.S. Dept. of the Treasury
Plaintiff Description A for-profit business and its owners seeking an exception to the Affordable Care Act's mandate requiring employers to provide health insurance coverage of contraception because it violated the owners' religious beliefs.
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
Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Voluntary Dismissal
Filing Year 2012
Case Closing Year 2018
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing FA-MI-0013 : The Ave Maria Foundation v. Sebelius (E.D. Mich.)
FA-OK-0001 : Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores (W.D. Okla.)
FA-MI-0005 : Autocam Corp. v. Sebelius (W.D. Mich.)
FA-TN-0001 : Roman Catholic Diocese of Nashville v. Sebelius (M.D. Tenn.)
FA-MI-0014 : Michigan Catholic Conference v. Sebelius (W.D. Mich.)
Docket(s)
2:12-cv-12061 (E.D. Mich.)
FA-MI-0006-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/02/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
FA-MI-0006-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/07/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Notice of Motion and Brief for Temporary Restraining Order [ECF# 9]
FA-MI-0006-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/25/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Motion and Brief for Preliminary Injunction Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 65(a) [ECF# 13]
FA-MI-0006-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/15/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amici Curiae Brief of the American Civil Liberties Union and the American Civil Liberties Fund of Michigan in Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 22]
FA-MI-0006-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/17/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Attorney General Bill Schuette's Amicus Brief in Support of Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 35]
FA-MI-0006-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/28/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Daniel Weingartz and Weingartz Supply Company's Motion for Preliminary Injunction and Denying Without Prejudice Plaintiff Legatus's Motion for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 39] (E.D. Mich.)
FA-MI-0006-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/31/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Stay of District Court Proceedings and Administratively Closing Case [ECF# 53] (E.D. Mich.)
FA-MI-0006-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/31/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Ct. of App. ECF# 006111785415]
FA-MI-0006-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/14/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint [ECF# 64]
FA-MI-0006-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/30/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order and Opinion Granting Plaintiff Legatus' Motion for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 91] (988 F.Supp.2d 794) (E.D. Mich.)
FA-MI-0006-0010.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 12/20/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Injunction and Judgment as to Plaintiffs Weingartz Supply Company and Daniel Weingartz [ECF# 98] (E.D. Mich.)
FA-MI-0006-0011.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/31/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Cleland, Robert Hardy (E.D. Mich.)
FA-MI-0006-0004 | FA-MI-0006-0005 | FA-MI-0006-0010 | FA-MI-0006-0011 | FA-MI-0006-9000
Hluchaniuk, Michael J. (E.D. Mich.) [Magistrate]
FA-MI-0006-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers LiMandri, Charles Salvatore (California)
FA-MI-0006-0001 | FA-MI-0006-0009
Mendoza, Teresa (California)
FA-MI-0006-0001 | FA-MI-0006-0009
Mersino, Erin Elizabeth (Michigan)
FA-MI-0006-0001 | FA-MI-0006-0002 | FA-MI-0006-0003 | FA-MI-0006-0009 | FA-MI-0006-9000
Thompson, Richard (Michigan)
FA-MI-0006-0001 | FA-MI-0006-0003 | FA-MI-0006-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Bennett, Michelle Renee (District of Columbia)
FA-MI-0006-9000
Davis, Ethan P. (District of Columbia)
FA-MI-0006-9000
Other Lawyers Amiri, Brigitte A. (New York)
FA-MI-0006-0006 | FA-MI-0006-9000
Bursch, John J. (Michigan)
FA-MI-0006-0007
Davis, Robert C. (Michigan)
FA-MI-0006-9000
Lee, Jennifer (New York)
FA-MI-0006-9000
Mehta, Sarah L. (Michigan)
FA-MI-0006-0006 | FA-MI-0006-9000
Moss, Kary L. (Michigan)
FA-MI-0006-0006
Restuccia, B. Eric (Michigan)
FA-MI-0006-0007 | FA-MI-0006-9000
Schuette, Bill (Michigan)
FA-MI-0006-0007
Steinberg, Michael J. (Michigan)
FA-MI-0006-0006 | FA-MI-0006-9000

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