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Case Name Korte v. United States Department of Health and Human Services FA-IL-0006
Docket / Court 3:12-cv-01072-MJR-PMF ( S.D. Ill. )
Additional Docket(s) 12-3841  [ 12-3841 ]
13-354  [ 13-354 ]  U.S. Supreme Court
State/Territory Illinois
Case Type(s) Speech and Religious Freedom
Special Collection Contraception Insurance Mandate
Case Summary
On October 9, 2012, a family of Catholic business owners filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois under the First Amendment, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act ("RFRA"), and the Administrative Procedures Act ("APA"), against the U.S. Departments of ... read more >
On October 9, 2012, a family of Catholic business owners filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois 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. They alleged that rules under the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ("ACA") violated their religious freedom by requiring them to provide coverage for contraception through their companies' group health insurance plans. Providing contraceptive coverage would contravene their Catholic faith, so the plaintiffs sought an exemption from the ACA's contraception mandate for themselves and other business owners with similar religious objections. The plaintiffs, represented by the American Center for Law & Justice, asked the court for both declaratory and injunctive relief. On October 10, the plaintiffs moved for partial summary judgment and filed for a preliminary injunction.

On December 14, 2012, District Court Judge Michael J. Reagan denied the plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction, finding that indirect financial support of subjectively objectionable conduct was not a substantial burden on the plaintiffs' religious freedom. 2012 WL 6553996. The plaintiffs appealed this denial to the Seventh Circuit (Docket No. 12-03841). On December 28, 2012, a three-judge panel granted the plaintiffs' emergency motion for an injunction pending appeal, finding that the coerced coverage of contraception imposed a substantial burden on the plaintiffs' religious freedom. Korte v. Sebelius, 2012 WL 6757353 (Judges Joel M. Flaum, Ilana Diamond Rovner, and Diane S. Sykes). On January 30, 2013, the Seventh Circuit consolidated the case with Grote v. Sebelius (FA-IN-0004) The same three-judge panel heard arguments in the case on May 22, 2013.

On November 8, 2013, the Seventh Circuit held that the plaintiffs and their companies could challenge the mandate and state a valid claim under RFRA. The Court remanded the case with instructions to the District Court to enter preliminary injunctions barring enforcement of the contraception mandate against the plaintiffs. Grote v. Sebelius, 735 F.3d 654.

The defendant agencies sought review in the Supreme Court, and on November 27, 2013, the case was stayed pending the Supreme Court's decision in Hobby LobbyBurwell v. Hobby Lobby (also known as Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius) and Conestoga Wood Specialities Corps. The Hobby Lobby decision was issued on June 30, 2014. 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. The Court emphasized that alternative methods for meeting the government's asserted interest were available. 134 S.Ct. 2751. The next day, the Supreme Court denied the government's certiorari petition for review in this case. 134 S.Ct. 2902.

On July 28, 2014, the district court lifted the stay. On August 12, 2014, the Seventh Circuit awarded the plaintiffs $578.80 in costs. On November 7, 2014, the Court granted the joint motion for summary judgment in favor of the plaintiffs on their RFRA claim, entered a permanent injunction against enforcement of the contraception services mandate, and dismissed all other claims against the defendants. Finally, on February 26, 2015, the district court entered judgment in favor of the plaintiffs, and noted that the parties had reached an independent settlement on attorneys' fees and costs. The case is closed.

Emma Lawton - 11/17/2013
Richard Jolly - 03/23/2014
Kate Craddock - 02/21/2016
Nathaniel Flack - 10/30/2018


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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 granted
Defendant-type
Hospital/Health Department
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-basis
Religion discrimination
General
Abortion
Contraception
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. ยงยง 551 et seq.
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 Business owners opposing the contraception coverage mandate under the Affordable Care Act for religious reasons.
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 Litigation
Settlement
Filing Year 2012
Case Closing Year 2015
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing FA-IN-0004 : Grote Industries v. Sebelius (S.D. Ind.)
FA-IL-0005 : Ozinga v. Sebelius (N.D. Ill.)
FA-IL-0004 : Triune Health Group, Inc. v. U.S. Dep't of Health and Human Servs. (N.D. Ill.)
Docket(s)
3:12-cv-01072-MJR-PMF (S.D. Ill.)
FA-IL-0006-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/26/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 2]
FA-IL-0006-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/09/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum and Order [ECF# 54] (912 F.Supp.2d 735) (S.D. Ill.)
FA-IL-0006-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 12/14/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Granting Emergency Motion for Injunction Pending Appeal] [Ct. of App. ECF# 63] (2012 WL 6757353)
FA-IL-0006-0007.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 12/28/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Court of Appeals Opinion (735 F.3d 654)
FA-IL-0006-0008.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 11/08/2013
Source: U.S. Court of Appeals website
Certiorari -- Summary Disposition (134 S.Ct. 2902)
FA-IL-0006-0009.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 07/01/2014
Source: Supreme Court website
Order [Ct. of App. ECF# 80]
FA-IL-0006-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/12/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order of Injunction [ECF# 89] (S.D. Ill.)
FA-IL-0006-0011.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/07/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judgment in a Civil Case [ECF# 94] (S.D. Ill.)
FA-IL-0006-0012.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/26/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Flaum, Joel Martin (N.D. Ill., Seventh Circuit)
FA-IL-0006-0007 | FA-IL-0006-0008
Frazier, Philip M. (S.D. Ill.) [Magistrate]
FA-IL-0006-9000
Reagan, Michael Joseph (S.D. Ill.)
FA-IL-0006-0002 | FA-IL-0006-0011 | FA-IL-0006-0012 | FA-IL-0006-9000
Rovner, Ilana Kara Diamond (N.D. Ill., Seventh Circuit)
FA-IL-0006-0007 | FA-IL-0006-0008
Sykes, Diane S. (Seventh Circuit)
FA-IL-0006-0007 | FA-IL-0006-0008 | FA-IL-0006-0010
Plaintiff's Lawyers Kennedy, Thomas E (Missouri)
FA-IL-0006-9000
Manion, Francis J (Kentucky)
FA-IL-0006-0001 | FA-IL-0006-9000
Surtees, Geoffrey R. (Kentucky)
FA-IL-0006-0001 | FA-IL-0006-9000
White, Edward L. III (Michigan)
FA-IL-0006-0001 | FA-IL-0006-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Humphreys, Bradley Philip (District of Columbia)
FA-IL-0006-9000
Other Lawyers Amiri, Brigitte A. (New York)
FA-IL-0006-9000
Chaiten, Lorie (Illinois)
FA-IL-0006-9000
Clark, Stephan Robert (Missouri)
FA-IL-0006-9000
Dewart, Deborah Jane (North Carolina)
FA-IL-0006-9000
Navarro, Heather B. (Missouri)
FA-IL-0006-9000

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