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Case Name Beckwith v. Sebelius FA-FL-0005
Docket / Court 13-cv-648 ( M.D. Fla. )
State/Territory Florida
Case Type(s) Speech and Religious Freedom
Special Collection Contraception Insurance Mandate
Case Summary
On March 12, 2013, a for-profit company filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Administrative Procedure Act and First Amendment against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The plaintiff, represented ... read more >
On March 12, 2013, a for-profit company filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Administrative Procedure Act and First Amendment against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The plaintiff, represented by the public interest firm Thomas More Law Center, sought an exception to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandate requiring employers to provide health insurance coverage for contraception. Specifically, the plaintiff claimed that providing insurance coverage for specific forms of contraception, including the morning-after pill and the intrauterine device (IUD), would violate the religious beliefs of the corporation's owners. The plaintiff also asked that the court declare the contraception insurance mandate unconstitutional.

On March 13, 2013, the plaintiff filed a motion for preliminary injunction. The defendant opposed this motion on the grounds that the plaintiff had not suffered harm upon which relief could be granted. The defendant argued that the plaintiff, as a corporation, could not exercise religion and could not suffer a violation of its religious beliefs. Oral argument took place on June 17, 2013. On June 25, 2013, Judge Elizabeth A. Kovachevich granted the plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction. 960 F.Supp.2d 1328.

On August 22, 2013, the defendant appealed this order to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. The following day, the defendants moved to stay the district court proceedings pending the resolution of the appeal, and Judge Kovachevich granted this motion on August 26, 2013.

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. 

Presumably based on this decision, the defendants moved to voluntarily dismiss the appeal, and this motion was granted on September 4, 2014.

Also in light of the decision, on February 9, 2015, the parties jointly submitted a Joint Motion for Entry of Injunction and Judgment, which stated that judgment should be entered in favor of the plaintiffs on their Religious Freedom Restoration Act claim, that a permanent injunction should be entered, and that all other claims against the defendants should be dismissed. On February 10, 2015, Judge Kovachevich issued a judgment accepting the parties' submission, and on February 11, 2015, judgment was entered in favor of the plaintiffs.

On July 22, 2015, the parties notified the court that they reached an agreement on attorneys' fees and costs, the terms of which are unknown. The case is now closed.

Mallory Jones - 01/28/2014
Elizabeth Greiter - 11/16/2017


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Establishment Clause
Free Exercise Clause
Freedom of speech/association
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
Defendant-type
Hospital/Health Department
Discrimination-basis
Religion discrimination
General
Contraception
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Non-government for profit
Causes of Action 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. Department of Health
U.S. Department of Labor
U.S. Department of the Treasury
Plaintiff Description A for-profit corporation that believed that the ACA's contraception coverage mandate violated the owner's religious beliefs.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Voluntary Dismissal
Order Duration 2013 - n/a
Case Closing Year 2015
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing FA-OK-0001 : Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius (W.D. Okla.)
Docket(s)
13-cv-648 (M.D. Fla.)
FA-FL-0005-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/22/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction and Local Rule [ECF# 10]
FA-FL-0005-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/13/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant's Brief in Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 23]
FA-FL-0005-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/28/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amicus Curiae Brief of the American Civil Liberties Union and the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida in Opposition to the Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 23]
FA-FL-0005-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/28/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum of the State of Florida By Attorney General Pam Bondi, as Amicus Curiae in Support of Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 36] (M.D. Fla.)
FA-FL-0005-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/06/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order on Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 39] (960 F.Supp.2d 1328) (M.D. Fla.)
FA-FL-0005-0005.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 06/25/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Unopposed Motion to Stay Proceedings [ECF# 45]
FA-FL-0005-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/23/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order on Defendants' Unopposed Motion for Stay [ECF# 46] (M.D. Fla.)
FA-FL-0005-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/26/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida [ECF# 49]
FA-FL-0005-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/05/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Joint Motion for Entry of Injunction and Judgment [ECF# 51]
FA-FL-0005-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/09/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order of Injunction and Judgment [ECF# 52] (M.D. Fla.)
FA-FL-0005-0012.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/10/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Kovachevich, Elizabeth Anne (M.D. Fla.)
FA-FL-0005-0005 | FA-FL-0005-0007 | FA-FL-0005-0012 | FA-FL-0005-9000
Pizzo, Mark A. (M.D. Fla.) [Magistrate]
FA-FL-0005-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Mersino, Erin Elizabeth (Michigan)
FA-FL-0005-0001 | FA-FL-0005-0010 | FA-FL-0005-9000
Pizzo, Paul R. (Florida)
FA-FL-0005-0001 | FA-FL-0005-9000
Richards, Scott (Florida)
FA-FL-0005-0001 | FA-FL-0005-9000
Thompson, Richard (Michigan)
FA-FL-0005-0001 | FA-FL-0005-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Bennett, Michele (District of Columbia)
FA-FL-0005-0010 | FA-FL-0005-9000
Bentley, A. Lee III (Florida)
FA-FL-0005-0010
Branda, Joyce R. (District of Columbia)
FA-FL-0005-0010
Delery, Stuart F. (District of Columbia)
FA-FL-0005-0002 | FA-FL-0005-0006
Gershengorn, Ian Heath (District of Columbia)
FA-FL-0005-0002 | FA-FL-0005-0006
Kenneth, Michael (Florida)
FA-FL-0005-0002 | FA-FL-0005-0006
Lieber, Sheila M. (District of Columbia)
FA-FL-0005-0002 | FA-FL-0005-0006
O'neill, Robert E (District of Columbia)
FA-FL-0005-0002 | FA-FL-0005-0006
Pollack, Michael Charles (District of Columbia)
FA-FL-0005-0002 | FA-FL-0005-9000
Ricketts, Jennifer (District of Columbia)
FA-FL-0005-0002 | FA-FL-0005-0006 | FA-FL-0005-0010
Other Lawyers Bondi, Pamela Jo (Florida)
FA-FL-0005-0004
Gannam, Roger K. (Florida)
FA-FL-0005-9000
Kayanan, Maria (Florida)
FA-FL-0005-0003 | FA-FL-0005-9000
Mach, Daniel (District of Columbia)
FA-FL-0005-0003
MacMillan, Yvette Acosta (Florida)
FA-FL-0005-0003 | FA-FL-0005-9000
Winship, Blaine H (Florida)
FA-FL-0005-9000

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