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Case Name Roman Catholic Diocese of Beaumont v. Sebelius FA-TX-0007
Docket / Court 1:13-cv-00709-RC ( E.D. Tex. )
State/Territory Texas
Case Type(s) Speech and Religious Freedom
Special Collection Contraception Insurance Mandate
Case Summary
On December 10, 2013, a non-profit religious organization filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The plaintiffs alleged that the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) contraception insurance mandate ... read more >
On December 10, 2013, a non-profit religious organization filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The plaintiffs alleged that the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) contraception insurance mandate violated the First Amendment, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The plaintiffs contended that the accommodation for non-profit religious organizations was insufficient to remedy these harms. The plaintiffs sought both a preliminary and permanent injunction that would keep the government from enforcing the contraception insurance mandate against them.

On December 10, 2013, the plaintiff filed a motion for a temporary restraining order against the defendant and for a preliminary injunction. The plaintiff stated that it would be harmed as soon as the new insurance requirements became effective on January 1, 2014. Because of this impending harm, the plaintiff claimed it required an injunction, which would prevent the government from enforcing the mandate against it. The defendants opposed this motion on the grounds that the accommodation to the ACA mandate did not substantially burden the plaintiffs' religious freedom under RFRA or cause the plaintiff's irreparable harm.

On December 23, 2013, the defendant filed a motion to dismiss or summary judgment in the alternative. The defendant argued that the ACA did not substantially burden the plaintiff's exercise of religion and that, even if it did, the ACA met strict scrutiny.

On January 2, 2014, the District Court ordered that the plaintiff was entitled to a permanent injunction because the accommodation imposed a substantial burden on the free exercise of religion. Specifically, the mandate impermissibly required the head of a religious organization to sign a form that authorized a third party to provide contraception insurance coverage to the organization's employees. 10 F. Supp. 3d 725. The next day, the court ordered a final judgment and order of injunction that stated its terms and the acts restrained.

The defendants appealed on February 24, 2014. On appeal, this case was consolidated with other cases, including East Texas Baptist University v. Sebelius. The Fifth Circuit overturned the district court, stating that "the acts that violated their faith are those of third parties" and that, under RFRA, the plaintiffs did not have standing to challenge the acts of those third parties. Thus, the Fifth Circuit held that the plaintiffs could not demonstrate that the ACA, with its exemption, substantially burdened the plaintiffs' religious exercise.

The plaintiffs appealed and on May 17, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court granted a petition for writ of certiorari. The Supreme Court vacated the judgement and remanded the case, citing Zubik, which held that it was appropriate to vacate and remand so that the courts of appeals could address the arguments in response to the order for supplemental briefs. The supplemental briefing request asked parties to address how contraceptive coverage could be obtained by employees through insurance companies that did not require any involvement by plaintiffs beyond their decision to provide health insurance without contraceptive coverage. 136. S. Ct. 1557.

The court of appeals then granted defendants' motion to stay the proceedings to allow the parties to negotiate a solution in accordance with the Supreme Court's order.

On October 16, 2017, the parties filed a joint stipulation to dismiss, citing new regulations that afforded the plaintiffs an exemption. The new regulations stated that forcing the plaintiffs to choose between the contraception mandate or penalties imposed a substantial burden on religious exercise under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. On October 19, 2017, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit Court granted the joint stipulation and dismissed the case.

The case is closed.

Mallory Jones - 04/07/2014
Cianan Lesley - 03/10/2019
Cedar Hobbs - 11/03/2019


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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
Discrimination-area
Pay / Benefits
Discrimination-basis
Religion discrimination
General
Contraception
Disparate Treatment
Public benefits (includes, e.g., in-state tuition, govt. jobs)
Religious programs / policies
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Non-government non-profit
Causes of Action Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. ยงยง 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 and Human Services
U.S. Department of Labor
U.S. Department of the Treasury
Plaintiff Description A non-profit, religious organization
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
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement Voluntary Dismissal
Filing Year 2013
Case Closing Year 2017
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)
1:13−cv−00709 (E.D. Tex.)
FA-TX-0007-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/19/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Original Complaint [ECF# 1]
FA-TX-0007-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/10/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction and Brief in Support of [ECF# 3]
FA-TX-0007-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/10/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants' Memorandum in Support of Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, for Summary Judgment, And in Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 10]
FA-TX-0007-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/23/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, for Summary Judgment [ECF# 11]
FA-TX-0007-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/23/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Response to Defendants' Statement of Material Facts [ECF# 22]
FA-TX-0007-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/29/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 32] (E.D. Tex.)
FA-TX-0007-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/31/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum and Order [ECF# 33] (10 F.Supp.3d 725) (E.D. Tex.)
FA-TX-0007-0007.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 01/02/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Final Judgment and Order of Injunction [ECF# 34] (E.D. Tex.)
FA-TX-0007-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/03/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion of the Court (793 F.3d 338)
FA-TX-0007-0009.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 07/17/2015
Source: Westlaw
show all people docs
Judges Ambro, Thomas L. (Third Circuit) show/hide docs
FA-TX-0007-0009
Clark, Ron (E.D. Tex.) show/hide docs
FA-TX-0007-0006 | FA-TX-0007-0007 | FA-TX-0007-0008 | FA-TX-0007-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Cashiola, Randal G. (Texas) show/hide docs
FA-TX-0007-0001 | FA-TX-0007-0005 | FA-TX-0007-9000
Fernandez, Carolyn (Texas) show/hide docs
FA-TX-0007-0002
Defendant's Lawyers Bales, John Malcolm (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
FA-TX-0007-0003 | FA-TX-0007-0004
Delery, Stuart F. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
FA-TX-0007-0003 | FA-TX-0007-0004
Hartnett, Kathleen R. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
FA-TX-0007-0003 | FA-TX-0007-0004
Humphreys, Bradley Philip (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
FA-TX-0007-0003 | FA-TX-0007-0004 | FA-TX-0007-9000
Lieber, Sheila M. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
FA-TX-0007-0003 | FA-TX-0007-0004
Ricketts, Jennifer (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
FA-TX-0007-0003 | FA-TX-0007-0004
Other Lawyers Cowen, Michael R. (Texas) show/hide docs
FA-TX-0007-0009

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