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Case Name Stewart v. Sebelius FA-DC-0011
Docket / Court 1:13-cv-01879-RCL ( D.D.C. )
State/Territory District of Columbia
Case Type(s) Speech and Religious Freedom
Special Collection Contraception Insurance Mandate
Case Summary
This is one of many lawsuits brought challenging the Obama administration's 2012 Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate requiring employers to pay for employees' contraception and abortifacients via medical insurance coverage. Many religious hospitals, charities, universities, and other ... read more >
This is one of many lawsuits brought challenging the Obama administration's 2012 Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate requiring employers to pay for employees' contraception and abortifacients via medical insurance coverage. Many religious hospitals, charities, universities, and other enterprises owned or controlled by religious organizations or individuals who opposed contraception on doctrinal grounds, argued the mandate violated their religious beliefs. For a full list of these cases please see our collection of the Contraception Insurance Mandate cases here.

On November 4, 2013, the managing member of a private company, and the company, Encompass Develop, Design, and Construct, LLC, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against the United States Department of Labor, the United States Department of Health and Human Services, and United States Department of the Treasury. The plaintiffs brought the suit under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), alleging defendants violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), the First Amendment, and the Fifth Amendment. Plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, asked the court to issue a preliminary and permanent injunction prohibiting enforcement of provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and extending universal contraception coverage to employer-sponsored private health insurance coverage. Specifically, plaintiffs claimed that providing, paying for, or facilitating access to such services was inconsistent with its religious beliefs and contended that compliance with the contraception requirement was a substantial burden on their religious exercise.

On February 28, 2014, plaintiffs filed an unopposed motion for preliminary injunction and stay of proceedings pending the Supreme Court's ruling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., the first case that the Supreme Court took up challenging the Contraception Mandate. The case had substantially similar facts to the case at hand, as it featured a closely-held for-profit company alleging that the Contraceptive Mandate violated the owner's religious beliefs. That case is discussed at length here.

On June 30, 2014, the Supreme Court released its decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores Inc., 134 S. Ct.2751 (2014). There the Court held that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) permitted for-profit corporations that are closely held (e.g., owned by a family or family trust) to refuse, on religious grounds, to pay for legally mandated coverage of certain contraceptive drugs and devices in their employees’ health insurance plans.

On February 2, 2015, the Court—with both parties consenting—entered judgment in favor of the plaintiff, and issued a permanent injunction, due to the ruling in Hobby Lobby. The defendant was enjoined from enforcing the “Contraceptive Coverage Requirement,” that required the plaintiff to provide its employees with health coverage for contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and related patient education and counseling to which the plaintiff objected on religious grounds. It also barred defendant from taking any actions against plaintiff for noncompliance with the "Contraception Coverage Requirement." All other complaints against defendant were dismissed. The only issue left undecided was the plaintiff's attorneys' fees.

The parties reached an undisclosed agreement regarding attorneys' fees on June 1, 2015, and asked the court to close the case. The case is now closed.

Richard Jolly - 05/05/2014
Michael Beech - 04/05/2019


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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
Defendant-type
Hospital/Health Department
Discrimination-area
Pay / Benefits
Discrimination-basis
Religion discrimination
General
Contraception
Religious programs / policies
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Non-government for profit
Causes of Action Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Religious Freedom Rest. Act/Religious Land Use and Inst. Persons Act (RFRA/RLUIPA)
Defendant(s) Department of Health and Human Services
Department of Labor
Department of Treasury
Plaintiff Description Managing member of a privately-held company
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 Private Settlement Agreement
Voluntary Dismissal
Order Duration 2015 - n/a
Filing Year 2013
Case Closing Year 2015
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-01879-RCL (D.D.C.)
FA-DC-0011-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/06/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
FA-DC-0011-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/27/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiff's Unopposed Motion for Preliminary Injunction and Stay of Proceedings [ECF# 5]
FA-DC-0011-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/28/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order and Judgment [ECF# 9] (D.D.C.)
FA-DC-0011-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/02/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Lamberth, Royce C. (FISC, D.D.C.) show/hide docs
FA-DC-0011-0002 | FA-DC-0011-9000
Moss, Randolph Daniel (D.D.C.) show/hide docs
FA-DC-0011-0003
Plaintiff's Lawyers Beauman, Bryan H. (Kentucky) show/hide docs
FA-DC-0011-0001 | FA-DC-0011-0002 | FA-DC-0011-9000
Elliott, Clinton J. (Kentucky) show/hide docs
FA-DC-0011-0001 | FA-DC-0011-0002
Garza, John R. (Maryland) show/hide docs
FA-DC-0011-0001 | FA-DC-0011-0002 | FA-DC-0011-9000

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