University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Roman Catholic Diocese of Nashville v. Sebelius FA-TN-0001
Docket / Court 3:13-cv-01303 ( M.D. Tenn. )
Additional Docket(s) 13-6640  [ 13-6640 ]
State/Territory Tennessee
Case Type(s) Speech and Religious Freedom
Special Collection Contraception Insurance Mandate
Case Summary
On November 22, 2013, a group of nonprofit religious organizations filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Administrative Procedure Act and the First Amendment against the U.S. Department of Health and Human ... read more >
On November 22, 2013, a group of nonprofit religious organizations filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Administrative Procedure Act and the First Amendment against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The plaintiff asked the court for an exception to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandate requiring employers to provide health insurance coverage of contraception. Specifically, the plaintiff claimed that providing insurance coverage of contraception, even with the ACA's accommodation for religious organizations, would violate the deeply held religious beliefs of the organization.

On November 26, 2013, the plaintiffs filed a motion for a preliminary injunction. On December 11, 2013, the defendant filed a motion to dismiss, or, alternatively, for summary judgment. On December 26, 2013, the district court (Judge Todd J. Campbell) denied a preliminary injunction on the grounds that the plaintiffs were unlikely to succeed in their lawsuit. The same day, the plaintiff filed an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (No. 13-6640) and filed a separate motion for injunctive relief pending appeal. On December 27, 2013, the district court denied this relief pending the appeal.

On December 31, 2013, the Court of Appeals granted plaintiff's motion for emergency injunctive relief. On January 13, 2014, the Court of Appeals granted defendant's motion to consolidate this appeal with Michigan Catholic Conference v. Sebelius (No. 13-2723).

Oral argument occurred on May 8, 2014, before Circuit Judges Karen Nelson Moore and John M. Rogers, and District Judge John Nixon (sitting by designation). On June 11, 2014, in an opinion by Judge Moore, the Sixth Circuit affirmed the district judge's denial of a preliminary injunction, for all plaintiffs. Organizations exempt from the contraception mandate faced no burden on their exercise of their religion, and they were therefore 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, Judge Moore explained. For similar reasons, the law did not violate the First Amendment's Free Speech, Free Exercise, or Establishment Clauses.

On August 21, 2015, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s decision denying preliminary injunctive reliefs to plaintiffs on all claims. The plaintiffs filed a petition for a writ of certiorari on March 9, 2016. On May 26, 2016 the Supreme Court granted the petition, vacated the Sixth Circuit's ruling, and remanded the case back to the lower court in light of Zubik v. Burwell (See FA-PA-0016 in this Clearinghouse). On November 30, 2016, the case was reassigned to Judge Trauger following Judge Todd Campbell’s retirement.

As of March 2017, this case is ongoing in the Sixth Circuit.

Mallory Jones - 03/31/2014
- 06/12/2014
MJ Koo - 03/14/2017


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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 non-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 and Human Services
U.S. Department of Labor
U.S. Department of the Treasury
Plaintiff Description A group of non-profit, Catholic organizations who believe that the ACA's contraception insurance mandate violates their religious freedom
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing FA-MI-0014 : Michigan Catholic Conference v. Sebelius (W.D. Mich.)
FA-PA-0010 : Zubik v. Burwell [II] (W.D. Pa.)
FA-TN-0002 : Union University v. Sebelius (W.D. Tenn.)
FA-MI-0006 : Weingartz Supply Co. v. Sebelius (E.D. Mich.)
Docket(s)
3:13−cv−01303 (M.D. Tenn.)
FA-TN-0001-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/30/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
FA-TN-0001-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/22/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction and Request for Oral Argument [ECF# 14]
FA-TN-0001-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/26/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum of Law in Support of Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 26]
FA-TN-0001-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/26/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, for Summary Jurgment [ECF# 38]
FA-TN-0001-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/11/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants' Combined Memorandum in Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction, and in Support of Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, for Summary Judgment [ECF# 41]
FA-TN-0001-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/11/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 66] (M.D. Tenn.)
FA-TN-0001-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/23/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum [ECF# 65] (2013 WL 6834375) (M.D. Tenn.)
FA-TN-0001-0006.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 12/26/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Notice of Interlocutory Appeal [ECF# 67]
FA-TN-0001-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/26/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction Pending Appeal [ECF# 68]
FA-TN-0001-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/26/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 70] (M.D. Tenn.)
FA-TN-0001-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/26/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion [U.S Court of Appeals Affirming District Courts' Denial of Preliminary Injunctions] [Ct. of App. ECF# 58-1] (755 F.3d 372)
FA-TN-0001-0011.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 06/11/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion [Ct. of App. ECF# 82-2] (807 F.3d 738)
FA-TN-0001-0012.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 08/21/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Campbell, Todd J. (M.D. Tenn.)
FA-TN-0001-0006 | FA-TN-0001-0007 | FA-TN-0001-0007 | FA-TN-0001-9000
Knowles, E. Clifton (M.D. Tenn.) [Magistrate]
FA-TN-0001-9000
Moore, Karen Nelson (Sixth Circuit) [Magistrate]
FA-TN-0001-0011 | FA-TN-0001-0012
Rogers, John M. (Sixth Circuit) [Magistrate]
FA-TN-0001-0011
Trauger, Aleta Arthur (M.D. Tenn.)
FA-TN-0001-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Aguilar, Antonio J. (Tennessee)
FA-TN-0001-0001 | FA-TN-0001-0002 | FA-TN-0001-0003 | FA-TN-0001-0008 | FA-TN-0001-0009 | FA-TN-0001-9000
Harvey, Robb S. (Tennessee)
FA-TN-0001-0002 | FA-TN-0001-0003 | FA-TN-0001-0008 | FA-TN-0001-0009 | FA-TN-0001-9000
Kairis, Matthew A (Ohio)
FA-TN-0001-0001 | FA-TN-0001-0002 | FA-TN-0001-0003 | FA-TN-0001-0008 | FA-TN-0001-0009 | FA-TN-0001-9000
Marchetti, Louis Gino Jr. (Tennessee)
FA-TN-0001-0001 | FA-TN-0001-0002 | FA-TN-0001-0003 | FA-TN-0001-0008 | FA-TN-0001-0009 | FA-TN-0001-9000
Palmisciano, Melissa D (Ohio)
FA-TN-0001-0001 | FA-TN-0001-0002 | FA-TN-0001-0003 | FA-TN-0001-0008 | FA-TN-0001-0009 | FA-TN-0001-9000
Pietsch, Matthew Christopher (Tennessee)
FA-TN-0001-0001 | FA-TN-0001-0002 | FA-TN-0001-0003 | FA-TN-0001-0008 | FA-TN-0001-0009 | FA-TN-0001-9000
Ranjan, Brandy H (Ohio)
FA-TN-0001-0001 | FA-TN-0001-0002 | FA-TN-0001-0003 | FA-TN-0001-0008 | FA-TN-0001-0009 | FA-TN-0001-9000
Sturm, Lauran Meg (Tennessee)
FA-TN-0001-0002 | FA-TN-0001-0003 | FA-TN-0001-0008 | FA-TN-0001-0009 | FA-TN-0001-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Delery, Stuart F. (District of Columbia)
FA-TN-0001-0004 | FA-TN-0001-0005
Hartnett, Kathleen R. (District of Columbia)
FA-TN-0001-0004 | FA-TN-0001-0005
Lieber, Sheila M. (District of Columbia)
FA-TN-0001-0004 | FA-TN-0001-0005
Pruski, Jacek (District of Columbia)
FA-TN-0001-0004 | FA-TN-0001-0005 | FA-TN-0001-9000
Ricketts, Jennifer (District of Columbia)
FA-TN-0001-0004 | FA-TN-0001-0005
Rivera, David (Tennessee)
FA-TN-0001-0004 | FA-TN-0001-0005
Saltman, Julie Shana (District of Columbia)
FA-TN-0001-9000
Other Lawyers Amiri, Brigitte A. (New York)
FA-TN-0001-9000
Castelli, Thomas H. (Tennessee)
FA-TN-0001-9000
Lee, Jennifer (New York)
FA-TN-0001-9000
Mach, Daniel (District of Columbia)
FA-TN-0001-9000

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