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Case Name University of Notre Dame v. Sebelius FA-IN-0005
Docket / Court 3:13-cv-01276 ( N.D. Ind. )
State/Territory Indiana
Case Type(s) Speech and Religious Freedom
Special Collection Contraception Insurance Mandate
Case Summary
On December 3, 2013, the University of Notre Dame, a religious nonprofit university, filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Notre Dame alleged that the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) ... read more >
On December 3, 2013, the University of Notre Dame, a religious nonprofit university, filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Notre Dame alleged that the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) contraception insurance mandate, even with the accommodation for nonprofit religious organizations, violated the Establishment Clause and Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Notre Dame sought preliminary and permanent injunctions barring the government from enforcing the contraception insurance mandate to avoid a violation of Notre Dame's deeply held religious beliefs.

On December 20, 2013, the District Court (Judge Philip P. Simon) denied Notre Dame's motion for preliminary injunction. The Court found that the ACA's insurance accommodation, which allowed the head of an eligible organization to provide self-certification which in turn triggered a third-party administrator to provide contraception coverage to the organization's employees, did not impose a substantial burden on the free exercise of the religion. University of Notre Dame v. Sebelius, 988 F.Supp.2d 912 (N.D. IN. 2013) The same day, Notre Dame filed an interlocutory appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (No. 13-3853) and a motion for preliminary injunction with the District Court pending their appeal.

On December 23, 2013, the District Court denied the plaintiff's motion for injunction pending appeal and on December 30, 2013, the Seventh Circuit denied the plaintiff's emergency motion for injunction pending appeal.

On February 21, 2014, the Seventh Circuit (Judge Richard Posner) affirmed the District Court's denial of preliminary injunction. The Court of Appeals found that the ACA's insurance accommodation was consistent with the balancing act required by RFRA and therefore it did not substantially burden the free exercise of plaintiffs. University of Notre Dame v. Sebelius, 743 F.3d 547 (N.D. IN. 2014). On May 7, 2014, the Seventh Circuit denied plaintiffs' April 4, 2014, motion for rehearing.

Notre Dame sought review in the Supreme Court, and on March 9, 2015, the Court granted the writ of certiorari, vacated the judgment, and remanded the case to the Seventh Circuit for further consideration in light of its decision (after the Seventh Circuit's decision) in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., 134 S. Ct. 2751 (2014). Univ. of Notre Dame v. Burwell, 135 U.S. 1258 (2015) (cert. granted). In Hobby Lobby, the Supreme Court had held that the HHS regulations imposing the contraceptive mandate violated RFRA, when applied to closely held for-profit corporations. The Court emphasized, however, that alternative methods for meeting the government's asserted interest were available.

On remand, after hearing oral arguments on April 22, 2015, the Seventh Circuit affirmed the District Court's denial of preliminary injunction on May 19, 2015, holding that Notre Dame had still not met its burden of establishing an entitlement to a preliminary injunction. Univ. of Notre Dame v. Burwell, 786 F.3d 606 (7th Cir. 2015).

On June 17, 2016, the Supreme Court remanded the case back to Seventh Circuit in light of the Supreme Court's decision in Zubik v. Burwell, 578 U.S. ––– (2016). Univ. of Notre Dame v. Burwell, 136 S. Ct. 2007 (2016). The Supreme Court explained that through the Zubik litigation, the petitioners made the Government aware of their view that they met requirements for exemption from the contraceptive coverage requirement on religious grounds, and nothing precluded the Government from relying on this notice.

As it appeared that proceedings in the Seventh Circuit would continue for some time, in district court the case was administratively closed on March 2, 2017, until the appellate proceedings concluded. Meanwhile, in circuit court the parties engaged in settlement negotiations and were required to file status reports.

On October 7, 2017, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a new rule offering an exemption to any employer that objects to covering contraception services on the basis of sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions. Thus, on October 17, 2017, the Seventh Circuit closed the case after the parties filed a joint stipulation to dismiss the appeal.

Mallory Jones - 04/07/2014
Richard Jolly - 05/11/2014
Beth Richardson - 07/08/2015
MJ Koo - 03/14/2017


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Establishment Clause
Free Exercise Clause
Freedom of speech/association
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief denied
Defendant-type
Hospital/Health Department
Discrimination-basis
Religion discrimination
General
Abortion
Contraception
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit religious organization
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 non-profit, religious university.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Policy change
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Voluntary Dismissal
Filing Year 2013
Case Closing Year 2017
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing FA-IN-0001 : University of Notre Dame v. Sebelius (N.D. Ind.)
FA-IN-0002 : Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend v. Burwell (N.D. Ind.)
Docket(s)
13-3853 (U.S. Court of Appeals)
FA-IN-0005-9001.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/17/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
3:13-cv-1276 (N.D. Ind.)
FA-IN-0005-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/24/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
FA-IN-0005-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/03/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion and Order Denying Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 40] (988 F.Supp.2d 912) (N.D. Ind.)
FA-IN-0005-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 12/20/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order and Opinion Denying Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction Pending Appeal [ECF# 49] (N.D. Ind.)
FA-IN-0005-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/23/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
[Order Affirming District Court's Judgment] [Ct. of App. ECF# 53] (743 F.3d 547)
FA-IN-0005-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 02/21/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
USSC Opinion (135 U.S. 1258)
FA-IN-0005-0006.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 03/09/2015
Source: Westlaw
Final Order Affirming District Court's Judgment [Ct. of App. ECF# 85] (786 F.3d 606)
FA-IN-0005-0005.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 05/19/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Ct. of App. ECF# 76-1]
FA-IN-0005-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/24/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Flaum, Joel Martin (Seventh Circuit, N.D. Ill.)
FA-IN-0005-0004 | FA-IN-0005-0005
Gotsch, Michael G. Sr. Court not on record [Magistrate]
FA-IN-0005-9000
Hamilton, David Frank (Seventh Circuit, S.D. Ind.)
FA-IN-0005-0004 | FA-IN-0005-0005
Nuechterlein, Christopher A. (N.D. Ind.) [Magistrate]
FA-IN-0005-9000
Posner, Richard Allen (Seventh Circuit)
FA-IN-0005-0004 | FA-IN-0005-0005
Simon, Philip P. (N.D. Ind.)
FA-IN-0005-0002 | FA-IN-0005-0003 | FA-IN-0005-9000 | FA-IN-0005-9001
Plaintiff's Lawyers Corr, Marriane (Indiana)
FA-IN-0005-0001
DeJulius, Leon F. Jr. (Pennsylvania)
FA-IN-0005-0001
Hogan, Carol A. (Illinois)
FA-IN-0005-0001
Kairis, Matthew A (Ohio)
FA-IN-0005-0001 | FA-IN-0005-9000 | FA-IN-0005-9001
Kilmartin, Alison J. (Pennsylvania)
FA-IN-0005-0001 | FA-IN-0005-9000 | FA-IN-0005-9001
Murray, Brian Joseph (Illinois)
FA-IN-0005-0001
Palmisciano, Melissa D (Ohio)
FA-IN-0005-0001 | FA-IN-0005-9000 | FA-IN-0005-9001
Defendant's Lawyers Jed, Adam C. (District of Columbia)
FA-IN-0005-9001
Klein, Alisa B. (District of Columbia)
FA-IN-0005-9001
Pollack, Michael Charles (District of Columbia)
FA-IN-0005-9000 | FA-IN-0005-9001
Pruski, Jacek (District of Columbia)
FA-IN-0005-9000 | FA-IN-0005-9001
Saltman, Julie Shana (District of Columbia)
FA-IN-0005-9000 | FA-IN-0005-9001
Stern, Mark B. (District of Columbia)
FA-IN-0005-9001
Other Lawyers Khan, Ayesha N. (District of Columbia)
FA-IN-0005-9000 | FA-IN-0005-9001
Lee, Jennifer (New York)
FA-IN-0005-9000 | FA-IN-0005-9001
Moskowitz, Seymour (Indiana)
FA-IN-0005-9000

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