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Case Name Michigan Catholic Conference v. Sebelius FA-MI-0014
Docket / Court 1:13-cv-01247 ( W.D. Mich. )
Additional Docket(s) 13-2723  [ 13-2723 ]
14-701  [ 14-701 ]  U.S. Supreme Court
15-1131  [ 15-1131 ]  U.S. Supreme Court
State/Territory Michigan
Case Type(s) Speech and Religious Freedom
Special Collection Contraception Insurance Mandate
Case Summary
On November 14, 2013, a group of Catholic non-profit organizations filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan claiming violations of the First Amendment. According to the plaintiffs, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and the Administrative Procedure Act ... read more >
On November 14, 2013, a group of Catholic non-profit organizations filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan claiming violations of the First Amendment. According to the plaintiffs, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and the Administrative Procedure Act should have barred the defendant U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from enforcing the the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) contraception insurance requirements, even with its accommodations for non-profit organizations. The plaintiffs sought a declaratory judgment that the mandate was unconstitutional. The plaintiffs also asked for a permanent injunction to keep the government from enforcing any contraception coverage requirement against the organizations and other similarly situated religious non-profits. They alleged that the ACA's religious accommodations were a "shell game" that still in effect required them to provide contraceptive coverage to employees.

On November 20, 2013, the plaintiffs filed a motion for preliminary injunction. On December 27, 2013, U.S. District Court (Judge Gordon J. Quist) denied it on the grounds that the ACA accommodations did not substantially burden the plaintiffs' religious freedom under RFRA or cause the plaintiffs irreparable harm. 989 F.Supp.2d 577. The plaintiffs appealed the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. And on January 3, 2014, U.S. District Court (Judge Gordon J. Quist) granted the plaintiff's motion for injunctive relief pending appeal.

On January 13, 2014, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals granted the government's motion to consolidate this appeal with Roman Catholic Diocese of Nashville v. Sebelius. Oral arguments took place 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 court's denial of a preliminary injunction for all plaintiffs. Organizations exempt from the contraception mandate faced no burden on the exercise of their religion, and therefore were unlikely to succeed in proving a violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. 989 F.Supp.2d 577.

On December 18, 2014, the Supreme Court issued a letter notifying the district court that the plaintiff had filed a petition for certiorari regarding the Sixth Circuit's denial of a preliminary injunction. The district court dismissed the defendant's summary judgment motion pending the Supreme Court's decision on the plaintiff's petition. On May 29, 2015, the Supreme Court issued a judgment vacating the denial of the plaintiff's requested preliminary injunction. The Court remanded the case to the Sixth Circuit in light of the Court's decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, which held that the ACA's contraception coverage mandate exemption for religious non-profits should be extended to closely held private corporations.

On August 21, 2015, a Sixth Circuit panel consisting of Judges Moore and Rogers (as well as District Judge Nixon serving by designation) affirmed its previous denial of a preliminary injunction: the plaintiffs—all non-profits rather than closely held corporations—could not show that the ACA's existing exemptions and accommodations placed a substantial burden on them. 807 F.3d 738.

On March 9, 2016, the plaintiffs' again filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the Supreme Court. On June 24, 2016, the Supreme Court issued an order remanding the case to the Sixth Circuit for further consideration in light of Zubik v. Burwell, in which the Court had declined to strike down the existing ACA accommodations for religious non-profits. On November 2, 2017, the plaintiffs entered a joint stipulation of dismissal and the case is now closed.

Mallory Jones - 03/15/2014
- 06/12/2014
Nathaniel Flack - 01/24/2019


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Free Exercise Clause
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief denied
Defendant-type
Hospital/Health Department
Discrimination-area
Pay / Benefits
Discrimination-basis
Religion discrimination
General
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 group of non-profit organizations that believed the ACA's contraception mandate violates the members' religious freedom.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Form of Settlement Voluntary Dismissal
Filing Year 2013
Case Closing Year 2017
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing FA-TN-0001 : Roman Catholic Diocese of Nashville v. Sebelius (M.D. Tenn.)
FA-MI-0015 : Right to Life Michigan v. Sebelius (W.D. Mich.)
FA-TN-0002 : Union University v. Sebelius (W.D. Tenn.)
FA-MI-0006 : Weingartz Supply Co. v. Sebelius (E.D. Mich.)
FA-MI-0013 : The Ave Maria Foundation v. Sebelius (E.D. Mich.)
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-1247 (W.D. Mich.)
FA-MI-0014-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/02/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint and Demand for Jury Trial [ECF# 1]
FA-MI-0014-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/14/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction and Request for Oral Argument [ECF# 9]
FA-MI-0014-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/20/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum of Law in Support of Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction and Request for Oral Argument [ECF# 15]
FA-MI-0014-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/27/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss or, in the alternative, for Summary Judgment [ECF# 22]
FA-MI-0014-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/16/2013
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# 25]
FA-MI-0014-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/17/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion [ECF# 40] (989 F.Supp.2d 577) (W.D. Mich.)
FA-MI-0014-0006.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 12/27/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Denying Motion for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 41] (W.D. Mich.)
FA-MI-0014-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/27/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction Pending Appeal [ECF# 43]
FA-MI-0014-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/27/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum of Law in Support of Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction Pending Appeal [ECF# 44]
FA-MI-0014-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/27/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Michigan Catholic Conference v. Sebelius [ECF# 45]
FA-MI-0014-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/30/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 49] (W.D. Mich.)
FA-MI-0014-0011.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/03/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Order [Ct. of App. ECF# 50]
FA-MI-0014-0012.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/03/2014
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-MI-0014-0013.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 06/11/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion [Ct. of App. ECF# 60] (807 F.3d 738)
FA-MI-0014-0014.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 08/21/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Supreme Court Judgment [ECF# 65] (136 S.Ct. 2450)
FA-MI-0014-0015.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 06/24/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Batchelder, Alice Moore (N.D. Ohio, Sixth Circuit) show/hide docs
FA-MI-0014-0012
Harris, Scott Sutherland Court not on record [Magistrate] show/hide docs
FA-MI-0014-0015
Moore, Karen Nelson (Sixth Circuit) [Magistrate] show/hide docs
FA-MI-0014-0013 | FA-MI-0014-0014
Quist, Gordon Jay (W.D. Mich.) show/hide docs
FA-MI-0014-0006 | FA-MI-0014-0007 | FA-MI-0014-0011 | FA-MI-0014-9000
Rogers, John M. (Sixth Circuit) [Magistrate] show/hide docs
FA-MI-0014-0013 | FA-MI-0014-0014
Siler, Eugene Edward Jr. (E.D. Ky., W.D. Ky., Sixth Circuit) show/hide docs
FA-MI-0014-0012
Stranch, Jane Branstetter (Sixth Circuit) show/hide docs
FA-MI-0014-0012
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bardelli, Edward J. (Michigan) show/hide docs
FA-MI-0014-0001 | FA-MI-0014-0002 | FA-MI-0014-0003 | FA-MI-0014-0008 | FA-MI-0014-0009
Flannery, Jennifer Brinkman (Ohio) show/hide docs
FA-MI-0014-0001 | FA-MI-0014-0002 | FA-MI-0014-0003 | FA-MI-0014-0008 | FA-MI-0014-0009 | FA-MI-0014-9000
Kairis, Matthew A (Ohio) show/hide docs
FA-MI-0014-0001 | FA-MI-0014-0002 | FA-MI-0014-0003 | FA-MI-0014-0008 | FA-MI-0014-0009 | FA-MI-0014-9000
Kennedy, Ian R. (Michigan) show/hide docs
FA-MI-0014-0002 | FA-MI-0014-0003 | FA-MI-0014-0008 | FA-MI-0014-0009
Kilmartin, Alison J. (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
FA-MI-0014-0001 | FA-MI-0014-0002 | FA-MI-0014-0003 | FA-MI-0014-0008 | FA-MI-0014-0009 | FA-MI-0014-9000
O'Reilly, Rebecca D'Arcy (Michigan) show/hide docs
FA-MI-0014-0001 | FA-MI-0014-0002 | FA-MI-0014-0003 | FA-MI-0014-0008 | FA-MI-0014-0009 | FA-MI-0014-9000
Van Dusen, Thomas (Michigan) show/hide docs
FA-MI-0014-0001 | FA-MI-0014-0002 | FA-MI-0014-0003 | FA-MI-0014-0008 | FA-MI-0014-0009 | FA-MI-0014-9000
Wilson, Paula Batt (Ohio) show/hide docs
FA-MI-0014-0001 | FA-MI-0014-0002 | FA-MI-0014-0003 | FA-MI-0014-0008 | FA-MI-0014-0009 | FA-MI-0014-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Delery, Stuart F. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
FA-MI-0014-0004 | FA-MI-0014-0005 | FA-MI-0014-0010
Hartnett, Kathleen R. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
FA-MI-0014-0004 | FA-MI-0014-0005 | FA-MI-0014-0010
Miles, Patrick A. Jr. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
FA-MI-0014-0004 | FA-MI-0014-0005 | FA-MI-0014-0010
Pruski, Jacek (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
FA-MI-0014-0004 | FA-MI-0014-0005 | FA-MI-0014-0010 | FA-MI-0014-9000
Ricketts, Jennifer (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
FA-MI-0014-0004 | FA-MI-0014-0005 | FA-MI-0014-0010

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