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Case Name Right to Life Michigan v. Sebelius FA-MI-0015
Docket / Court 1:13-cv-01202-RJJ ( W.D. Mich. )
State/Territory Michigan
Case Type(s) Speech and Religious Freedom
Special Collection Contraception Insurance Mandate
Case Summary
On November 4, 2013, Right to Life of Michigan ("Right to Life") filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan against the Federal Government under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), the First Amendment, and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). ... read more >
On November 4, 2013, Right to Life of Michigan ("Right to Life") filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan against the Federal Government under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), the First Amendment, and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). Plaintiff, represented by private counsel, asked the court to issue a preliminary and permanent injunction prohibiting enforcement of provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) extending universal contraception coverage to employer-sponsored private health insurance coverage. Specifically, Right to Life of Michigan contended that compliance with the contraception coverage requirement violated its sincerely held religious beliefs.

On January 13, 2014, the federal Government moved to dismiss the complaint. The Department of Justice argued that Right to Life challenged aspects of the ACA that had been superseded by the 2013 Final Rule, which, the U.S. suggested granted accommodation to eligible non-profit religious organizations. Right to Life therefore, according to the U.S., lacked subject matter jurisdiction. On January 27, 2014, Right to Life amended its complaint to specifically challenge the 2013 Final Rule. Under the new regulation, Right to Life still did not fall within the "religious employer" exception, but did qualify for the accommodation as an "eligible organization." Right to Life challenged this accommodation, arguing that it required them to provide self-certification to their insurance provider setting forth their religious objections to the regulation, which in turn triggerdd an obligation on the part of the insurance provider to procure the services plaintiffs found objectionable. Plaintiffs continued to ask the court to grant a permanent injunction against enforcement of the relevant provisions of the ACA. On February 3, 2014, the court (Judge Robert J. Jonker) ordered that the amended complaint replace the original complaint rendering the Federal Government's motion to dismiss moot.

On February 10, 2014, the Federal Government filed an unopposed motion to stay the proceedings pending the Sixth Circuit's ruling in the consolidated appeals of Catholic Diocese of Nashville and Michigan Catholic Conference. On February 14, 2014, the court (Judge Robert J. Jonker) granted the motion to stay.

The court issued another stay on September 10, 2014 pending proposed federal regulations. The stay was lifted on February 17, 2015. On May 13, 2015 the plaintiffs filed a motion for declaratory judgment and on May 21, 2015 defendants filed a motion to dismiss. The court granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss and entered judgement in favor of the plaintiff on October 21, 2015. The court found that the plaintiff’s claims were identical to the other recent cases in the Sixth Circuit in which the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the plaintiff’s kind of challenge to the accommodations under RFRA. See Michigan Catholic Conference and Catholic Family Services v. Burwell, 807 F.3d 738 (6th Cir. 2015).

This case is now closed.

Richard Jolly - 05/05/2014
Sean Mulloy - 10/22/2017


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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-basis
Religion discrimination
General
Contraception
Religious programs / policies
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
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 Right to Life of Michigan is a nonpartisan, nonsectarian, nonprofit organization concerned with protecting the sanctity and dignity of human life from the moment of conception until natural death.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Case Closing Year 2015
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing FA-MI-0014 : Michigan Catholic Conference v. Sebelius (W.D. Mich.)
Docket(s)
1:13-cv-01202-RJJ (W.D. Mich.)
FA-MI-0015-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/27/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Verified Complaint (2013 WL 5913362)
FA-MI-0015-0001.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 11/04/2013
Source: Westlaw
Brief in Support of Motion to Dismiss [ECF# 15]
FA-MI-0015-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/13/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint [ECF# 17]
FA-MI-0015-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/27/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiff's Brief Opposing Motion to Dimiss [ECF# 19]
FA-MI-0015-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/29/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order (Dismissing Motion as Moot) [ECF# 22] (W.D. Mich.)
FA-MI-0015-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/03/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant's Unopposed Motion to Stay Proceedings [ECF# 23]
FA-MI-0015-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/10/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Motion to Stay [ECF# 25] (W.D. Mich.)
FA-MI-0015-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/14/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants' Memorandum In Support of Its Motion to Dismiss or, In the Alternative, For Summary Judgment [ECF# 45]
FA-MI-0015-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/21/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion and Order [ECF# 74] (W.D. Mich.)
FA-MI-0015-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/27/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Jonker, Robert James (W.D. Mich.)
FA-MI-0015-0002 | FA-MI-0015-0003 | FA-MI-0015-0004 | FA-MI-0015-0005 | FA-MI-0015-0006 | FA-MI-0015-0007 | FA-MI-0015-0009 | FA-MI-0015-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Rizik, Michael B. (Michigan)
FA-MI-0015-0001 | FA-MI-0015-0003 | FA-MI-0015-0004 | FA-MI-0015-0005 | FA-MI-0015-0006 | FA-MI-0015-0007 | FA-MI-0015-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Lieber, Sheila M. (District of Columbia)
FA-MI-0015-0008
Miles, Patrick A. Jr. (District of Columbia)
FA-MI-0015-0008
Mizer, Benjamin C. (District of Columbia)
FA-MI-0015-0008
Ricketts, Jennifer (District of Columbia)
FA-MI-0015-0008
Saltman, Julie Shana (District of Columbia)
FA-MI-0015-0003 | FA-MI-0015-0004 | FA-MI-0015-0005 | FA-MI-0015-0006 | FA-MI-0015-0007 | FA-MI-0015-0008 | FA-MI-0015-9000

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