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Case Name Tonn and Blank Construction v. Sebelius FA-IN-0006
Docket / Court 1:12-cv-00325-JD-RBC ( N.D. Ind. )
State/Territory Indiana
Case Type(s) Speech and Religious Freedom
Special Collection Contraception Insurance Mandate
Case Summary
On September 20, 2012, Tonn and Blank Construction filed this lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana against the Federal Government under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act ("RFRA"), the First Amendment, and the Administrative Procedure Act ("APA"). Plaintiff, ... read more >
On September 20, 2012, Tonn and Blank Construction filed this lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana 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 an injunction prohibiting enforcement of provisions of the Affordable Care Act ("ACA") extending universal contraception coverage to employer-sponsored private health insurance coverage. Specifically, the plaintiff contended that compliance with the contraception coverage requirement is a substantial burden on plaintiff's religious exercise.

On September 20, 2012, the plaintiff filed a motion for preliminary injunction. On February 11, 2013, after a series of responses, the Federal Government issued a notice of non-opposition to the the motion for preliminary injunction and a motion to stay proceedings. The Government made this determination in recognition of recent Seventh Circuit rulings of a motion panel granting injunctions pending appeal in substantially similar cases.

On April 1, 2013, the court (Judge Jon E. DeGuilo) granted the plaintiff's preliminary injunction, staying the case until thirty days after the Seventh Circuit had issued an opinion on the consolidated Korte v. Sebelius and Grote v. Sebelius appeal. On August 16, 2013, the court granted the Federal Governments' motion to stay proceedings until that time as well.

On December 6, 2013, the District Court lifted the stay following the Seventh Circuit's decision that Korte and Grote presented valid claims under the RFRA. Judge DeGulio extended the preliminary injunction for a period not to exceed sixty days, and ordered the parties to file a joint status report indicating their intentions with respect to proceeding in the lawsuit.

The parties filed a joint status report requesting the court to continue to stay the case with the preliminary injunction in place until the United States Supreme Court resolved Burwell v. Hobby Lobby (also known as Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius). On December 18, 2013, the court granted the parties' request. In a 5-4 opinion by Justice Alito issued on June 30, 2014, the Court held in Hobby Lobby that the HHS regulations imposing the contraceptive mandate violate the RFRA when applied to closely-held for-profit corporations.

The parties in this case agreed that the plaintiff qualified under the Hobby Lobby standard as a closely-held for-profit corporation owned by individuals with deeply held religious beliefs. On November 6, 2014, the court entered a final judgment and order containing a permanent injunction in favor of the plaintiffs. The plaintiffs had requested an injunction of any regulation related to the ACA's contraception mandate, but the court limited the injunction to the regulations implementing the mandate that were at issue in Hobby Lobby and the plaintiffs' complaint.

On May 26, 2015, the parties notified the court that they had come to an agreement on the amount of attorneys' fees and costs to be awarded to the plaintiff.

Richard Jolly - 03/12/2014
Kate Craddock - 11/13/2016


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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
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
Defendant-type
Hospital/Health Department
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-basis
Religion discrimination
General
Abortion
Contraception
Religious programs / policies
Plaintiff Type
Closely-held (for profit) corporation
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. ยงยง 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 Indiana limited liability corporation providing healthcare to approximately sixty employees
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 2014 - n/a
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing No
Docket(s)
1:12-cv-325 (N.D. Ind.) 05/26/2015
FA-IN-0006-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Verified Complaint and Demand for Jury Trial 09/20/2012
FA-IN-0006-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants' Motion to Stay Proceedings and Notice of Non-Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction 02/11/2013
FA-IN-0006-0006.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order and Preliminary Injunction 04/01/2013 (N.D. Ind.)
FA-IN-0006-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion and Order (Granting Defendants' Motion to Stay) 08/16/2013 (968 F.Supp.2d 990) (N.D. Ind.)
FA-IN-0006-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Order (Parties to Submit a Joint Report, Defendants to File a Reply Brief to Their Motion to Dismiss, Extending Preliminary Injunction Period) 12/06/2013 (N.D. Ind.)
FA-IN-0006-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order (Granting Parties' Request and Continuation of Preliminary Injunction) 12/18/2013 (N.D. Ind.)
FA-IN-0006-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Final Judgment and Order 11/06/2014 (N.D. Ind.)
FA-IN-0006-0007.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Cosbey, Roger B. (N.D. Ind.) [Magistrate]
FA-IN-0006-0006 | FA-IN-0006-9000
DeGuilio, Jon E. Court not on record
FA-IN-0006-0002 | FA-IN-0006-0003 | FA-IN-0006-0004 | FA-IN-0006-0005 | FA-IN-0006-0006 | FA-IN-0006-0007 | FA-IN-0006-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Downes, W. Patrick (Indiana)
FA-IN-0006-0001 | FA-IN-0006-0006 | FA-IN-0006-9000
Kairis, Matthew A (Ohio)
FA-IN-0006-0001 | FA-IN-0006-0006 | FA-IN-0006-9000
Kilmartin, Alison J. (Pennsylvania)
FA-IN-0006-0001 | FA-IN-0006-0006 | FA-IN-0006-9000
Palmisciano, Melissa D (Ohio)
FA-IN-0006-0006 | FA-IN-0006-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Berwick, Benjamin Leon (District of Columbia)
FA-IN-0006-0006 | FA-IN-0006-9000
Other Lawyers Potts, Brian C. (Indiana)
FA-IN-0006-9000

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