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, ...
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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