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Case Name Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia v. Sebelius FA-PA-0011
Docket / Court 2:14-cv-03096-RB ( E.D. Pa. )
State/Territory Pennsylvania
Case Type(s) Speech and Religious Freedom
Special Collection Contraception Insurance Mandate
Case Summary
Several non-profit corporations (the "Affiliates"), which were affiliated with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia (the "Archdiocese") and participated in the archdiocese health care plan, were required under the Affordable Care Act and its regulations (the "Mandate") which were issued ... read more >
Several non-profit corporations (the "Affiliates"), which were affiliated with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia (the "Archdiocese") and participated in the archdiocese health care plan, were required under the Affordable Care Act and its regulations (the "Mandate") which were issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to sign and deliver a self-certification to a third party administrator, who could unilaterally choose to supply abortifacients and contraceptive services, in violation of the religious belief held by the Affiliates. Meanwhile, the Archdiocese, which was itself exempted from the Mandate, refused to facilitate any provision of contraceptive services in the archdiocese health care plan for the same religious reason.

Not wanting to pay any monetary penalties for noncompliance with the Mandate or to expel the Affiliates from the plan, the Archdiocese, along with the Affiliates, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, under the Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201 and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (the "RFRA"), against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Department of Treasury on June 2, 2014. The Plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, sought declaratory and injunctive relief as well as attorneys' fees, claiming that the Defendants through the Mandate had imposed a substantial burden on their exercise of religion, in violation of the RFRA as well as the First Amendment Free Exercise and Free Speech clauses of the U.S. Constitution.

On June 26, 2014, the District Court (Judge Ronald L. Buckwalter) denied the Plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction. Judge Buckwalter raised doubts as to Plaintiffs' standing in bringing their RFRA challenge and found that Plaintiffs had not met their burden to show a likelihood of success on the merits of their claims. 2014 WL 2892502 (E.D. Pa. June 26, 2014). That same day, the Plaintiffs appealed to the Third Circuit (14-3126).

On September 2, 2014, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the District Court's judgement and remanded the case for reconsideration of the order denying the Plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction. The Third Circuit also enjoined the Government from imposing any fines until the District Court makes its decision on reconsideration.

On August 23, 2016, the parties issued a joint status report indicating that the district court has stayed all proceedings in this matter pending the Third Circuit’s resolution of Zubik v. Burwell which was remanded after the Supreme Court's decision. 136 S. Ct. 1557 (2016).

Emma Bao - 11/12/2014
Elena Malik - 11/08/2017


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Free Exercise Clause
Freedom of speech/association
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief denied
Defendant-type
Hospital/Health Department
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Abortion
Contraception
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit religious organization
Type of Facility
Non-government non-profit
Causes of Action 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 Roman Catholic archdiocese and its affiliated non-profit corporations participating in the archdiocese health care plan, required under the Affordable Care Act to provide coverage in the health plans for certain preventive care for women, including potential abortifacients.
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 Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
2:14−cv−03096 (E.D. Pa.)
FA-PA-0011-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/15/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
FA-PA-0011-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/02/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum [Stating the Court will Deny Plaintiffs' Motion for Injunctive Relief] [ECF# 37] (E.D. Pa.)
FA-PA-0011-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/26/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Ct. of App. ECF# 003111746557]
FA-PA-0011-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/25/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Joint Status Report [ECF# 55]
FA-PA-0011-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/23/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Buckwalter, Ronald Lawrence (E.D. Pa.)
FA-PA-0011-0002 | FA-PA-0011-9000
Chagares, Michael A. (Third Circuit)
FA-PA-0011-0003 | FA-PA-0011-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Centrella, Nicholas M. (Pennsylvania)
FA-PA-0011-0001 | FA-PA-0011-0004 | FA-PA-0011-9000
Emmerich, Frank R. Jr. (Pennsylvania)
FA-PA-0011-0001 | FA-PA-0011-0004 | FA-PA-0011-9000
Voss, Joshua (Pennsylvania)
FA-PA-0011-0001 | FA-PA-0011-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Bennett, Michelle Renee (District of Columbia)
FA-PA-0011-9000
Grogg, Adam Anderson (District of Columbia)
FA-PA-0011-0004 | FA-PA-0011-9000
Lieber, Sheila M. (District of Columbia)
FA-PA-0011-0004 | FA-PA-0011-9000
Memeger, Zane D. (Pennsylvania)
FA-PA-0011-0004 | FA-PA-0011-9000
Mizer, Benjamin C. (District of Columbia)
FA-PA-0011-0004 | FA-PA-0011-9000
Ricketts, Jennifer (District of Columbia)
FA-PA-0011-0004 | FA-PA-0011-9000

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