On September 25, 2013, Feltl and Company, Inc., a privately held, for-profit securities brokerage and investment banking company subject to the employer mandate under the Affordable Care Act, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of Minnesota. The plaintiff sued under the Religious Freedom ...
read more >
On September 25, 2013, Feltl and Company, Inc., a privately held, for-profit securities brokerage and investment banking company subject to the employer mandate under the Affordable Care Act, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of Minnesota. The plaintiff sued under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the Administrative Procedures Act. The plaintiffs sued the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and the Internal Revenue Service. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, asked the court for a declaratory injunction that the contraceptive services mandate violated the above statutes. The plaintiffs also requested a declaratory judgment that the mandate is generally invalid, a permanent injunction against HHS, Treasury, and the IRS from enforcing the mandate against the Feltls and their company, and a declaratory judgment that group health plans excluding contraception do not violated the Affordable Care Act. The plaintiffs further requested reasonable attorneys fees and a jury trial.
This lawsuit claims that the contraceptive services mandate was improperly promulgated under the Administrative Procedures Act, and that being required to provide a health plan to their employees that includes contraceptive services violates the Feltls' freedom of religion and First and Fifth Amendment rights. Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed that distinguishing between religious employers and private companies in exemptions for the contraceptive services mandate constitutes establishing religion, and that purchasing or providing coverage for contraception, sterilization, and abortifactant drugs through their employee group health plan violates their sincerely held religious beliefs.
Following the U.S. Supreme Court's June 2014 decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., courts have granted similar closely-held, private, for profit companies injunctions protecting them from enforcement of the contraceptive services mandate.
On November 5, 2013, Judge Donovan W. Frank ordered a preliminary injunction staying HHS's ability to enforce the mandate against Feltl and Company. On November 26, 2014, Judge Frank issued an order for injunction and judgment that enjoined HHS or other agencies from taking any action to enforce the contraceptive services mandate or attendant penalties against the plaintiffs. The court found that the contraceptive services mandate violated the plaintiff's rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and awarded attorneys fees. The injunction excluded future changes in statute or regulation. The plaintiff was given time to file for attorneys fees, but nothing shows that it did, so either it didn't claim them, or that part of the matter was settled out of court. Kate Craddock - 10/04/2015