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Case Name Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas v. Smith PB-TX-0013
Docket / Court 1:15-cv-01058-SS ( W.D. Tex. )
State/Territory Texas
Case Type(s) Public Benefits / Government Services
Special Collection Planned Parenthood Litigation
Case Summary
On November 23, 2015, five Texas Planned Parenthoods (provider plaintiffs) and ten Medicaid patients of Planned Parenthood (patient plaintiffs) filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas. The plaintiffs sued the Executive Commissioner and the Inspector General ... read more >
On November 23, 2015, five Texas Planned Parenthoods (provider plaintiffs) and ten Medicaid patients of Planned Parenthood (patient plaintiffs) filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas. The plaintiffs sued the Executive Commissioner and the Inspector General of the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiffs, represented by the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, asked the court for class action certification; declaratory judgments; temporary, preliminary, and permanent injunctions; and attorney's fees. The plaintiffs claimed that HHSC had violated the Medicaid Act and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment by barring the provider plaintiffs from the Medicaid program.

Specifically, the plaintiffs explained that on October 21, 2015, the HHSC notified the provider plaintiffs that HHSC would soon terminate the Provider Plaintiffs' Medicaid Provider Agreement. The HHSC justified the termination using false allegations, which were primarily based on misleading videos leaked by anti-choice activists.

The HHSC claimed that the case was premature because they had not yet terminated the provider plaintiffs' Medicaid Provider Agreement. On January 27, 2016, U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks stayed the case pending a final termination letter. For nearly a year, the case lay relatively dormant. In this time, Texas and the U.S. Congress conducted separate investigations into the allegations against Planned Parenthood raised by the misleading videos. Planned Parenthood was repeatedly found free of wrongdoing. Nonetheless, on December 20, 2016, HHSC sent a final Notice of Termination to each provider plaintiff.

On January 17, 2017, the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint outlining the events since the order to stay the case. That day the court held a hearing on the plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction to prevent termination. On January 19, 2017, Judge Sparks entered an order temporarily enjoining the defendants from terminating the provider plaintiffs' Medicaid Provider Agreements until February 21, 2017.

On February 21, 2017, Judge Sparks granted the plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction, enjoining the defendants from terminating the Provider Plaintiffs' Medicaid Provider Agreements. The defendants appealed the preliminary injunction.

The plaintiffs then moved to withdraw their motion for class certification, which the court granted without prejudice on March 24, 2017.

On March 30, 2017, the defendants submitted an appeal regarding the order granting the plaintiff’s preliminary motion to the Fifth Circuit.

The Fifth Circuit vacated the preliminary injunction and remanded the case to the district court on January 17, 2019. 913 F.3d 551. The panel determined that while the individual plaintiffs had a private right of action, the district court erred by failing to defer to agency's findings, by accepting evidence beyond agency record and by conducting de novo review. Judge Jones wrote a concurrence urging a rehearing en banc to reconsider whether the individual plaintiffs did have a private right of action on behalf of Medicaid patients to challenge the termination of their providers’ contracts.

The defendants filed a petition for rehearing en banc on January 31, 2019. The next day, the defendants filed a petition to stay the district court’s preliminary injunction pending the rehearing, which was granted on February 4, 2019. 914 F.3d 994.

On February 4, 2019, the en banc court granted rehearing on the court’s own motion, therefore appellants’ petition for rehearing en banc filed on January 31, 2019, was denied as moot. 914 F.3d 994.

The same day, the plaintiffs submitted an opposition to the defendants' stay application. In the alternative, the plaintiffs requested to defer the effective date in order to seek a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction. On Feb 15, 2019, the appellant’s motion to stay the district court’s injunction pending the en banc consideration was ordered to be carried by the Fifth Circuit on behalf of the en banc court. The en banc oral argument was held on May 14, 2019.

The case is ongoing.

Gabriela Hybel - 02/22/2017
Virginia Weeks - 03/15/2018
Averyn Lee - 06/30/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Benefit Source
Medicaid
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
Defendant-type
Hospital/Health Department
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
General
Abortion
Contraception
Payment for care
Medical/Mental Health
Reproductive health care (including birth control, abortion, and others)
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Medicaid, 42 U.S.C §1396 (Title XIX of the Social Security Act)
Defendant(s) Health and Human Services Commission
Plaintiff Description Planned Parenthood Providers and Medicaid Patients
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Source of Relief Litigation
Order Duration 2017 - n/a
Filed 11/23/2015
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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Docket(s)
1:15-cv-01058-SS (W.D. Tex.)
PB-TX-0013-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/30/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief [Class Action] [ECF# 1]
PB-TX-0013-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/23/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief [Class Action] [ECF# 76]
PB-TX-0013-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/17/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 100] (W.D. Tex.)
PB-TX-0013-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/21/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion [Ct. of App. ECF# 00514800434] (913 F.3d 551)
PB-TX-0013-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 01/17/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Jones, Edith Hollan (Fifth Circuit) show/hide docs
PB-TX-0013-0004
Sparks, Sam (W.D. Tex.) show/hide docs
PB-TX-0013-0003 | PB-TX-0013-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Clapman, Alice (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-TX-0013-9000
Evans, Roger K. (New York) show/hide docs
PB-TX-0013-9000
Krasnoff, Helene T. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-TX-0013-9000
Muniz, Richard (Illinois) show/hide docs
PB-TX-0013-9000
Ratakonda, Maithreyi (New York) show/hide docs
PB-TX-0013-9000
Sandman, Jennifer (New York) show/hide docs
PB-TX-0013-9000
Watkins, Thomas H. (Mississippi) show/hide docs
PB-TX-0013-0001 | PB-TX-0013-0002 | PB-TX-0013-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Biggs, Adam Arthur (Texas) show/hide docs
PB-TX-0013-9000
Cochran-McCall, Amanda J. (Texas) show/hide docs
PB-TX-0013-9000
Dahlberg, Shelley (Texas) show/hide docs
PB-TX-0013-9000
Rietvelt, Marc (Texas) show/hide docs
PB-TX-0013-9000
Stephens, Andrew Bowman (Texas) show/hide docs
PB-TX-0013-9000
Sweeten, Patrick Kinney (Texas) show/hide docs
PB-TX-0013-9000

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