Case: Sioux Chief MFG. Co, Inc. v. Sebelius

4:13-cv-00036 | U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri

Filed Date: Jan. 14, 2013

Closed Date: 2015

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On January 14, 2013, several Catholic business owners filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri under 42 U.S.C. §1983, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act ("RFRA"), and the Administrative Procedures Act ("APA"), against the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and the Treasury. The plaintiffs, represented by the Alliance Defense Fund, asked the court for both declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging that federal rules adopted pursuant …

On January 14, 2013, several Catholic business owners filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri under 42 U.S.C. §1983, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act ("RFRA"), and the Administrative Procedures Act ("APA"), against the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and the Treasury. The plaintiffs, represented by the Alliance Defense Fund, asked the court for both declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging that federal rules adopted pursuant to the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ("ACA") violated their religious freedom by requiring them to provide coverage for contraception through their companies' group health insurance plans. Claiming that providing contraceptive coverage would contravene their Catholic faith, the plaintiffs sought an exemption from the ACA's contraception mandate for themselves and other business owners with similar religious objections.

Plaintiffs, shareholders and operators of a manufacturing company that employed 370 people, maintained a health insurance plan that provided medical coverage to all of its employees. In accordance with the plaintiffs' religious beliefs, the healthcare plan specifically excluded abortifacient drugs, contraception, and sterilization. However, the ACA required employers with more than 50 full-time employees to provide health insurance coverage that included contraception and surgical sterilization, as well as education and counseling for such services. Failure to comply with the ACA mandate resulted in a monetary penalties.

The complaint alleged that the defendants' actions in implementing the ACA coerced the plaintiffs and thousands of other individuals to engage in acts against their religious beliefs. Specifically, as Catholics, the plaintiffs opposed paying for, providing, facilitating, or otherwise supporting abortifacient drugs, contraception, or elective sterilization, which they claimed was compulsory under the health coverage requirements of the ACA. Plaintiffs alleged this violated their right to freely practice their religion, required them to fund government-dictated speech, and violated their rights under the RFRA and the APA.

On February 27, 2013, plaintiffs moved for a preliminary injunction to stay enforcement of DHS's regulations that required plaintiffs to provide insurance coverage for contraception and sterilization. Defendants did not oppose this motion, pending Eight Circuit Court of Appeals rulings on two similar cases, (1) O'Brien v. U.S. Dep't of Health and Human Services, 894 F.Supp.2d 1149 (E.D. Mo. 2012) or (2) Annex Medical, Inc. v. Sebelius, No. 12–2804 2013 WL 101927 (D. Minn. Jan. 8, 2013), whichever was decided first.

On February 28, 2013, the District Court (Judge Ortrie D. Smith) granted the plaintiffs' motion and stayed all proceedings until the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on the appeals in Annex or O'Brien, or until the Supreme Court issued a ruling in a substantially similar case.

On June 30, 2014, the Supreme Court issued a decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., 134 S. Ct. 2751 (2014), a substantially similar case. In a 5-4 opinion by Justice Alito, the Court held that the HHS regulations imposing the contraceptive mandate violate RFRA, when applied to closely-held for-profit corporations. 

In light of this decision, on July 15, 2014, Judge Smith issued an order lifting the stay and directing the parties to file a Joint Status Report, which the parties filed on August 18, 2014. On September 19, 2014, Judge Smith issued an order continuing the preliminary injunction and directing the parties to file a proposed injunction and judgment. On October 1, 2014, both parties filed their responses, and on October 15, 2014, each party filed its suggestions to the other party's respective response.

On November 12, 2014, Judge Smith issued an order permanently enjoining the defendants from (1) enforcing the ACA's contraceptive coverage requirement, (2) assessing any penalties or fines for noncompliance, and (3) taking any other actions based on noncompliance with the requirement.

On January 28, 2015, the plaintiffs moved for attorneys' fees, but they withdrew the motion on February 11, 2015. There has been no further action and the case now appears closed.

Summary Authors

Tifani Sadek (10/3/2013)

Mallory Jones (12/5/2013)

Richard Jolly (4/4/2014)

Elizabeth Greiter (11/8/2017)

Related Cases

O'Brien v. HHS, Eastern District of Missouri (2012)

Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius, Western District of Oklahoma (2012)

Annex Medical, Inc. v. Sebelius, District of Minnesota (2012)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/5038152/parties/sioux-chief-mfg-co-inc-v-sebelius/


Judge(s)

Smith, Ortrie D. (Missouri)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Theriot, Kevin H. (Kansas)

Whitehead, Jonathan R. (Missouri)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Bennett, Michelle Renee (District of Columbia)

Judge(s)

Smith, Ortrie D. (Missouri)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Theriot, Kevin H. (Kansas)

Whitehead, Jonathan R. (Missouri)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Bennett, Michelle Renee (District of Columbia)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket [PACER]

Feb. 11, 2015 Docket
1

Verified Complaint

Sioux Chief Manufacturing, Inc. v. Sebelius

Jan. 14, 2013 Complaint
9

Order Granting Preliminary Injunction

Sioux Chief Manufacturing, Inc. v. Sebelius

Feb. 28, 2013 Order/Opinion
19

Order

Sioux Chief MFG. Co, Inc. v. Burwell

Nov. 12, 2014 Order/Opinion

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/5038152/sioux-chief-mfg-co-inc-v-sebelius/

Last updated May 11, 2022, 8 p.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link
1

COMPLAINT against All Defendants filed by Jonathan R. Whitehead on behalf of All Plaintiffs. Filing fee $350, receipt number 0866-3372737. Service due by 5/17/2013. (Attachments: # 1 Civil Cover Sheet)(Whitehead, Jonathan) (Entered: 01/14/2013)

1 Civil Cover Sheet

View on PACER

Jan. 14, 2013 RECAP
2

DISCLOSURE OF CORPORATE INTERESTS filed by Jonathan R. Whitehead on behalf of Plaintiff Sioux Chief MFG. Co, Inc..(Whitehead, Jonathan) (Entered: 01/14/2013)

Jan. 14, 2013 PACER
3

Notice of EAP assignment to an outside mediator sent via electronic notice to plaintiffs' counsel. (Attachments: # 1 EAP General Order)(Martin, Jan) (Entered: 01/15/2013)

1 EAP General Order

View on PACER

Jan. 15, 2013 PACER
4

MOTION for preliminary injunction filed by Jonathan R. Whitehead on behalf of All Plaintiffs. Suggestions in opposition/response due by 3/18/2013 unless otherwise directed by the court. (Whitehead, Jonathan) (Entered: 02/27/2013)

Feb. 27, 2013 PACER
5

SUGGESTIONS in support re 4 MOTION for preliminary injunction filed by Jonathan R. Whitehead on behalf of Plaintiffs Dominic Ismert, Joseph N. Ismert, Joseph P. Ismert, Sioux Chief MFG. Co, Inc.. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A (Verified Complaint))(Related document(s) 4 ) (Whitehead, Jonathan) (Entered: 02/27/2013)

1 Exhibit A (Verified Complaint)

View on PACER

Feb. 27, 2013 PACER
6

CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE by All Plaintiffs re 5 Suggestions in Support of Motion, 4 MOTION for preliminary injunction filed by Jonathan R. Whitehead on behalf of Plaintiffs Dominic Ismert, Joseph N. Ismert, Joseph P. Ismert, Sioux Chief MFG. Co, Inc.. Related document: 5 Suggestions in Support of Motion, filed by Sioux Chief MFG. Co, Inc., Joseph N. Ismert, Dominic Ismert, Joseph P. Ismert, 4 MOTION for preliminary injunction filed by Sioux Chief MFG. Co, Inc., Joseph N. Ismert, Dominic Ismert, Joseph P. Ismert.(Whitehead, Jonathan) (Entered: 02/27/2013)

Feb. 27, 2013 PACER
7

RESPONSE to motion re 4 MOTION for preliminary injunction filed by Michelle Bennett on behalf of Defendants Timothy F. Geithner, Kathleen Sebelius, Hilda Solis, United States Department of Health and Human Services, United States Department of Labor, United States Department of the Treasury. Reply suggestions due by 3/18/2013 unless otherwise directed by the court (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order)(Bennett, Michelle) Modified on 3/1/2013 to remove proposed order (McDowell, Shelly). (Entered: 02/28/2013)

Feb. 28, 2013 PACER
8

Consent MOTION to stay filed by Michelle Bennett on behalf of All Defendants. Suggestions in opposition/response due by 3/18/2013 unless otherwise directed by the court. (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order)(Bennett, Michelle) Modified on 3/1/2013 to remove proposed order (McDowell, Shelly). (Entered: 02/28/2013)

Feb. 28, 2013 PACER
9

ORDER entered by Judge Ortrie Smith granting 4 Motion for Preliminary Injunction and granting 8 Motion to Stay. The preliminary injunction and stay will remain in effect until this Court takes further action. Plaintiffs are directed to notify the Court once the Eighth Circuit has rendered a decision. (Kanies, Renea) (Entered: 02/28/2013)

Feb. 28, 2013 RECAP
10

ORDER lifting stay and directing parties to file Joint Status Report. A Joint Status Report setting forth their agreement or their separate positions shall be filed on or before August 18, 2014. Signed on July 15, 2014, by District Judge Ortrie D. Smith. (Melvin, Greg) (Entered: 07/15/2014)

July 15, 2014 PACER
11

STATUS REPORT (Joint) by Sylvia Burwell, Timothy F. Geithner, Hilda Solis, United States Department of Health and Human Services, United States Department of Labor, United States Department of the Treasury. (Bennett, Michelle) (Entered: 08/18/2014)

Aug. 18, 2014 PACER
12

ORDER (1) CONTINUING PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION; AND (2) DIRECTING PARTIES TO FILE JOINT STATUS REPORT. Signed on 8/18/14 by District Judge Ortrie D. Smith. (Matthes, Renea) (Entered: 08/18/2014)

Aug. 18, 2014 PACER
13

STATUS REPORT (Joint) by Sylvia Burwell, Timothy F. Geithner, Hilda Solis, United States Department of Health and Human Services, United States Department of Labor, United States Department of the Treasury. (Bennett, Michelle) (Entered: 09/17/2014)

Sept. 17, 2014 PACER
14

ORDER (1) CONTINUING PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION AND (2) DIRECTING PARTIES TO FILE PROPOSED INJUNCTION AND JUDGMENT. Signed on 9/19/2014 by District Judge Ortrie D. Smith. (Hucker, Anne) (Entered: 09/19/2014)

Sept. 19, 2014 PACER
15

RESPONSE to order re 14 Order Plaintiffs' Proposed Permanent Injunction and Judgment filed by Jonathan R. Whitehead on behalf of Plaintiffs Dominic Ismert, Joseph N. Ismert, Joseph P. Ismert, Sioux Chief MFG. Co, Inc.. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A - Proposed Judgment)(Related document(s) 14 ) (Whitehead, Jonathan) (Entered: 10/01/2014)

1 Exhibit A - Proposed Judgment

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Oct. 1, 2014 PACER
16

NOTICE of filing Defs.' Proposed Injunction & Judgment, and Suggestions in Support Thereof by Sylvia Burwell, Timothy F. Geithner, Hilda Solis, United States Department of Health and Human Services, United States Department of Labor, United States Department of the Treasury re 14 Order (Attachments: # 1 Defs.' Proposed Injunction & Judgment)(Bennett, Michelle) (Entered: 10/01/2014)

1 Defs.' Proposed Injunction & Judgment

View on PACER

Oct. 1, 2014 PACER
17

NOTICE of filing Defendants' Suggestions in Opposition to Plaintiffs' Proposed Permanent Injunction by Sylvia Burwell, Timothy F. Geithner, Hilda Solis, United States Department of Health and Human Services, United States Department of Labor, United States Department of the Treasury (Bennett, Michelle) (Entered: 10/15/2014)

Oct. 15, 2014 PACER
18

NOTICE of filing Suggestions in Opposition to Defendants' Proposed Injunction by Dominic Ismert, Joseph N. Ismert, Joseph P. Ismert, Sioux Chief MFG. Co, Inc. re 16 Notice of filing, (Whitehead, Jonathan) (Entered: 10/15/2014)

Oct. 15, 2014 PACER
19

ORDER granting Injunction. Signed on 11/12/14 by District Judge Ortrie D. Smith. (Matthes, Renea) (Entered: 11/12/2014)

Nov. 12, 2014 RECAP
20

CLERK'S JUDGMENT (Matthes, Renea) (Entered: 11/12/2014)

Nov. 12, 2014 PACER
21

Joint MOTION for extension of time for plaintiffs to file any motion for attorney's fees filed by Michelle Bennett on behalf of All Defendants. Suggestions in opposition/response due by 1/5/2015 unless otherwise directed by the court. (Bennett, Michelle) (Entered: 12/17/2014)

Dec. 17, 2014 PACER
22

ORDER GRANTING JOINT MOTION TO EXTEND DEADLINE FOR PLAINTIFFS TO FILE ANY MOTION FOR ATTORNEY'S FEES, 21 . Signed on 12/18/14 by District Judge Ortrie D. Smith. (Matthes, Renea) (Entered: 12/18/2014)

Dec. 18, 2014 PACER
23

Joint MOTION for extension of time for plaintiffs to file any motion for attorney's fees filed by Michelle Bennett on behalf of All Defendants. Suggestions in opposition/response due by 2/17/2015 unless otherwise directed by the court. (Bennett, Michelle) (Entered: 01/28/2015)

Jan. 28, 2015 PACER
24

WITHDRAWN PER 28 ORDER FILED ON FEBRUARY 11, 2015. MOTION for attorney fees pursuant to 42 USC 1988(b) filed by Jonathan R. Whitehead on behalf of All Plaintiffs. Suggestions in opposition/response due by 2/17/2015 unless otherwise directed by the court. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A - Declaration of Jonathan R. Whitehead, # 2 Exhibit B - Time Entries)(Whitehead, Jonathan) Modified on 2/12/2015 to reflect motion is withdrawn (Jones, Robin). (Entered: 01/28/2015)

1 Exhibit A - Declaration of Jonathan R. Whitehead

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2 Exhibit B - Time Entries

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Jan. 28, 2015 PACER
25

SUGGESTIONS in support re 24 MOTION for attorney fees pursuant to 42 USC 1988(b) filed by Jonathan R. Whitehead on behalf of Plaintiffs Dominic Ismert, Joseph N. Ismert, Joseph P. Ismert, Sioux Chief MFG. Co, Inc.. (Related document(s) 24 ) (Whitehead, Jonathan) (Entered: 01/28/2015)

Jan. 28, 2015 PACER
26

ORDER GRANTING SECOND JOINT MOTION TO EXTEND DEADLINE FOR PLAINTIFFS TO FILE ANY MOTION FOR ATTORNEY'S FEES 23 . Signed on 1/29/15 by District Judge Ortrie D. Smith. (Matthes, Renea) (Entered: 01/29/2015)

Jan. 29, 2015 PACER
27

Joint MOTION to withdraw document 24 MOTION for attorney fees pursuant to 42 USC 1988(b) filed by Michelle Bennett on behalf of All Defendants. Suggestions in opposition/response due by 3/2/2015 unless otherwise directed by the court. (Related document(s) 24 ) (Bennett, Michelle) (Entered: 02/11/2015)

Feb. 11, 2015 PACER
28

ORDER GRANTING PARTIES' JOINT MOTION TO WITHDRAW PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR ATTORNEY FEES, 24 and 27 . Signed on 2/11/15 by District Judge Ortrie D. Smith. (Matthes, Renea) (Entered: 02/11/2015)

Feb. 11, 2015 PACER

State / Territory: Missouri

Case Type(s):

Speech and Religious Freedom

Special Collection(s):

Contraception Insurance Mandate

Key Dates

Filing Date: Jan. 14, 2013

Closing Date: 2015

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Corporation owned and run by Catholics who seek a religious exemption from the ACA's contraception coverage.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Department of Health and Human Services, Federal

Department of Treasury, Federal

Department of Labor, Federal

Defendant Type(s):

Hospital/Health Department

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Religious Freedom Rest. Act/Religious Land Use and Inst. Persons Act (RFRA/RLUIPA)

Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.

Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201

Constitutional Clause(s):

Establishment Clause

Free Exercise Clause

Freedom of speech/association

Due Process

Equal Protection

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Content of Injunction:

Preliminary relief granted

Issues

General:

Abortion

Contraception

Fines/Fees/Bail/Bond

Religious programs / policies

Discrimination-basis:

Religion discrimination

Type of Facility:

Non-government for profit