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Case Name State of Washington v. Azar PR-WA-0001
Docket / Court 1:19-cv-03040-SAB ( E.D. Wash. )
State/Territory Washington
Case Type(s) Presidential/Gubernatorial Authority
Special Collection Take Care
Attorney Organization ACLU Affiliates (any)
ACLU National (all projects)
Case Summary
On March 5, 2019, the State of Washington filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for violating the “Nondirective Mandate” contained in Title X of the Patient Protection and Affordable ... read more >
On March 5, 2019, the State of Washington filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for violating the “Nondirective Mandate” contained in Title X of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), Title X generally, and the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. § 706). On March 4, 2019, HHS published a Final Rule, scheduled to go into effect on May 3, 2019, which would alter longstanding regulations governing Title X grants for family planning services. Washington sought declaratory and injunctive relief to invalidate the Final Rule and prohibit HHS from implementing or enforcing it, as well as costs and attorneys’ fees.

On March 18, 2019, this case was consolidated for pretrial proceedings with a separate case filed by the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association (NFPRHA; a national membership organization of Title X providers that operate or administer more than 3,500 health centers providing family planning services to more than 3.7 million patients each year), and two health care professionals, challenging the same HHS Rule on behalf of themselves and their patients. These plaintiffs were represented by the ACLU and private counsel. The original Washington case and consolidated case were assigned to Judge Stanley A. Bastian.

The plaintiffs alleged that the Rule would eliminate a Title X requirement that pregnant patients receive nondirective pregnancy counseling (“Nondirective Mandate”); deny Title X funds to entities that provide comprehensive reproductive health care services at the same clinical site (such as abortion services); and impose numerous additional requirements that would undermine the quality of medical care, interfere with provider-patience relationships, reduce access to services, and contravene Title X’s purpose. Washington alleged that the Final Rule would expel providers representing 89% of Washington’s Title X network, require a DOH program contrary to Washington Law, and result in a loss of Title X funds that would irreparably harm Washington and its most vulnerable residents by reducing the effectiveness of Washington’s family planning program and causing financial harm to State Medicaid and related programs.

Washington and the NFPRHA parties filed motions for preliminary injunctions on March 22, 2019, seeking to prohibit HHS from implementing the Final Rule. HHS filed a motion in opposition on April 12, 2019, and a motion hearing was held on April 25, 2019. After the hearing, Judge Bastian granted plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction, enjoining the Final Rule nationwide until further order of the court. 376 F.Supp.3d 1119. The decision noted that, “although Plaintiffs have met their burden of showing that all four factors [likelihood of success on the merits, irreparable harm, balance of equities, and public interest] tip in their favor, the irreparable harm and balance of equities factors tip so strongly in Plaintiffs’ favor that a strong showing of likelihood on the merits was not necessary.”

On May 3, 2019, the defendants filed a notice of appeal and motion to stay the preliminary injunction, as well as a notice of interlocutory and preliminary injunction appeal regarding the plaintiffs’ preliminary injunction. On May 4, 2019, the defendants filed a motion to expedite the hearing on their motion to stay the plaintiff’s preliminary injunction, which was denied three days later. Judge Bastian eventually denied that motion of June 3, 2019.

On May 24, 2019, the defendants filed a motion in the district court to stay proceedings pending appeal. That motion was denied on June 14, 2019.

On June 20, 2019, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a per curiam decision granting the defendants' motion to stay pending appeal. The Ninth Circuit noted that the Final Rule was challenged in federal court in California, Oregon, and Washington (this case), and district courts in each case granted plaintiffs’ preliminary injunction motions on nearly identical grounds. HHS appealed in each case and sought to stay the injunctions pending a decision of the merits of its appeals. The panel found that HHS was likely to prevail on the merits of the case, and that the remaining factors also favored a stay pending appeal.

On June 25, 2019, plaintiffs in the Oregon and Washington cases filed an emergency motion for reconsideration en banc regarding the stay. On July 3, 2019, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the panel decision and granted en banc review in all three cases (California, Oregon, and Washington).

Back in the district court, on October 7, 2019, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim or, in the alternative, summary judgment. In response, on November 20, the plaintiffs filed a cross motion for summary judgment.

On February 24, 2020, the Ninth Circuit vacated the district court's preliminary injunction and remanded the case for further proceedings. The Ninth Circuit held that the Final Rule's limits on Title X funds did not implicate the restrictions found in § 1554 of the ACA. In addition, the Ninth Circuit held that the Final Rule was not arbitrary and capricious. The defendants' motion for a stay pending appeal was denied as moot. 950 F.3d 1067.

On October 5, 2020, the plaintiffs filed a petition for a writ of certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Supreme Court granted the petition on February 22, 2021.

Before the Supreme Court granted the petition, on January 28, 2021, shortly after President Biden assumed office, President Biden issued a memorandum directing HHS to "review the 2019 Title X rule and . . . consider, as soon as practicable, whether to suspend, revise, or rescind, or publish for notice and comment proposed rules suspending, revisiting, or rescinding, those regulations, consistent with applicable law, including the Administrative Procedure Act."

On June 11, 2021, the parties filed a stipulated motion to dismiss the case without prejudice. The district court then dismissed the case on the same day. Accordingly, the Supreme Court also dismissed the case.

Elise Coletta - 07/13/2019
Lauren Yu - 11/09/2021


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Due Process: Substantive Due Process
Federalism (including 10th Amendment)
Freedom of speech/association
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
State Plaintiff
Causes of Action Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Defendant(s) United States Department of Health and Human Services
Plaintiff Description State of Washington, National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association (NFPRHA; a national membership organization of Title X providers that operate or administer more than 3,500 health centers providing family planning services to more than 3.7 million patients each year), a Washington-based NFPRHA member organization, and two health care professionals.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Affiliates (any)
ACLU National (all projects)
Class action status sought No
Class action status outcome Not sought
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Source of Relief Litigation
Filed 03/05/2019
Case Closing Year 2021
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  American Medical Association v. Becerra
SCOTUSBlog
Date: May 17, 2021
By: SCOTUSBlog
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association v. Azar
ACLU of Washington
Date: Jun. 28, 2019
By: ACLU of Washington
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Court Docket(s)
E.D. Wash.
06/02/2021
1:19-cv-03040
PR-WA-0001-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
E.D. Wash.
03/05/2019
Complaint [ECF# 1]
PR-WA-0001-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Wash.
03/18/2019
Order Granting Motion to Consolidate: Motion to Expedite; And Setting Briefing Schedule [ECF# 8]
PR-WA-0001-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Wash.
04/25/2019
Order Granting Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 54] (376 F.Supp.3d 1119)
PR-WA-0001-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Wash.
06/03/2019
Order Denying Motion to Stay Preliminary Injunction Pending Appeal [ECF# 82]
PR-WA-0001-0004.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Wash.
06/14/2019
Order Denying Defendants' Motion to Stay Proceedings Pending Appeal [ECF# 86]
PR-WA-0001-0005.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
U.S. Court of Appeals
06/20/2019
Order on Motions For Stay Pending an Appeal [Ct. of App. ECF# 87] (927 F.3d 1068)
PR-WA-0001-0006.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
U.S. Court of Appeals
06/25/2019
Order [Ct. of App. ECF# 90]
PR-WA-0001-0007.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
U.S. Court of Appeals
07/03/2019
Order [Ct. of App. ECF# 92] (927 F.3d 1045)
PR-WA-0001-0008.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
U.S. Court of Appeals
07/11/2019
Order [Ct. of App. ECF# 93] (928 F.3d 1153)
PR-WA-0001-0009.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
U.S. Court of Appeals
09/23/2019
Opinion [Ct. of App. ECF# 144] (950 F.3d 1067)
PR-WA-0001-0011.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: Westlaw
U.S. Court of Appeals
02/24/2020
Opinion [Ct. of App. ECF# 138-1]
PR-WA-0001-0010.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Bastian, Stanley Allen (E.D. Wash.) show/hide docs
PR-WA-0001-0002 | PR-WA-0001-0003 | PR-WA-0001-0004 | PR-WA-0001-0005 | PR-WA-0001-9000
Bea, Carlos T. (Ninth Circuit) show/hide docs
PR-WA-0001-0006
Callahan, Consuelo Maria (Ninth Circuit) show/hide docs
PR-WA-0001-0006
Fletcher, William A. (Ninth Circuit) show/hide docs
PR-WA-0001-0009
Ikuta, Sandra Segal (Ninth Circuit) show/hide docs
PR-WA-0001-0010 | PR-WA-0001-0011
Leavy, Edward (D. Or., FISCR, Ninth Circuit) show/hide docs
PR-WA-0001-0006
Paez, Richard A. (C.D. Cal., Ninth Circuit) show/hide docs
PR-WA-0001-0009 | PR-WA-0001-0010
Thomas, Sidney Runyan (Ninth Circuit) show/hide docs
PR-WA-0001-0007 | PR-WA-0001-0008 | PR-WA-0001-0009
Wardlaw, Kim McLane (C.D. Cal., Ninth Circuit) show/hide docs
PR-WA-0001-0009
Plaintiff's Lawyers Amiri, Brigitte A. (New York) show/hide docs
PR-WA-0001-9000
Argentieri, Nicole (New York) show/hide docs
PR-WA-0001-9000
Beneski, Kristin (Washington) show/hide docs
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Chiang, Emily (Washington) show/hide docs
PR-WA-0001-9000
Crisalli, Paul Michael (Washington) show/hide docs
PR-WA-0001-9000
Dalal, Anjali (New York) show/hide docs
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Deutsch, Elizabeth (New York) show/hide docs
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Ferguson, Robert W. (Washington) show/hide docs
PR-WA-0001-0001
Harlow, Ruth E. (New York) show/hide docs
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Harper, Brandon (New York) show/hide docs
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Kaye, Fiona Jeannette (New York) show/hide docs
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Midgley, John (Washington) show/hide docs
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Shaeffer, Joseph R. (Washington) show/hide docs
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Sokoler, Jennifer B (New York) show/hide docs
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Sprung, Jeffrey Todd (Washington) show/hide docs
PR-WA-0001-0001 | PR-WA-0001-9000
Zdeb, Sara (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Defendant's Lawyers Bernie, Andrew Marshall (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Humphreys, Bradley Philip (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Merritt, Robert C (Virginia) show/hide docs
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Other Lawyers Ahrend, George (Washington) show/hide docs
PR-WA-0001-9000
Ard, Joel B. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PR-WA-0001-9000
Bebchick, Lisa H (New York) show/hide docs
PR-WA-0001-9000
Bulleit, Thomas N (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PR-WA-0001-9000
Condon, Madison E (New York) show/hide docs
PR-WA-0001-9000
Djang, Catherine (New York) show/hide docs
PR-WA-0001-9000
Eagon, Haley (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
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Flowers, Benjamin M (Ohio) show/hide docs
PR-WA-0001-9000
Hallward-Driemeier, Douglas Harry (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Hochschild, Adam (Illinois) show/hide docs
PR-WA-0001-9000
Pitlyk, Sarah Elizabeth (Missouri) show/hide docs
PR-WA-0001-9000
Richards, Daniel (California) show/hide docs
PR-WA-0001-9000
Schwartz, Jason A (New York) show/hide docs
PR-WA-0001-9000
Washburn, Taylor (Washington) show/hide docs
PR-WA-0001-9000

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