Tuesday, January 01, 2013

District Court Grants Domino's Pizza Founder Preliminary Injunction Against Contraceptive Mandate Enforcement

Another court has granted a preliminary injunction to a for-profit business and its owner, preventing enforcement against them of the Affordable Care Act contraceptive coverage mandate.  In Monaghan v. Sebelius, (ED MI, Dec. 30, 2012), a Michigan federal district court held that the property management company, Domino's Farms Corp., and its owner Thomas Monaghan (founder of Domino's Pizza) had adequately alleged that the mandate imposes a substantial burden on Monaghan's Catholic religious beliefs:
Monaghan contends that his compliance with the mandate would require him to violate his religious beliefs because the mandate forces him, and/or the corporation he controls, to pay for, provide, facilitate, or otherwise support contraception, sterilization and to some extent, abortion....
The Supreme Court has held that "putting substantial pressure  on an adherent  to modify his behavior and to violate his beliefs" substantially burdens a person’s exercise of religion.... [T]he Court is in no position to decide whether and to what extent Monaghan would violate his religious beliefs by complying with the mandate....  Other courts have assumed that a law substantially burdens a person’s free exercise of religion based on that person’s assertions.
The court went on to hold that at this point the government had not carried its burden under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of showing that it had a compelling interest or used the least restrictive means in burdening plaintiff's free exercise. MLive reports on the decision. (See prior related posting.)