Thursday, October 24, 2013

6th Circuit Denies Small Business Challenge To Contraceptive Mandate

In Eden Foods, Inc. v. Sebelius, (6th Cir., Oct. 24, 2013), the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals denied a preliminary injunction to a for-profit natural foods corporation and its Catholic owners who claim that the contraceptive coverage mandate under the Affordable Care Act violates their free exercise rights as protected by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.  The court held that circuit's prior decision in Autocam Corp. v. Sebelius (see prior posting) creates binding precedent for the circuit. In that case the court held that the coverage mandate's burden falls on the corporation, and that the business' owners lack standing to assert free exercise claims on behalf of the corporation.  Insofar as a claim by the corporation itself, the court in Autocam concluded that a for-profit corporation is not a person capable of religious exercise under RFRA. MLive reports on the decision.