Tuesday, June 03, 2014

In Modified Opinion, Court Dismisses Some Diocesan Contraceptive Coverage Claims

In Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta v. Sebelius, (ND GA, May 30, 2014), a Georgia federal district court in part granted the government's motion to reconsider its March 26 decision.  That decision, invoking RFRA, had  permanently enjoined the government from requiring Catholic Education of North Georgia and Atlanta Catholic Charities to comply with the self-certification requirements to opt out of contraceptive coverage.  In that decision, the court refused on mootness grounds to grant summary judgment to the Atlanta Archdiocese and the Savannah Diocese because they are totally exempt from the contraceptive coverage mandate.  In its May 30 opinion, the court completely dismissed these claims by the Diocesan plaintiffs, as well as dismissing the non-RFRA claims by all the plaintiffs.  The court however refused to reconsider its conclusion that the health plans involved are "church plans" under ERISA.