Thursday, March 29, 2018

Permanent Injunction Issued In Contraceptive Mandate Case

In Sharpe Holdings v. United States Department of Health & Human Services, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51158 (ED MO, March 28, 2018), the complex current status of the Obama Administration's Affordable Care Act Contraceptive Mandate rules led a Missouri federal magistrate judge to grant a declaratory judgment and permanent injunction to two religious organizations that object to those rules.  The Trump Administration had issued broader exemptions that covered plaintiffs, and at that point the government moved to dismiss the case as moot.  However in December 2017, Pennsylvania and California federal district courts entered nationwide preliminary injunctions against enforcement of the Trump Administration's broader exemptions. (See prior postings 12). Thus the Obama Administration rules were again in effect.  This led the court in yesterday's opinion to hold:
in light of the Eighth Circuit's prior reasoning on plaintiffs' RFRA challenge to the accommodation process, and particularly given that the government no longer advances a substantive defense thereof, this Court holds that plaintiffs have attained actual success on the merits and are entitled to a permanent injunction.