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Efforts Against HHS Mandate Progress

By Edward White1363629197000

This past week, the American Center for Law & Justice ("ACLJ") filed appellate briefs in two of our six lawsuits challenging the HHS Mandate: the Gilardi appeal and the Korte appeal.

The Gilardi Appeal

On March 12, 2013, we filed a reply brief in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in support of our emergency motion for an injunction pending appeal in Gilardi v. United States Department of Health & Human Services.

In that case, we represent Frank and Phil Gilardi and their family-owned companies, Freshway Foods and Freshway Logistics. These Ohio-based companies process, pack, and deliver fresh produce to twenty-three states and have about 400 full-time employees. The Gilardi brothers are Catholic, and they run their companies pursuant to their faith.

On April 1, 2013, however, when their employee health insurance is up for renewal, the Mandate will require the Gilardis, contrary to their Catholic faith, to provide coverage for all contraceptive methods, including abortion-inducing drugs, and sterilization procedures. If they do not comply, the federal government will impose annual penalties of more than $14 million dollars.

A couple of weeks ago, the trial judge denied our request for a preliminary injunction to prevent application of the Mandate while the legal issues in the case are fully resolved.

We immediately appealed that decision to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. In addition to working to overturn that decision, we filed an emergency motion asking the appellate court to provide our clients with injunctive relief before the Mandate applies to them on April 1st.

The reply brief we filed last week is the final brief to be filed regarding the emergency motion. We anticipate a ruling on that motion before April 1st.

In the coming weeks, we will be filing our opening merits brief explaining why the trial court wrongly denied the preliminary injunction motion.

The Korte Appeal

On March 15, 2013, we filed our final brief in the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Korte v. United States Department of Health & Human Services.

In that case, we represent Cyril and Jane Korte, a husband and wife, and their family-owned construction company, Korte & Luitjohan Contractors, Inc. The Kortes seek to manage and operate their Illinois company pursuant to their Catholic faith.

Their faith prevents them from arranging for and paying for employee health insurance coverage that provides the goods and services required by the Mandate. If they follow their faith and do not provide such coverage, the federal government will impose annual fines of approximately $730,000.

This past October, we filed a motion asking the federal trial court to enter a preliminary injunction to prevent enforcement of the Mandate, which would have applied to the Kortes and their company on January 1, 2013, when their employee health plan had to be renewed.

The trial court denied our motion in December, and we immediately appealed that decision to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. We also filed an emergency motion for injunctive relief to stop application of the Mandate before January 1st.

In late December, the Seventh Circuit granted the emergency motion, which permits the Kortes to comply with their faith while the Seventh Circuit considers our appeal of the trial court's denial of the preliminary injunction motion.

In that regard, we filed our opening brief on appeal this past January. The reply brief we filed last week is the last brief to be filed regarding whether the trial court improperly denied the preliminary injunction motion.

What occurs next in the Korte appeal is the Seventh Circuit setting an oral argument date, which should occur in the coming months.

We will continue to keep you informed about these and the other important cases in which we are involved against the HHS Mandate.

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