My ACLJ colleagues and I have filed a motion for a preliminary injunction in Gilardi v. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, which is the fourth lawsuit the ACLJ has filed against the HHS Mandate. The Mandate requires most employers, under pain of penalty, to pay for employee health insurance that covers contraceptives, abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization procedures, and related education and counseling.
In this case, we represent two brothers, Francis and Philip Gilardi, and their family-owned Ohio companies, Freshway Foods and Freshway Logistics. Freshway Foods is a fresh produce processor and packer that has about 340 full-time employees, and Freshway Logistics is a for-hire carrier of mainly refrigerated products that has about 55 full-time employees. The two companies serve twenty-three states.
The Gilardi brothers are Catholic and they contend that the HHS Mandate violates their religious beliefs because it will require them to direct their companies to purchase and provide health insurance that covers contraceptives, abortion-inducing drugs, and sterilization procedures, and related education and counseling, all of which run contrary to their religious beliefs.
For the last ten years, the Gilardi brothers and their companies have specifically excluded the above-mentioned goods and services from their employee health insurance plan based on their religious beliefs.
Through this motion for a preliminary injunction, we are asking the federal court to allow the Gilardi brothers and their businesses to continue to provide the same health insurance they have been providing for the last ten years, in keeping with their religious beliefs.
If the two companies do not comply with the HHS Mandate, they face crippling penalties totaling over $14 million per year.
In the motion, we are asking the federal court to block the application of the Mandate to our clients before April 1, 2013, which is when they must renew their employee health plan and when the Mandate applies to them.
The lawsuit filed on behalf of the Gilardis and their companies is the fourth direct challenge filed by the ACLJ against the Mandate. In the three other lawsuits, we were successful in obtaining injunctions on behalf of our clients. You can learn more about those three other cases here, here, and here.
The ACLJ has also filed “friend-of-the-court” briefs supporting the plaintiffs in thirteen other Mandate cases.
We will keep you posted about the Gilardi case and about our other important efforts to invalidate the HHS Mandate.