Unusual HHS Mandate Challenge —TMLC Asks Federal Judge for an Emergency Restraining Order in Eden Foods Case

Today,TMLC filed Emergency Motions for Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) and Preliminary Injunction (PI) on behalf of Michael Potter and his company, Eden Foods, Inc. to stop enforcement of the HHS Mandate.   

For years, Michael Potter, a Roman Catholic and President and sole shareholder of Eden Food Corporation, for religious reasons had arranged that the Blue Cross/Blue Shield insurance coverage he designed for his 128 employees specifically excluded coverage for contraception and abortifacients.  In fact, on September 1, 2012, the last time his insurance policy came up for renewal, those exclusions remained in place.   However, on February 21, 2013, Blue Cross presented Potter with a new contract that included coverage for contraception and abortifacients.  Potter refused to sign.  Last week, March 15, 2013, Potter learned that without his authorization or consent, Blue Cross inserted contraception and abortifacient coverage as part of his company’s plan. 

The TRO/PI motions are part of a lawsuit TMLC filed two days ago, in Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, on behalf of Michael Potter and his company.  The case has been assigned to Judge Denise Page Hood. 

Click here to read entire TRO/ PI Motions.

The HHS Mandate requires employers to pay for health insurance that covers abortion-inducing drugs and contraception under threat of draconian fines. It also requires employers to educate their employees about use of those drugs. 

TMLC attorney, Erin Mersino, asked Judge Hood to hear the motion “at the earliest possible time” because it was communicated to Plaintiffs last Friday that the HHS Mandate went in effect for Michael Potter and his company, Eden Foods, Inc.  Potter learned of this imposition of the HHS Mandate against his will last Friday, March 15, 2013. TMLC immediately began crafting the complaint and emergency motions.

 If granted, injunctive relief from the Court would permit Potter to continue providing insurance for his employees that does not violate his constitutionally and statutorily granted rights to free exercise of religion.

Mersino asked the Court for protection for the Plaintiffs from the Government’s blatant violation of Mr. Potter’s constitutional rights to the Free Exercise of Religion and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.  The HHS Mandate and the Affordable Care Act contain several exemptions for seemingly arbitrary reasons—but fail to contain any exemption that protects the religious liberty and freedom of religious business owners.