A federal court judge has granted a temporary restraining order that allows Tom Monaghan to avoid contraceptive coverage for employees in his Ann Arbor, Mich., Domino's Farms property management company. (Gannett, John Gallagher/Detroit Free Press/File)(Photo: John Gallagher, Detroit Free Press/File)
DETROIT -- The founder of Domino's Pizza won a court order that temporarily allows him to avoid Affordable Care Act-mandated contraceptive coverage for employees at his Ann Arbor, Mich., Domino's Farms property management company.
federal court judge granted a temporary restraining order Sunday,
citing a First Amendment right to freedom of religion, until a final
decision is made.
Tom Monaghan sold Domino's Pizza in 1998. He was also the owner of the Detroit Tigers from 1983-92.
A devout Catholic who also founded Ave Maria University
in southwest Florida, Monaghan argued in a lawsuit filed in the U.S.
District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan on Dec. 14 that
being forced to cover his Domino's Farms
staffers' contraceptives, such as the Plan B and other morning-after
pills, ran contrary to the tenets of his faith. "Gravely immoral
practices" is how contraceptives are described in the original lawsuit.
elated," said his attorney, Erin Mersino. "This is really what (my
client) sought at this point. We're happy that as of tomorrow, religious
freedom won't be violated."
U.S. District Judge Lawrence Zatkoff
wrote in his opinion that he was issuing the temporary restraining order
because the case wouldn't be resolved before Tuesday, when the
Domino's Farms health care plan year begins.
Insurance companies began to be subjected to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services mandate Aug. 1.
by the mandate will substantially burden his exercise of religion,"
Zatkoff said. "Because plaintiffs' claims involve a First Amendment
right, and because the court has found some likelihood that plaintiffs'
... claim will succeed on the merits, the court finds that irreparable
harm could result to plaintiff."
The government says the
contraception mandate benefits women's health and removes financial
barriers. There are about a dozen similar lawsuits pending nationwide.
a related issue, a Texas judge Monday ruled that state can cut off
funding to Planned Parenthood's family planning programs for poor women.
Judge Gary Harger said that Texas may exclude otherwise qualified
doctors and clinics from receiving state funding if they advocate for
Monaghan filed for a temporary restraining order Dec. 21.
Domino's Farms, which has 45 full-time and 44 part-time employees,
failed to provide health insurance in an attempt to dodge the
contraceptives requirement, it would face about $200,000 in annual
penalties, according to court documents.
Zlati Meyer, Detroit Free Press