Wheaton College Case Against HHS Dismissed on Standing and Ripeness Grounds

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has dismissed Wheaton College’s complaint against Kathleen Sebelius and the Department of Health and Human Services on standing and ripeness grounds.  As to standing, the court held that Wheaton’s allegations only made out claims of “future possible injury” because HHS has informed Wheaton that it qualifies for the safe harbor provisions of the mandate, and because an enforcement action by HHS within the safe harbor is neither imminent nor likely.  As to ripeness, the court said: “Because they are in the process of being amended, the preventive services regulations are by definition a tentative agency position,” and therefore unfit for adjudication.

The case is Wheaton College v. Sebelius, 2012 WL 3637162 (D.D.C. Aug. 24, 2012).

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