Ohio Air Reservoir Manufacturing Company Sues HHS Over Mandate

An Ohio company that manufactures reservoirs for air brakes has filed suit against the Department of Health and Human Services over the "preventive services" mandate.

Johnson Welded Products, Inc. of Urbana filed their complaint on Tuesday in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

"Plaintiffs seek a preliminary and permanent injunction enjoining the challenged mandate and a declaration that the mandate violates federal constitutional and statutory law," reads the suit in part.

"The mandate is unconstitutional on its face and as applied in that it, among other things, violates Plaintiffs' rights to the free exercise of religion and the freedom of speech under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act."

JWP is being represented by the American Freedom Law Center. Robert J. Muise, AFLC co-founder and senior counsel, told The Christian Post that AFLC got involved courtesy "referral from another lawyer who knew that we did religious liberty cases such as this."

"Once served, we intend to file a motion for a temporary restraining order/preliminary injunction to halt the enforcement of the mandate before it takes effect against JWP on July 1," said Muise, who added that AFLC is also presently representing Priests for Life in a similar suit.

Based in Ohio and with approximately 270 full-time employees, JWP is a family owned business whose leadership seeks to run the company in accordance with Catholic beliefs.

Lilli Johnson, the president and majority owner of JWP, is identified in the lawsuit as seeking to run her company "consistent with her sincerely held Catholic beliefs."

In addition to Kathleen Sebelius of HHS, other named defendants in the suit include Timothy F. Geithner of the Treasury Department and Hilda L. Solis of the Labor Department.

David Yerushalmi, co-founder of AFLC, said in a statement that even with recent compromises the HHS mandate – which requires employers to cover contraceptives and abortifacients in their employees' health insurance plans – remains an example of "Obama's assault on religious freedom."

"In this battle, we all stand as one, shoulder to shoulder, against the Obama administration's latest assault. America was founded on religious freedom," said Yerushalmi.

"AFLC is committed to stopping Obama's war on this fundamental liberty founded in our Judeo-Christian traditions."

The JWP lawsuit comes about a month after the official public commenting period on the HHS' contraceptive coverage program concluded.

Earlier this year, Sebelius told Reuters that the whole controversy over the mandate and the Affordable Care Act "has been relentless and that continues."