Domino’s Pizza (DPZ) founder Tom Monaghan sued the federal government in December on behalf of his Michigan office park, Domino’s Farms, to avoid providing the mandatory contraception coverage in the nation’s health care law — also known as the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare. On Sunday, a district court judge in Michigan granted an emergency motion for a temporary restraining order that allows Monaghan to avoid providing contraception as part of his property management firm’s health care plan until the case is resolved.
The law went into effect on Tuesday and is already getting costly for some companies fighting its contraception provision. Last week, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor denied a similar injunction request for Oklahoma City arts-and-crafts store chain Hobby Lobby, which also has a contraception-based suit working its way through the lower courts and risks potential fines of $1.3 million a day for not offering the required coverage.
The heads of both companies have protested the law vociferously on religious grounds. Monaghan — who has used his Domino’s fortune to bankroll Catholic charities, support conservative political candidates and found Ave Maria University in Florida — argues that contraception isn’t health care, but “gravely immoral.” When Hobby Lobby launched its suit back in September, founder David Green wrote an opinion piece for USA Today blasting the mandate requiring the chain’s health insurance to provide “what I believe are abortion-causing drugs” because “we believe doing so might end a life after the moment of conception.”
Monaghan sold much of his controlling stake in Domino’s to Bain Capital back in 1998 and his Domino’s Farms property outside of Ann Arbor is a small holding not affiliated with the company.
Hobby Lobby having to pay $1.3 million a day in fines is going to hurt them big time but I admire them for standing their ground on this. Let’s hope the court battles they – and Monaghan – face in the months ahead lead to a change in this monstrosity of a law so other companies who can’t afford to pay the fines and court costs but who want to opt out of the contraception mandate on religious freedoms grounds can do so.H