Joe Holland | Cases | First Liberty

Meet Joe Holland 

Joey Holland is the principal owner of Joe Holland Chevrolet, a faith-based, family-owned and operated car dealership with over 150 employees in South Charleston, West Virginia. Joey Holland is committing to running his business according to his Christian faith. For example, the dealership closes on Sundays, and the dealership’s website states that its purpose is “to glorify and honor God by being faithful stewards for all that is entrusted to us.”

One of Joey Holland’s religious convictions is the sacred nature of human life, including life yet to be born. In a statement in 2013, Holland said:

“I am a believing and practicing born-again Christian. I am resolved, as a matter of religious belief, to conduct all aspects of my life, including the management of [Joe] Holland Chevrolet, in accordance with God’s Word. One of my sincerely held religious beliefs is that all innocent human life is sacred to its Creator and that it is profoundly immoral to procure, facilitate, fund, or endorse any form of abortion.”

U.S. Government Forces Organizations to Violate Religious Beliefs—Or Pay a Steep Price 

After the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (also known as “Obamacare”), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a mandate requiring organizations to provide employees with insurance coverage for FDA-approved contraceptives, including some abortion-inducing drugs.

The mandate applied to organizations with more than fifty employees, and those with fewer than fifty employees that provided group health insurance. The mandate only exempts churches, church denominations, and church auxiliaries.

Joe Holland’s religious convictions about the sanctity of human life—convictions grounded in his Christian faith—forbid him from participating in abortion in any way, including in the provision of abortion-inducing drugs to employees as required by the Abortion Pill Mandate. However, according to the mandate, Joe Holland Chevrolet would be required to pay over $15,000 per day (more than $5.4 million each year) in fines for failing to provide the abortion-inducing drugs.

Legal Action

In 2013, Joe Holland Chevrolet, represented by First Liberty Institute, the Family Policy Council of West Virginia, and Robinson & McElwee, PLLC filed a lawsuit against the federal government challenging the Abortion Pill Mandate.

In June 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on the issue in a separate but similar case—Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. In a 5-4 victory for religious freedom, the Court declared that the federal government could not force faith-based for-profit businesses—like Joe Holland Chevrolet—to comply with the mandate against their religious beliefs.

Following the Supreme Court’s ruling on the issue, a U.S. District Court entered a final judgment on May 29, 2015 in favor of Joe Holland and Joe Holland Chevrolet. The ruling protected Joe Holland and his dealership from being forced to either provide coverage for abortion-inducing drugs to employees or pay crippling fines.

“The Court’s ruling reaffirms the constitutional principle that every American is free to live and work according to their beliefs, without fear of punishment by their government,” said Jeff Mateer, First Liberty Institute General Counsel. “The government should never coerce faith-based, for-profit businessmen to violate their religious beliefs.”

PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release: June 26, 2013

Contact: Gregg Wooding, gwooding@libertyinstitute.org

Cell: 214.558.9455, Office: 972.941.4453

FEDERAL JUDGE GRANTS TRO IN FIRST HHS MANDATE LAWSUIT IN STATE OF WEST VIRGINIA

Family-Owned Joe Holland Chevrolet Wins Federal Lawsuit Preventing Enforcement of the Federal Government’s Mandate to Provide Its Employees’ Abortion Coverage


CHARLESTON, WV, June 26, 2013—Today, a federal judge for the United States of the Southern District of West Virginia at Charleston granted a temporary restraining order (TRO) to Joe Holland Chevrolet of Charleston, WV against the federal government’s HHS Mandate. The family-owned, faith-based car dealership is the first in West Virginia to contend and, now, to win injunctive relief from the HHS mandate, which violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the First Amendment to the Constitution. To view a copy of the TRO online, visit:

Earlier this week, attorneys from Liberty Institute, the Family Policy Council of West Virginia, and Robinson & McElwee, PLLC filed the federal lawsuit to save Joe Holland from potential fines of up to $15,000 each day after July 1 for noncompliance in providing abortion-inducing drugs to its employees.

“We are relieved that the federal court has agreed that our client, Joe Holland, a respected Christian businessman known throughout West Virginia, should not have to violate his deeply held religious beliefs, nor be subject to crushing fines,” said Jeff Mateer, General Counsel for Liberty Institute. “The government should not be able to coerce family-owned and faith-based businesses to violate their religious beliefs.”

Holland’s case joins 61 other cases and more than 200 plaintiffs nationwide contending that the HHS mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the First Amendment to the Constitution. To date, 21 courts have granted injunctive relief prohibiting enforcement of the HHS mandate against businesses asserting violation of their religious beliefs. The lawsuit papers can be downloaded at here.

“This is a great victory for West Virginians who simply want to live out their faith in public,” said Jeremiah Dys, President of the Family Policy Council of West Virginia.

Joe Holland Chevrolet is a family-owned and operated car dealership located in South Charleston, WV with more than 150 employees. The dealership’s purpose is “to glorify and honor God by being faithful stewards for all that is entrusted to us.”   The objection to the HHS mandate stems from Holland’s commitment to operate his business in accordance with his Christian faith, which includes his conviction that his business close on Sundays.

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About Liberty Institute

Liberty Institute is a nonprofit legal group dedicated to defending and restoring religious liberty across America — in our schools, for our churches, and throughout the public arena. Liberty’s vision is to reestablish religious liberty in accordance with the principles of our Founding Fathers. For information, visit www.FirstLiberty.org.

About the Family Policy Council of West Virginia

The Family Policy Council of West Virginia is a servant organization that advocates for policies that embrace the sanctity of human life, enrich marriage, and safeguard religious freedom. Advancing, defending, and equipping West Virginia’s families through policy, politics, and preparation at FamilyPolicyWV.com.

To download this press release, please click here.

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