Press Releases

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Affirms Safe and Timely Access to Medications

SEATTLE, Wash. (July 23, 2015) - Perkins Coie attorneys, along with Legal Voice and Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, won a long-fought legal victory on July 23, 2015 in Stormans v. Wiesman (formerly Stormans v. Selecky), which affirmed that Washington pharmacies must fill all lawful prescriptions without discrimination or delay.

In a precedential decision, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the constitutionality of two Washington State Board of Pharmacy rules that together require pharmacies to fill legal prescriptions. The Plaintiffs—two individual pharmacists and a pharmacy owner backed by the Alliance Defense Fund and Becket Fund—had argued that rules requiring pharmacies to fill emergency contraception and other legal prescriptions violated their religious freedom. In a unanimous decision, the Ninth Circuit rejected Plaintiffs’ claims, and held that the rules were neutral, generally applicable, and rationally related to Washington’s interest of ensuring its citizens have safe and timely access to medications. The Court also rejected Plaintiffs’ equal protection and due process claims.

Along with Legal Voice and Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, Perkins Coie has represented a group of individuals as intervenors in the litigation for over six years, including through a multiweek 2011-12 bench trial. The appellate briefing was completed in 2012, and oral argument took place late in 2014, following several delays.

The successful Perkins Coie team included partners Andrew Greene and Thomas Boeder and associate Katherine DeWeese Bennett.

About Legal Voice: Legal Voice pursues justice for all women and girls in the Northwest, through ground-breaking litigation, legislative advocacy, and legal rights education.

About Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest: Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest is a not-for-profit family planning agency that also advocates around issues such as keeping medications (including contraception) accessible and legal.

About Perkins Coie: Founded in 1912, Perkins Coie LLP has more than 1,000 lawyers in 19 offices across the United States and Asia. The firm provides a full array of corporate, commercial litigation and intellectual property legal services to a broad range of clients, from FORTUNE 50 corporations to emerging growth startups, as well as public and not-for-profit organizations.

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