On August 17, 2017 HSR partners Dan Stormer and Lori Rifkin filed a complaint in federal court in the Central District of California on behalf of Judith Dominguez and her wife Patricia Martinez. The Los Angeles County married couple sued Dominguez’s employer, Cherry Creek Mortgage Company, and its health insurance administrator, UnitedHealth Services, for refusal to provide them spousal health insurance coverage on an equal basis to heterosexual employees. The case argues that Defendants’ conduct violates federal laws prohibiting discrimination based on sex including Title VII and the Affordable Care Act.
In December 2016, in the wake of Donald Trump’s election, Colorado-based Cherry Creek Mortgage Company told their employee Judith Dominguez that they would no longer offer spousal health care benefits to Dominguez’s wife Patricia Martinez. Even worse, Cherry Creek told Dominguez that the company was retroactively retracting the health benefits they had provided to her wife for the prior year- leaving the couple facing tens of thousands of dollars in unexpected charges for care after Martinez’s 2015 heart attacks. When the couple stood up for their rights, Cherry Creek retaliated by firing Dominguez.
Even as the Supreme Court has settled the right to equal marriage in Obergefell v Hodges (2015) and wide majority of Americans support antidiscrimination protections for LGBT citizens, Cherry Creek has taken the position that the company should not have to follow federal civil rights laws. The Colorado-based mortgage brokerage claims it does not have to provide health insurance benefits to spouses of LGBT employees, yet willingly markets its mortgage products to same-sex couples.
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