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Herx v. Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

December 1, 2014

EMILY HERX, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
DIOCESE OF FORT WAYNE--SOUTH BEND, INC. and ST. VINCENT DE PAUL SCHOOL, Defendants-Appellants

Submitted October 17, 2014

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division. No. 1:12-cv-00122 RLM -- Robert L. Miller, Jr., Judge.

For Emily Herx, Plaintiff - Appellee: Kathleen A. DeLaney, Attorney, Delaney & Delaney Llc, Indianapolis, IN.

For Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Inc., St. Vincent DE Paul School, Defendants - Appellants: M. Scott Hall, Attorney, Hall & Gooden, Fort Wayne, IN; John Charles Theisen, Attorney, Theisen & Associates, Fort Wayne, IN.

Before CUDAHY, WILLIAMS, and SYKES, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 1086

Sykes, Circuit Judge

A Catholic school in Fort Wayne, Indiana, discharged a language-arts teacher because she underwent in vitro fertilization in violation of the moral teaching of the Catholic Church. She sued the school and the local diocese alleging that they unlawfully discriminated against her because of her sex and disability. The case comes to us from an order denying the defendants' motion for summary judgment. Because that decision is nonfinal, the plaintiff has moved to dismiss for lack of appellate jurisdiction. For the reasons that follow, we grant the motion.

I. Background

In August 2003 Emily Herx began work as a junior-high language-arts teacher at St. Vincent de Paul School in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Her teaching contract was subject to annual renewal. In 2008 Herx and her husband learned that she has a medical condition that causes infertility. She began a course of fertility treatments, starting with artificial insemination. That procedure was unsuccessful, and in March 2010 she underwent in vitro fertilization. Herx told the school's principal about her treatment and was allowed to take time off for it. Herx's contract was renewed again for the 2010-2011 school year.

In April 2011, just as Herx was about to undergo a second round of in vitro fertilization,

Page 1087

Monsignor John Kuzmich, the pastor of St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church, met with Herx and advised her that in vitro fertilization is incompatible with the Catholic Church's moral teaching. Soon after that meeting, the Diocese of Fort Wayne--South Bend notified Herx that because she underwent in vitro fertilization in violation of the Church's moral doctrine, her teaching contract would not be renewed for the 2011-2012 school year.

Herx sued the Diocese and St. Vincent School (collectively, " the Diocese" ) alleging claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, see 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2; id. § 2000e(k), and the Americans with Disabilities Act (" ADA" ), see 42 U.S.C. § § 12101 et seq. She contends that the defendants discriminated against her on the basis of sex and disability by refusing to renew her contract because she underwent in vitro fertilization.

The Diocese moved for summary judgment on both claims. The district court granted the motion with respect to the ADA claim; that ruling is not at issue on this appeal. On the Title VII claim, the Diocese invoked two statutory exemptions ...


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