Small business owner sues Obama administration over employer mandate delay

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WASHINGTON — The conservative-leaning public interest law firm Judicial Watch filed suit against the Obama administration Tuesday t challenging its decision to delay the employer mandate.

The lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida on behalf of Florida orthodontist Larry Kawa, argues that the delay harmed Kawa’s business. The plaintiffs claim that the government’s actions “exceeded the Obama administration’s statutory authority, is arbitrary, capricious, and contrary to the law, and is otherwise unlawful,” Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton announced at a Tuesday press conference.

The suit names the U.S. Treasury, Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew, the Internal Revenue Service and IRS Acting Director Daniel Werfel as defendants.

Kawa’s business employs 70 full-time worker and would be have been subject to the Obamacare rule mandating that companies provide health insurance to their workers. In July, the Obama administration postponed the employer mandate until 2015.

According to Kawa and Judicial Watch the Boca Raton orthodontist has standing to sue because he “expended substantial time and resources” to prepare for the employer mandate by January 1, 2014, when it was supposed to take effect.

“Plaintiff would not have expended its time and resources and incurred these anticipatory costs in 2013 if the mandate had not been scheduled to take effect until 2015, but instead would have spent its time, resources, and money on other priorities,” the lawsuit reads.

Kawa — who said that he does not support Obamacare — said that the amount he spent on compliance amounted to $5,000 in legal fees.

“I have standing because I have made investments of both time and money, as a law abiding citizen and a local business owner to make sure that my business was in compliance with the law. And as soon as I did that this president moved the goal posts,” Kawa said at the Tuesday presser.

The complaint further alleges that the employer mandate delay violates the Administrative procedures Act, which, Fitton explained, prohibits “agency action that exceeds an agency’s statutory authority, is arbitrary capricious or otherwise not in accordance with the law. ”

Judicial Watch is seeking an injunction blocking the delay and a declaratory judgment that the delay is unlawful.

“We obviously object to the employer mandate and to the entire healthcare law,” Fitton said Tuesday. “But we understand that under the U.S. Constitution, the law can only be changed by legislation passed by Congress and signed by the president. President Obama would delay the damage of his health care scheme until after the 2014 congressional elections.”

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Caroline May