The Norman Transcript


December 30, 2013

Merger, layoffs mark the year



In November, Oklahoma City-based Hobby Lobby learned that the Supreme Court had decided to take up the company’s lawsuit over the new health care law’s provision on insurance for contraceptives.

Hobby Lobby and another for-profit company in Pennsylvania had sued, saying they should not have to cover contraceptives that violate their religious beliefs. The court said the cases will be combined for arguments, probably in late March. A decision should come by late June.

Founded in 1972, Hobby Lobby now operates more than 500 stores in 41 states. Hobby Lobby stores are closed on Sunday and the company calls itself d a “biblically founded business.”

The Green family believes life starts at life begins at conception, and they said they oppose only birth control methods that can prevent implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus, but not other forms of contraception.

The company’s religious principles also came under fire earlier in October when a New Jersey man wrote a scathing blog post saying he would never shop at one of the arts-and-crafts stores because the company refused to carry Hanukkah decorations.

But company president Steve Green said the company does not have problems with selling items celebrating Jewish holidays, and that the retail chain would start selling Jewish merchandise in some stores in New York and New Jersey.

That same month, an Oklahoma jury became the first in the country to find Toyota Motor Corp. liable in a case of sudden unintended acceleration that left one person dead. The jury awarded a total of $3 million in monetary damages to the injured driver involved in the crash, and to the family of the passenger, who was killed. The Japanese automaker had won all unintended acceleration cases that went to trial previously.

Another first in Oklahoma happened the day after Thanksgiving, when residents experienced the first legal Black Friday in 2013 in 70 years. Low-price retail events had technically been illegal because of a 1941 law that required retailers to sell products for at least 6 percent more than invoice cost. The change meant that shoppers in the state got to see the same Black Friday deals at big box retailers that are available in other parts of the country.

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