University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Buck v. Stankovic IM-PA-0006
Docket / Court 3:07-cv-00717-ARC ( M.D. Pa. )
State/Territory Pennsylvania
Case Type(s) Immigration
Attorney Organization ACLU National (all projects)
Case Summary
On April 17, 2007, a U.S. citizen and a citizen of Mexico, represented by the ACLU Foundation, the ACLU of Pennsylvania and private attorneys, filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania to challenge the denial of their application for a marriage license. Luzerne ... read more >
On April 17, 2007, a U.S. citizen and a citizen of Mexico, represented by the ACLU Foundation, the ACLU of Pennsylvania and private attorneys, filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania to challenge the denial of their application for a marriage license. Luzerne County required persons seeking to obtain a marriage license to prove their lawful presence in the United States before their application for a marriage license would be accepted. Plaintiffs' § 1983 complaint alleged that this policy was unconstitutional in that it violated the Due Process Clause, the Equal Protection Clause and the Supremacy Clause. Plaintiffs moved for a TRO and/or a preliminary injunction the day after suit was filed.

Following a hearing on the plaintiffs' motions, the District Court (Judge A. Richard Caputo) granted the plaintiffs' request for a TRO and enjoined the County from requiring the non-U.S. citizen plaintiff to produce a visa or other proof of his lawful presence in the United States as a condition of obtaining a marriage license. Judge Caputo reasoned that both the U.S. citizen plaintiff and the Mexican citizen possessed the same fundamental right to marry, that defendants' policy did not appear to be closely tailored enough to effectuate a sufficiently important state interest, and therefore, the plaintiffs demonstrated a reasonable probability that the County policy violated the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.

After several months of negotiations, the court signed a consent order on February 11, 2008. The parties agreed that the defendant would no longer require any applicant to produce a visa or other proof of lawful presence in the United States and would post that policy publicly.

The plaintiffs filed a motion for attorneys' fees and costs, which the court granted on August 27, 2008.

Elizabeth Daligga - 07/17/2012


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Federalism
Discrimination-basis
National origin discrimination
General
Public benefits (includes, e.g., in-state tuition, govt. jobs)
Immigration
Constitutional rights
Family
Undocumented immigrants - state and local regulation
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Luzerne County
Resister of Wills Luzerne County
Plaintiff Description United States citizen and a citizen of Mexico who wished to marry but were denied marriage license.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU National (all projects)
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 2007 - n/a
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Unknown
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Threats to the Future of the Immigration Class Action
Washington University Journal of Law and Policy
By: Jill E. Family (Widener University School of Law)
Citation: 27 Wash. U. J.L. & Pol'y 71 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
3:07-cv-00717-ARC (M.D. Pa.) 10/23/2008
IM-PA-0006-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Verified Complaint 04/17/2007
IM-PA-0006-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum 05/01/2007 (485 F.Supp.2d 576) (M.D. Pa.)
IM-PA-0006-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Consent Order 02/11/2008 (M.D. Pa.)
IM-PA-0006-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Petition for Attorneys' Fees and Costs Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1988 03/27/2008
IM-PA-0006-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum 08/27/2008 (2008 WL 4072656) (M.D. Pa.)
IM-PA-0006-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Caputo, A. Richard (M.D. Pa.)
IM-PA-0006-0002 | IM-PA-0006-0003 | IM-PA-0006-0004 | IM-PA-0006-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Chang, Jennifer (California)
IM-PA-0006-0001 | IM-PA-0006-0005
Diver, Edward (Pennsylvania)
IM-PA-0006-0001 | IM-PA-0006-9000
Grogan, John J. (Pennsylvania)
IM-PA-0006-0001 | IM-PA-0006-0003 | IM-PA-0006-0005 | IM-PA-0006-9000
Guttentag, Lucas (New York)
IM-PA-0006-0001 | IM-PA-0006-0005
Jadwat, Omar C. (New York)
IM-PA-0006-0001 | IM-PA-0006-0003 | IM-PA-0006-0005 | IM-PA-0006-9000
Newell, Jennifer Chang (California)
IM-PA-0006-9000
Roper, Mary Catherine (Pennsylvania)
IM-PA-0006-0001 | IM-PA-0006-0003 | IM-PA-0006-0005 | IM-PA-0006-9000
Walczak, Witold J. (Pennsylvania)
IM-PA-0006-0001 | IM-PA-0006-0005
Defendant's Lawyers Falvello, Conrad A. (Pennsylvania)
IM-PA-0006-0003 | IM-PA-0006-9000
Hudacek, Michael J. (Pennsylvania)
IM-PA-0006-0003 | IM-PA-0006-9000
Mahoney, Harry G. (Pennsylvania)
IM-PA-0006-0003 | IM-PA-0006-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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