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Case Name Dragovich v. U.S. Department of Treasury PB-CA-0030
Docket / Court 4:10-cv-01564-CW ( N.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Public Benefits / Government Services
Special Collection Same-Sex Marriage
Attorney Organization Legal Services/Legal Aid
Case Summary
On April 13, 2010, several employees of the State of California with same-sex domestic partners or spouses recognized under California law filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Oakland Division, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the Declaratory ... read more >
On April 13, 2010, several employees of the State of California with same-sex domestic partners or spouses recognized under California law filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Oakland Division, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201, and the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. § 702, against the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Board of Administrators of the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS). The plaintiffs, represented by private and public interest counsel, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging violations of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. Specifically, the plaintiff claimed that the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and a provision of the federal tax code violate the Constitution's guarantees of equal protection and substantive due process by barring the same-sex legal spouses and registered domestic partners of California public employees from enrollment in the CalPERS long-term care plan, even though opposite-sex legal spouses are permitted to enroll.

The plaintiffs' initial complaint included only claims by same-sex married couples and none by same-sex domestic partners. On January 18, 2011, the Court (Judge Claudia A. Wilken) denied a defense motion to dismiss these claims, finding that the plaintiffs had "sufficiently stated a claim that the laws at issue...do not bear a rational relationship to a legitimate government interest." Dragovich v. U.S. Dep't of the Treasury, 764 F. Supp. 2d 1178 (N.D. Cal. 2011).

Shortly after this, on February 25, 2011, the Department of Justice, representing the federal defendants, notified the court that it had come to the conclusion that § 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional and that it would thus cease to defend that provision. In response, the House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group intervened to provide a defense.

On September 17, 2011, plaintiffs submitted an amended complaint including claims by same-sex domestic partners. The Department of Justice, while no longer opposing the claims of the same-sex married couples, moved to dismiss these new claims. On January 26, 2012, however, the Court (Judge Wilken) denied this motion, finding plaintiffs had sufficiently stated a claim for domestic partners as well. Dragovich v. U.S. Dep't of the Treasury, No. C 10-01564 CW, 2012 WL 253325 (N.D. Cal. Jan. 26, 2012).

Meanwhile, on January 19, 2012, the plaintiffs moved for summary judgment, and the Department of Justice submitted a brief supporting the motion as it pertained to same-sex married couples. It made a cross-motion for summary judgment as to the domestic partnership claims, and defendant-intervenors cross-moved for summary judgment as to all claims.

On May 24, 2012, the District Court (Judge Wilken) granted the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment and denied the cross-motions of defendants and defendant-intervenors. It held that Section 3 of DOMA violates the equal protection rights of same-sex spouses and that Section 7702B9(f)(C) of the Internal Revenue Code violates the equal protection rights of registered domestic partners, and issued an injunction prohibiting CalPERS from denying enrollment to same-sex spouses or registered domestic partners based on those provisions. It also enjoined the Treasury from disqualifying CalPERS's plan from beneficial tax treatment for following its order. The order was stayed pending appeal.

On October 28, 2013, the 9th Circuit granted appellants motion to vacate in part and remanded the case for further processing consistent with United States v. Windsor and Hollingsworth v. Perry. On November 26, 2013, Judge Wilken ordered briefing regarding subsequent legal developments, including the Windsor and Perry cases, and their implication on this case. On August 28, 2014, plaintiffs moved for additional remedies in the case, for leave to file a supplemental complaint, and for summary judgment. The defendants replied in opposition and filed cross motions for summary judgment. The court heard the proceedings on November 20, 2014, but the transcript is not yet available, nor has the court issued its ruling.

Christopher Schad - 05/29/2012
Chris MacColl - 03/17/2014
Alex Wharton - 12/03/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Discrimination-basis
Sexual orientatation
General
Gay/lesbian/transgender
Government Services (specify)
Marriage
Public benefits (includes, e.g., in-state tuition, govt. jobs)
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) The State of California
U.S. Department of Treasury
Plaintiff Description employees of the state of California whose same-sex spouses or domestic partners were denied enrollment in the California Public Employees’ Retirement System
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Legal Services/Legal Aid
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
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 not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Limited Partnership
http://www.limitedpartnershipmovie.com/
By: Thomas G. Miller
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  United States Government says L.A. Gay Couple’s 1975 Marriage is Valid
The Pride L.A.
Written: Jun. 07, 2016
By: Troy Masters
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
4:10−cv−01564 (N.D. Cal.) 11/26/2014
PB-CA-0030-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Order Denying Federal Defendants' Motion to Dismiss 01/18/2011 (764 F.Supp.2d 1178) (N.D. Cal.)
PB-CA-0030-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Notice to the Court by Federal Defendants 02/25/2011
PB-CA-0030-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Second Amended Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief 09/07/2011
PB-CA-0030-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Denying Federal Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Certain Claims 01/26/2012 (2012 WL 253325) (N.D. Cal.)
PB-CA-0030-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment and Denying the BLAG's and Federal Defendants' Crossmotions for Summary Judgment 05/24/2012 (872 F.Supp.2d 944) (N.D. Cal.)
PB-CA-0030-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Order Vacating in Part 10/28/2013
PB-CA-0030-0006.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Denying Motion to Withdraw 01/17/2014 (N.D. Cal.)
PB-CA-0030-0007.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Wilken, Claudia Ann (N.D. Cal.) [Magistrate]
PB-CA-0030-0001 | PB-CA-0030-0003 | PB-CA-0030-0004 | PB-CA-0030-0007 | PB-CA-0030-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Center, Claudia B. (California)
PB-CA-0030-0002 | PB-CA-0030-9000
Clayton, Patrick Bradford (California)
PB-CA-0030-9000
Gregory, Shelley Ann (California)
PB-CA-0030-9000
Kristen, Elizabeth (California)
PB-CA-0030-9000
Mason, Daniel Simon (California)
PB-CA-0030-9000
McNeill, William Clarence III (California)
PB-CA-0030-9000
Rifkin, Lori Ellen (California)
PB-CA-0030-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Bartolomucci, H. Christopher (District of Columbia)
PB-CA-0030-9000
Clement, Paul D. (District of Columbia)
PB-CA-0030-9000
Dugan, Conor Brendan (District of Columbia)
PB-CA-0030-9000
Goldberg, Arthur Robert (District of Columbia)
PB-CA-0030-0005
Gregory, Edward George (California)
PB-CA-0030-9000
Kircher, Kerry W. (District of Columbia)
PB-CA-0030-9000
Lin, Jean (District of Columbia)
PB-CA-0030-0005 | PB-CA-0030-9000
Morrow, Jennifer Lynn (California)
PB-CA-0030-9000
West, Tony (District of Columbia)
PB-CA-0030-0005
Other Lawyers None on record

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