University of Michigan Law School
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Case Name A.W. v. Davis School District FA-UT-0001
Docket / Court 1:12­-cv­-00242­-EJF ( D. Utah )
State/Territory Utah
Case Type(s) Education
Speech and Religious Freedom
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU National (all projects)
Case Summary
On November 13, 2012, a mother filed a lawsuit against the Davis County Schools in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah, on behalf of her two children, A.W. and C.W. The Plaintiffs, represented by the ACLU and bringing suit under 42 U.S.C § 1983, sought injunctive and declaratory ... read more >
On November 13, 2012, a mother filed a lawsuit against the Davis County Schools in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah, on behalf of her two children, A.W. and C.W. The Plaintiffs, represented by the ACLU and bringing suit under 42 U.S.C § 1983, sought injunctive and declaratory relief, as well as nominal damages, alleging that the school district violated their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights by removing a children's book, In Our Mothers' House, from the library shelves to a restricted access section. The book depicts a same-sex couple and their three adopted children. Specifically, the Plaintiffs alleged that the book should be returned to the regular collection and that similar books should not be restricted from student access. Plaintiffs also sought to class certification.

Defendant argued that the book violated Utah's sex education law, U.C.A. 1953 §53A-13-101, which prohibits sex-education curricula from using instructional materials that advocate homosexuality. Defendant also claimed that because elementary school students have structured time in the library, such time should be treated as part of the curriculum.

The matter was referred to alternative dispute resolution on December 11, 2012. It then settled. Defendants agreed to return the book to regular circulation, to not remove the book from libraries for any reason based on its content, and not to rely on Utah Code §53A-13-101 as a basis for content discrimination. Plaintiffs agreed that the book may be restricted on a per-student basis, just as any other book may, at the request of a parent or guardian. As part of the agreement, both parties filed motions to dismiss. The case closed on February 4, 2013.

Jeanette Pitts - 04/01/2013


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Freedom of speech/association
Defendant-type
Elementary/Secondary School
Discrimination-basis
Sexual orientatation
General
Education
Gay/lesbian/transgender
Library (non-law) access
School/University Facilities
School/University policies
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Davis School District
Plaintiff Description Mother on behalf of her two schoolchildren
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU National (all projects)
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Unknown
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2013
Case Ongoing No
Docket(s)
1:12-cv-00242 (D. Utah) 11/13/2012
FA-UT-0001-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 11/13/2012
FA-UT-0001-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source:
Settlement Agreement 01/31/2013
FA-UT-0001-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source:
Judges Furse, Evelyn J. (D. Utah) [Magistrate]
FA-UT-0001-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Block, Joshua A (New York)
FA-UT-0001-0001 | FA-UT-0001-0002 | FA-UT-0001-9000
Cooper, Leslie (New York)
FA-UT-0001-0001 | FA-UT-0001-0002 | FA-UT-0001-9000
Farrell, Leah M. (Utah)
FA-UT-0001-0001 | FA-UT-0001-0002 | FA-UT-0001-9000
Mejia, John (Utah)
FA-UT-0001-0001 | FA-UT-0001-0002 | FA-UT-0001-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Cheney, Scott (Utah)
FA-UT-0001-0002 | FA-UT-0001-9000
Kaiser, Kyle J. (Utah)
FA-UT-0001-0002 | FA-UT-0001-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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