University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Newton v. Town of Shannon PB-MS-0002
Docket / Court 1:13-cv-00187-JMV ( N.D. Miss. )
State/Territory Mississippi
Case Type(s) Public Benefits / Government Services
Attorney Organization Southern Poverty Law Center
Case Summary
On October 1, 2013, a lesbian business owner filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Mississippi under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Town of Shannon. The plaintiff, represented by a public interest law center and by a private firm, asked the court for compensatory ... read more >
On October 1, 2013, a lesbian business owner filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Mississippi under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Town of Shannon. The plaintiff, represented by a public interest law center and by a private firm, asked the court for compensatory and punitive damages and issuance of a business license without further impediment or delay. Specifically, the plaintiff claimed that the town violated plaintiff's federal and constitutional rights to equal protection and free speech under the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution by denying plaintiff a business license to open a bar because they did not want a business catered to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community to open in their town, rather than because of any failure to meet the criteria for opening and operating a business in the town.

Plaintiff has been a successful small business owner in the past, and previously owned a bar in the town, which thrived and attracted patrons from nearby towns and states. It was a safe space for LGBT persons in a town with an unfortunate history of acts of fear and bigotry towards LGBT individuals. Additionally, the town's economy has been struggling, and the mayor has publicly encouraged people to open businesses.

On July 11, 2014, the U.S. District Court (Judge Sharion Aycock) issued an Agreed Order of Dismissal because the parties reached settlement. The court retains jurisdiction to enforce the parties' settlement agreement.

Julie Singer - 09/25/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Male
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Freedom of speech/association
Discrimination-basis
Sexual orientatation
General
Gay/lesbian/transgender
Public benefits (includes, e.g., in-state tuition, govt. jobs)
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Bryant Thompson
Carl Trice
James Oswalt
Jerry Grubbs
Joey McCord
Paul Lyles
Ronnie Hallmark
Town of Shannon
Plaintiff Description Lesbian business owner
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Southern Poverty Law Center
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Unknown
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2014
Case Ongoing No
Docket(s)
1:13-cv-00187-SA-JMV (N.D. Miss.) 10/01/2013
PB-MS-0002-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 10/01/2013
PB-MS-0002-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Agreed Order of Dismissal 07/11/2014
PB-MS-0002-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Aycock, Sharion (N.D. Miss.)
PB-MS-0002-0002 | PB-MS-0002-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Canter, Joseph A. (Mississippi)
PB-MS-0002-0001 | PB-MS-0002-9000
Dinielli, David Carter (Alabama)
PB-MS-0002-0001 | PB-MS-0002-9000
Hollman, Steven P. (District of Columbia)
PB-MS-0002-0001 | PB-MS-0002-9000
Owens, Jody E. II (Mississippi)
PB-MS-0002-0001 | PB-MS-0002-9000
Stone, Clark S. (California)
PB-MS-0002-0001 | PB-MS-0002-9000
Wolfe, Samuel (Alabama)
PB-MS-0002-0001 | PB-MS-0002-0002 | PB-MS-0002-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Friedman, Gary E. (Mississippi)
PB-MS-0002-0002 | PB-MS-0002-9000
Nobile, Krissy Casey (Mississippi)
PB-MS-0002-0002 | PB-MS-0002-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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