University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Waters v. Heineman PB-NE-0004
Docket / Court 8:14-cv-00356 ( D. Neb. )
State/Territory Nebraska
Case Type(s) Public Benefits / Government Services
Special Collection Same-Sex Marriage
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Case Summary
On December 2, 2014, seven same-sex couples seeking to marry or have their out-of-state marriage recognized in Nebraska filed this lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska. The plaintiffs, represented by lawyers from the ACLU and a private ... read more >
On December 2, 2014, seven same-sex couples seeking to marry or have their out-of-state marriage recognized in Nebraska filed this lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska. The plaintiffs, represented by lawyers from the ACLU and a private firm, filed the suit against the state of Nebraska seeking declaratory and injunctive relief. Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed that Nebraska's exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage and refusal to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples from other jurisdictions under Nebraska's "Defense of Marriage" Constitutional Amendment violated the due process and equal protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. The plaintiffs alleged the injuries they had suffered as a result of Nebraska's exclusion included family instability (including obstacles to adoption), denial of tax and other benefits, psychological harm, and a loss of dignity.

On March 2, 2015, the District Court (Judge Joseph E. Batallion) granted the plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction, to take effect on March 9, 2015. Waters v. Ricketts, 48 F.Supp.3d 1271 (D. Neb. 2015). The injunction ordered all relevant state officials to treat same-sex couples the same as different-sex couples in the context of processing a marriage license or determining the rights, protections, obligations, or benefits of marriage.
The same day, the defendants filed an interlocutory appeal regarding the preliminary injunction. On March 6, 2015, the Eighth Circuit granted defendants' Emergency Motion for Stay Pending Appeal and scheduled oral argument.

On April 29, 2015, the Eighth Circuit ordered on its own motion that oral argument and any
further consideration of the cases be deferred pending the Supreme Court's decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. Obergefell, 135 S.Ct. 2584 (2015). (Clearinghouse code PB-OH-0003).

On June 30, 2015, the Eighth Circuit vacated its order staying the District Court's preliminary injunction.

On June 13, 2015, the plaintiffs moved for summary judgment.

On August 11, 2015, the Eighth Circuit affirmed the preliminary injunction, held Nebraska's constitutional provision to be unconstitutional, and remanded the case for entry of final judgment on the merits in favor of the plaintiffs. Waters v. Ricketts, 798 F.3d 682 (8th Cir. 2015).

On September 24, 2015, plaintiffs filed supplemental materials alleging further injuries related to a defendant's actions under state birth certificate issuance statutes; the parties are currently litigating whether those supplemental materials were appropriately filed.

Sarah Precup - 10/20/2015


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Male
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Discrimination Prohibition
Preliminary relief granted
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
Sexual orientatation
General
Adoption
Gay/lesbian/transgender
Marriage
Public benefits (includes, e.g., in-state tuition, govt. jobs)
Plaintiff Type
State Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Nebraska
Plaintiff Description Seven same-sex couples seeking to marry in Nebraska or have their marriage in another state recognized in Nebraska
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 2015 - n/a
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)
8:14−cv−00356−JFB−TDT (D. Neb.) 09/30/2015
PB-NE-0004-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 11/17/2014
PB-NE-0004-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Complaint 12/02/2014
PB-NE-0004-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum and Order 03/02/2015 (48 F.Supp.3d 1271) (D. Neb.)
PB-NE-0004-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Injunction 03/02/2015 (D. Neb.)
PB-NE-0004-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion of USCA - 8th Circuit, regarding Interlocutory Appeal 08/11/2015 (798 F.3d 682)
PB-NE-0004-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Bataillon, Joseph F. (D. Neb.)
PB-NE-0004-0003 | PB-NE-0004-0005 | PB-NE-0004-9000
Benton, William Duane (Eighth Circuit)
PB-NE-0004-0004
Smith, Lavenski R. (Eighth Circuit)
PB-NE-0004-0004
Wollman, Roger Leland (Eighth Circuit)
PB-NE-0004-0004
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Block, Joshua A (New York)
PB-NE-0004-0001 | PB-NE-0004-0002 | PB-NE-0004-9000
Cooper, Leslie (New York)
PB-NE-0004-0001 | PB-NE-0004-0002 | PB-NE-0004-9000
Dunne, Angela J. (Nebraska)
PB-NE-0004-0001 | PB-NE-0004-0002 | PB-NE-0004-9000
Koenig, Susan A. (Nebraska)
PB-NE-0004-0001 | PB-NE-0004-0002 | PB-NE-0004-9000
Miller, Amy A. (Nebraska)
PB-NE-0004-0001 | PB-NE-0004-0002 | PB-NE-0004-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Bydalek, David T. (Nebraska)
PB-NE-0004-9000
Grabow, Richard C. (Nebraska)
PB-NE-0004-9000
Jones, Danielle L. (Nebraska)
PB-NE-0004-9000
Lopez, David A. (Nebraska)
PB-NE-0004-9000
Post, Ryan S (Nebraska)
PB-NE-0004-9000
Smith, James D. (Nebraska)
PB-NE-0004-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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