University of Michigan Law School
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Case Name Parsley v. Bentley IM-AL-0007
Docket / Court 5:11-cv-02736-SLB ( N.D. Ala. )
State/Territory Alabama
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Case Summary
On August 1, 2011, the religious leaders of the Methodist, Episcopal, and Roman Catholic churches of Alabama filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, under 42 U.S.C. §1983, against the governor and attorney general of Alabama, and the district attorney of ... read more >
On August 1, 2011, the religious leaders of the Methodist, Episcopal, and Roman Catholic churches of Alabama filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, under 42 U.S.C. §1983, against the governor and attorney general of Alabama, and the district attorney of Madison County, Alabama. The plaintiffs, represented by the churches' attorneys, sought declaratory and injunctive relief, claiming that the recently enacted H.B. 56 violated their constitutional rights. Specifically, plaintiffs claimed that enforcement of the law would prevent the churches and members of their congregations from freely practicing their religious duties to minister to "all of God's children" without regard to immigration status. Several provisions of H.B. 56 criminalize actions such as harboring or transporting an undocumented immigrant. Plaintiffs claimed that such actions were regularly undertaken by churches directly or by their congregants, and criminalizing the actions prevented the free exercise of their religious faith.

The Court (Chief Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn) ordered this case and two other related cases consolidated (United States v. Arizona and Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama v. Bentley), but that order was dissolved a month later.

On August 5, 2011, plaintiffs filed a motion for preliminary injunction, which the court denied on September 28, 2011. The Court held that the plaintiffs lacked standing to challenge one provision of the law, and the other challenges to separate provisions were moot because enforcement was already preliminarily enjoined in the related case, United States v. Alabama [IM-AL-0005]. The Court granted the parties' requests to stay proceedings given the appeals pending in the related cases, United States v. Alabama and Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama v. Bentley [IM-AL-0006].

On October 30, 2013, the parties filed a joint motion to dismiss the case as moot assuming the Court enters the proposed order in the related case, United States v. Alabama. In that case the parties asked the Court to enter a permanent injunction of Sections 13 and 27 of H.B. 56. If the injunction was granted, plaintiffs agreed that they would have received relief in this case.

The day before, the parties in the related cases, United States v. Alabama and Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama v. Bentley, filed joint reports and proposed orders for judgment. Unlike in this case, those parties did not move to dismiss but rather agreed to permanent injunctions of most of the challenged provisions. As noted above, if granted the proposed order in United States v. Alabama would permanently enjoin the sections of the law (13 and 27) that were at issue in this case.

The court in the related cases issued orders on Nov. 25, 2013 approving settlements that permanently enjoined defendants from enforcing several provisions of H.B. 56, including 13 and 27. The same day, this court dismissed the case as moot without prejudice. The case is now closed.

Elizabeth Daligga - 06/22/2012
Jennifer Bronson - 11/03/2013
Virginia Weeks - 03/24/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Free Exercise Clause
Freedom of speech/association
Discrimination-basis
Religion discrimination
Immigration/Border
Constitutional rights
Detention - procedures
Employer sanctions
Legalization/Amnesty
Undocumented immigrants - rights and duties
Undocumented immigrants - state and local regulation
Plaintiff Type
City/County Plaintiff
State Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Attorney General of Alabama
District Attorney of Madison County
Governor of Alabama
Plaintiff Description Plaintiffs are leaders of Episcopal, Methodist, and Roman Catholic churches of Alabama.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Voluntary Dismissal
Filing Year 2011
Case Closing Year 2013
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing IM-AL-0005 : United States v. Alabama (N.D. Ala.)
IM-AL-0006 : Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama v. Governor of Alabama (N.D. Ala.)
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Docket(s)
5:11-cv-2736 (N.D. Ala.)
IM-AL-0007-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/25/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Plaintiffs' Amended Motion for Preliminary Injunction and Memorandum in Support [ECF# 47]
IM-AL-0007-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/10/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Second Amended Complaint [ECF# 50]
IM-AL-0007-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/11/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion [ECF# 83] (N.D. Ala.)
IM-AL-0007-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/28/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Joint Motion to Dismiss As Moot [ECF# 96]
IM-AL-0007-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/30/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Blackburn, Sharon Lovelace (N.D. Ala.) show/hide docs
IM-AL-0007-0003 | IM-AL-0007-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Allen, Andrew Clay (Alabama) show/hide docs
IM-AL-0007-0004 | IM-AL-0007-9000
Brown, Katherine R. (Alabama) show/hide docs
IM-AL-0007-0004 | IM-AL-0007-9000
Crocker, R. Champ (Alabama) show/hide docs
IM-AL-0007-0001 | IM-AL-0007-0004 | IM-AL-0007-9000
Dowd, August S. (Alabama) show/hide docs
IM-AL-0007-0001 | IM-AL-0007-0002 | IM-AL-0007-0004 | IM-AL-0007-9000
McElheny, Terry (Alabama) show/hide docs
IM-AL-0007-0001 | IM-AL-0007-0002 | IM-AL-0007-0004 | IM-AL-0007-9000
McKenzie, S. Lynn Marie (Alabama) show/hide docs
IM-AL-0007-0001 | IM-AL-0007-0004 | IM-AL-0007-9000
Reddit, F. Grey Jr. (Alabama) show/hide docs
IM-AL-0007-0001 | IM-AL-0007-0002 | IM-AL-0007-0004 | IM-AL-0007-9000
Whitaker, John F. (Alabama) show/hide docs
IM-AL-0007-0001 | IM-AL-0007-0002 | IM-AL-0007-0004 | IM-AL-0007-9000
White, J. Mark (Alabama) show/hide docs
IM-AL-0007-0004 | IM-AL-0007-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Davis, James William (Alabama) show/hide docs
IM-AL-0007-9000
Escalona, Prim Formby (Alabama) show/hide docs
IM-AL-0007-9000
Fairbanks, Misty S (Alabama) show/hide docs
IM-AL-0007-9000
Fleming, Margaret L. (Alabama) show/hide docs
IM-AL-0007-9000
Messick, Misty Shawn Fairbanks (Alabama) show/hide docs
IM-AL-0007-9000
Neiman, John C. Jr. (Alabama) show/hide docs
IM-AL-0007-0004 | IM-AL-0007-9000
Parker, William G. Jr. (Alabama) show/hide docs
IM-AL-0007-9000
Payne, Joshua Kerry (Alabama) show/hide docs
IM-AL-0007-9000
Shattuck, R. Cooper (Alabama) show/hide docs
IM-AL-0007-9000
Sinclair, Winfield J. (Alabama) show/hide docs
IM-AL-0007-9000
Strange, Luther J (Alabama) show/hide docs
IM-AL-0007-0004
Other Lawyers Blacksher, James U. (Alabama) show/hide docs
IM-AL-0007-9000
Flores, Gaela K. Gehring (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-AL-0007-9000
Garcia, Bonard I. Molina (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-AL-0007-9000
Gardner, Jesse Cecil (Alabama) show/hide docs
IM-AL-0007-9000
Gespass, David (Alabama) show/hide docs
IM-AL-0007-9000
Park, John J. Jr. (Alabama) show/hide docs
IM-AL-0007-9000
Perez-Vargas, Miguel A. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
IM-AL-0007-9000
Schoen, David I. (Alabama) show/hide docs
IM-AL-0007-9000
Sill, Edward (Alabama) show/hide docs
IM-AL-0007-9000
Tedrow, Klari B. (Alabama) show/hide docs
IM-AL-0007-9000
Williams, Stephen W. (Alabama) show/hide docs
IM-AL-0007-9000
Zall, Barnaby W (Maryland) show/hide docs
IM-AL-0007-9000

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