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Case Name Hegar v. Panetta EE-CA-0346
Docket / Court 3:12-cv-06005 ( N.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
National Security
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Case Summary
On November 27, 2012, a group of individual servicewomen and the Service Women's Action Network, a nonprofit organization that supports servicewomen and veterans, filed this Bivens lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California against Leon Panetta in his official ... read more >
On November 27, 2012, a group of individual servicewomen and the Service Women's Action Network, a nonprofit organization that supports servicewomen and veterans, filed this Bivens lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California against Leon Panetta in his official capacity as Secretary of the Department of Defense ("DoD"). The plaintiffs, represented by attorneys from private practice and from the ACLU Women's Rights Project and its Northern California Chapter, asked the Court for declaratory and injunctive relief, challenging as unconstitutional DoD's official policy barring women from serving in units whose primary mission is to engage in direct ground combat. Specifically, the plaintiffs alleged that this 1994 policy could not be justified by any important governmental objective and therefore violated their right to equal protection under the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

On January 24, 2013, DoD rescinded the 1994 directive and stated that "[i]ntegration of women into newly opened positions and units will occur as expeditiously as possible, considering good order and judicious use of fiscal resources, but must be completed no later than January 1, 2016." The Military Services, consisting of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps, were ordered to submit plans for implementing the new policy to the Secretary by May 15, 2013. The plaintiffs then filed an amended complaint on October 31, 2013, arguing that DoD had continued to exclude women from applying for or serving in hundreds of thousands of combat positions despite rescinding the 1994 policy directive. DoD responded that this challenge was not ripe because the department was still in the process of implementing the new policy.

At the parties' request, on May 5, 2014, the District Court (Judge Edward M. Chen) entered a limited stay of the case until January 1, 2016, the deadline for implementing the new policy; this was later extended.

In a case management statement dated January 5, 2017, the plaintiffs took the position that the case should remain stayed until it becomes more certain if, and how, implementation of the directive will proceed under the Trump administration. The defendant countered that the plaintiffs do not have standing to maintain the action, and that the claims alleged are moot.

On January 12, 2017, the District Court (Judge Chen) submitted a minute entry stating that the Court will not lift the stay to adjudicate standing or mootness. Given that it is likely that changing circumstances in the next six months may inform the analysis of these motions, the Court will continue the stay until the next conference, set for July 13, 2017.

Julie Singer - 02/13/2017
Carolyn Weltman - 02/28/2016
Craig Streit - 10/26/2016


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Discrimination-area
Hiring
Other Conditions of Employment (including assignment, transfer, hours, working conditions, etc)
Promotion
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Bivens
Defendant(s) U.S. Department of Defense
Plaintiff Description The plaintiffs are individual servicewomen who have served in Afghanistan and/or Iraq, each acting in her own individual capacity, and the Service Women's Action Network, a nonprofit organization that supports servicewomen and veterans.
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 None yet
Source of Relief None yet
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 Megacases, Diversity, and the Elusive Goal of Workplace Reform
Written: Mar. 01, 2008
By: Nancy Levit (University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law)
Citation: 49 B.C. L. Rev. 367 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Second Generation Employment Discrimination: A Structural Approach
By: Susan Sturm (Columbia Law School)
Citation: 101 Colum. L. Rev. 458 (2001)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
3:12-cv-6005 (N.D. Cal.)
EE-CA-0346-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/17/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint
EE-CA-0346-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/27/2012
Source: ACLU
First Amended Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief
EE-CA-0346-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/31/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulation and Order Regarding a Limited Stay of This Matter (N.D. Cal.)
EE-CA-0346-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/01/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Chen, Edward Milton (N.D. Cal.)
EE-CA-0346-0003 | EE-CA-0346-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Crosby, Margaret C. (California)
EE-CA-0346-0001 | EE-CA-0346-9000
Gill, Elizabeth O. (California)
EE-CA-0346-0001 | EE-CA-0346-0002 | EE-CA-0346-9000
Lapidus, Lenora M. (New Jersey)
EE-CA-0346-0002 | EE-CA-0346-9000
Migdal, Ariela M (New York)
EE-CA-0346-0002 | EE-CA-0346-9000
Overbeck, Mari (California)
EE-CA-0346-0002
Perry, Steven M. (California)
EE-CA-0346-0002
Ring, Rosemarie T (California)
EE-CA-0346-0001 | EE-CA-0346-0002 | EE-CA-0346-9000
Sun, Christine Patricia (California)
EE-CA-0346-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Wolverton, Caroline Lewis (District of Columbia)
EE-CA-0346-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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