University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name In re Clark PB-OR-0003
Docket / Court Case 13-80100 (9th Cir.) ( No Court )
State/Territory Oregon
Case Type(s) Public Benefits / Government Services
Special Collection Same-Sex Marriage
Case Summary
On August 1, 2012, an assistant federal public defender for the District of Oregon filed a complaint under the Employment Dispute Resolution Plan for Federal Public Defenders and Staff (“Plan”), claiming discrimination on the basis of her sexual orientation. The complainant’s same-sex spouse ... read more >
On August 1, 2012, an assistant federal public defender for the District of Oregon filed a complaint under the Employment Dispute Resolution Plan for Federal Public Defenders and Staff (“Plan”), claiming discrimination on the basis of her sexual orientation. The complainant’s same-sex spouse was denied health benefits under the Federal Employees Health Care Benefits ("FEHB") program. The Federal Employees Health Benefits Act ("FEHBA") established the FEHB program, which provides FPD employees and their family members the right to health benefits. 5 U.S.C. §§ 8901-8914.

The Administrative Office of the United States Courts ("AO") denied the complainant's request, pursuant to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Office of Personal Management regulations, indicating that same sex partners are not family members. The complainant argued that denial of benefits amounted to sexual orientation discrimination, violating both the Plan and the United States Constitution.

The complainant filed her complaint pursuant to procedures established in the Plan. She requested counseling with the EDR Coordinator, but counseling did not resolve the dispute. This complaint was assigned to Circuit Judge Harry Pregerson, the Chair of the Ninth Circuit’s Standing Committee on Federal Public Defenders. On April 24, 2013, Judge Pregerson ruled that the complainant was discriminated against on the basis of her sexual orientation in violation of both the Plan and the U.S. Constitution. See Order.

In the course of reaching this decision, Judge Harry Pregerson held that Oregon’s Measure 36, the 2004 ballot initiative that bans recognition of same-sex marriages, is unconstitutional, violating the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. Judge Pregerson further concluded that the complainant’s marriage to her same-sex spouse should be recognized as a valid marriage in Oregon.

The remedy entitled the complainant to receive health care benefits coverage for her same-sex’s spouse. Director of the AO was ordered to submit the complainant’s FEHB Health Benefits Election form to appropriate health insurance carrier and process any future beneficiary addition requests without regard to (1) the sex of a listed spouse
and (2) whether a validly executed same-sex marriage is recognized by a state.

Judge Pregerson indicated that in the event Office of Personal Management blocks the relief, he would grant the complainant's request for monetary relief. Judge Pregerson retained jurisdiction over this matter.

There have been no further updates in this case. There is no reason to believe the case is ongoing.

Susie Choi - 03/22/2017


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Implement complaint/dispute resolution process
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
Sexual orientatation
General
Gay/lesbian/transgender
Marriage
Public benefits (includes, e.g., in-state tuition, govt. jobs)
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Special Case Type
Out-of-court
Defendant(s) The Administrative Office of the United States Courts
Plaintiff Description The plaintiff is an assistant federal public defender for the District of Oregon.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Declaratory Judgment
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Order Duration 2013 - n/a
Filing Year 2013
Case Ongoing No reason to think so
Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Order
PB-OR-0003-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/24/2013
Judges Pregerson, Harry (C.D. Cal., Ninth Circuit)
PB-OR-0003-0001

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