University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Ramsey v. Dalrymple PB-ND-0001
Docket / Court 3:14-cv-00057 ( D.N.D. )
State/Territory North Dakota
Case Type(s) Public Benefits / Government Services
Special Collection Same-Sex Marriage
Case Summary
This federal lawsuit challenges North Dakota's refusal to allow same-sex marriages or recognize those celebrated in other states. It was filed on June 6, 2014 in the U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota, by seven same-sex couples. (Prior to this lawsuit, it seems that North Dakota ... read more >
This federal lawsuit challenges North Dakota's refusal to allow same-sex marriages or recognize those celebrated in other states. It was filed on June 6, 2014 in the U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota, by seven same-sex couples. (Prior to this lawsuit, it seems that North Dakota was the only state that bans same-sex marriage without such a challenge pending.) One couple sought to marry in North Dakota; four were North Dakota residents who had married elsewhere; one couple had moved to North Dakota after a marriage elsewhere; and one, who married and resided out-of-state, included a member who worked for the State but whose benefits were adversely affected by the recognition ban. The plaintiffs alleged violations of the equal protection and due process clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment and sought declaratory and injunctive relief and attorney's fees.

The case was assigned to Magistrate Judge Karen K. Klein. On July 1, 2014, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. On July 22, 2014, the plaintiffs filed a motion for summary judgment. On January 20, 2015, the court (Chief Judge Ralph R. Erickson) ordered a stay in this case pending the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. On January 23, 2015, the case was reassigned to Magistrate Judge Alice R. Senechal as referral judge.

On June 29, 2015, following the Supreme Court's Obergefell decision holding that state bans on same-sex marriage violate the 14th Amendment, the plaintiffs filed a motion to lift the stay and enter judgment in favor of the plaintiffs. That same day, Chief Judge Erickson granted the motion, granting the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment and denying the defendants' motion to dismiss. The ordered declared N.D. Constitution Art. XI § 28, and North Dakota Century Code §§ 14-03-01 and 14-03-08 unconstitutional and invalid as applied to same sex marriages, and ordered the defendants to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, subject to the same restrictions and limitations applicable to opposite-sex couples.

The parties stipulated to and jointly moved for an award of attorney's fees to the plaintiffs on August 26, 2015. The court ordered the defendants to pay $58,000 in attorney's fees and costs to the plaintiffs pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1988 on September 14, 2015. The case is now closed.

- 06/08/2014
Sarah McDonald - 08/09/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Male
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Right to travel
Content of Injunction
Discrimination Prohibition
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
Sexual orientatation
General
Disparate Treatment
Gay/lesbian/transgender
Marriage
Public benefits (includes, e.g., in-state tuition, govt. jobs)
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Defendant(s) State of North Dakota
Plaintiff Description Seven same-sex couples. One couple seeks to marry in North Dakota; five live in North Dakota but married in other states (one while residing out of state; four traveled out of state to marry); one lives out of state but includes a member employed by North Dakota, whose health insurance and other benefits are limited by the ban on recognition of same-sex marriage.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Declaratory Judgment
Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Filing Year 2014
Case Closing Year 2015
Case Ongoing No
Docket(s)
3:14-cv-57 (D.N.D.)
PB-ND-0001-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/15/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Permanent Injunction and Declaratory Relief [ECF# 1]
PB-ND-0001-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/06/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Order Granting Motion to Lift Stay, Granting Motion for Summary Judgment, and Denying Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim [ECF# 65] (D.N.D.)
PB-ND-0001-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/29/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order for Award of Attorneys' Fees and Costs [ECF# 73] (D.N.D.)
PB-ND-0001-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/14/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Erickson, Ralph R. (D.N.D., Eighth Circuit)
PB-ND-0001-0002 | PB-ND-0001-0003
Klein, Karen K. (D.N.D.)
PB-ND-0001-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Fiebiger, Thomas D (North Dakota)
PB-ND-0001-0001 | PB-ND-0001-9000
Newville, Joshua A (Maryland)
PB-ND-0001-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Stenehjem, Wayne (North Dakota)
PB-ND-0001-9000

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