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Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Brenner v. Scott PB-FL-0015
Docket / Court 4:14-cv-00107-RH-CAS ( N.D. Fla. )
Additional Docket(s) 4:14-cv-00138-RH-CAS  [ 14-138 ]
State/Territory Florida
Case Type(s) Public Benefits / Government Services
Special Collection Same-Sex Marriage
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU National (all projects)
Case Summary
On February 28, 2014, a same-sex couple married outside of the state of Florida filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida against the state of Florida. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, sought injunctive relief under 42 U.S.C. 1983, declaratory ... read more >
On February 28, 2014, a same-sex couple married outside of the state of Florida filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida against the state of Florida. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, sought injunctive relief under 42 U.S.C. 1983, declaratory judgment, and costs. Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed the state ban against same-sex marriage violated their rights under the Due Process Clause, the Equal Protection Clause, the First Amendment (right to associate), and violated the Supremacy Clause and the Establishment Clause. This case was captioned as Brenner v. Scott.

On March 12, 2014, several same-sex couples married outside of the state of Florida, represented by the ACLU and private counsel, filed essentially an identical lawsuit, also in the Northern District of Florida. This case was captioned as Grimsley v. Scott. On April 21, 2014, the Court (Judge Robert L. Hinkle), upon a joint motion, consolidated the two cases for case management purposes. Both cases are addressed in this summary and Clearinghouse case record.

On April 24, 2014, Judge Hinkle denied permission to Florida Family Action, a "cultural action organization" that opposes same-sex marriage, to intervene as a party. FFA was permitted, however, to file amicus briefs. 298 F.R.D. 689 (N.D. Fla. 2014).

On August 21, 2014, Judge Hinkle issued a preliminary injunction, finding Florida's ban on same-sex marriage a violation of plaintiffs' fundamental right to marry under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses (using strict scrutiny in the analysis). The court stayed the preliminary injunction in these cases until ninety-one days after similar stays were denied or lifted in three cases pending in the Fourth and Tenth Circuit Courts—Bostic v. Schaefer, 2014 WL 3702493 (4th Cir. July 28, 2014); Bishop v. Smith, 2014 WL 3537847 (10th Cir. July 18, 2014); and Kitchen v. Herbert, 2014 WL 2868044 (10th Cir. June 25, 2014). Brenner v. Scott, -- F.Supp.2d --, 2014 WL 4113100 (N.D. Fla. 2014).

On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States held, in Obergefell v. Hodges, that the right to marry was fundamental. In the opinion written by Justice Kennedy, the Court held that it demeans gay and lesbian couples to deprive them of access to marriage. The Fourteenth Amendment thus did not allow states to ban same-sex marriage. Kennedy was joined without further writing by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Kagan, and Sotomayor. Each of the four dissenters—Chief Justice Roberts, and Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito—wrote a dissent.

On August 4, 2015, the Grimsley plaintiffs moved for summary judgment. The defendants opposed, arguing that the court should not grant summary judgment but rather dismiss the case as moot.

Meanwhile, the defendants moved for voluntarily dismissal of the appeal at the Eleventh Circuit. On October 19, 2015, the Eleventh Circuit granted the voluntary dismissal transferred consideration of attorney's fees to the district court. On January 12, 2016, the issue of appellate's attorney's fees was also transferred to the district court for consideration.

On March 2, 2016, the Brenner plaintiffs filed a separate motion for summary judgment. The plaintiffs asked that the court not dismiss this case as moot because the same-sex marriage ban was not repealed and Florida's Surgeon General persisted in refusing to issue birth certificates to the children of same-sex couples. On March 30, 2016, Judge Hinkle granted the plaintiffs summary judgment and declared the Florida Constitution, Article I, § 27 as well as Florida Statutes § 741.212 and §741.04(1) as unconstitutional. Judge Hinkle also issued an injunction to prohibit the defendants from enforcing or applying the Florida provisions that were declared unconstitutional. The court granted and denied in part the defendant’s motion to dismiss as moot; it dismissed the claims against the Clerk of Court as moot but not the claims against the Surgeon General and Secretary. Subsequently, the court entered judgment for the plaintiffs against the Secretary of the Department of Management Services and the Surgeon General, but the court dismissed without prejudice the claims against all other defendants.

On April 13, 2016, the plaintiffs filed a motion for entitlement to attorneys’ fees and costs, which the court granted and determined that the plaintiffs were entitled to a fee award. The parties, however, then filed a joint notice of settlement on attorney’s fees and costs. (The amount that the parties settled on is not publicly available.) On June 16, 2016, the plaintiffs officially withdrew their fee petition and notified the court that they received their settlement funds.

This case is now closed.

Tifani Sadek - 08/26/2014
Faith Sparr - 08/28/2014
Megan Dolan - 10/25/2015
MJ Koo - 03/18/2017


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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
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
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
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) State of Florida
Plaintiff Description Same-sex couples married outside of the state of Florida who wish to have their marriages recognized in the state of Florida.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU National (all projects)
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
None yet
Source of Relief Litigation
Order Duration 2015 - n/a
Case Closing Year 2016
Case Ongoing No
Docket(s)
4:14-cv-00138-RH-CAS (N.D. Fla.)
PB-FL-0015-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/21/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
4:14−cv−00107 (N.D. Fla.)
PB-FL-0015-9001.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/14/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
PB-FL-0015-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/28/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
COMPLAINT FOR DECLARATORY AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF [ECF# 1]
PB-FL-0015-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/12/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Verified Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 10]
PB-FL-0015-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/18/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 16]
PB-FL-0015-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/10/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Denying Leave for Florida Family Action to Intervene but Allowing It to Participate as Amicus [ECF# 40] (298 F.R.D. 689) (N.D. Fla.)
PB-FL-0015-0006.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 04/24/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Denying the Motions to Dismiss, Granting a Preliminary Injunction, and Temporarily Staying the Injunction [ECF# 74] (999 F.Supp.2d 1278) (N.D. Fla.)
PB-FL-0015-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 08/21/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Court's Order of Dismissal [Ct. of App. ECF# 124]
PB-FL-0015-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/19/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Brenner Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment [ECF# 138]
PB-FL-0015-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/02/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Summary Judgment [ECF# 144] (N.D. Fla.)
PB-FL-0015-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/10/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Grimsley Plaintiffs' and Defendants' Joint Notice of Settlement on Attorneys' Fees and Costs [ECF# 153]
PB-FL-0015-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/10/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Hinkle, Robert Lewis (N.D. Fla.)
PB-FL-0015-0003 | PB-FL-0015-0006 | PB-FL-0015-0009 | PB-FL-0015-9000 | PB-FL-0015-9001
Marcus, Stanley (S.D. Fla., Eleventh Circuit)
PB-FL-0015-0007
Martin, Beverly Baldwin (N.D. Ga., Eleventh Circuit)
PB-FL-0015-0007
Stampelos, Charles A (N.D. Fla.) [Magistrate]
PB-FL-0015-9001
Wilson, Charles R. (M.D. Fla., Eleventh Circuit)
PB-FL-0015-0007
Plaintiff's Lawyers Abudu, Nancy G (Florida)
PB-FL-0015-0010
Cooper, Leslie (New York)
PB-FL-0015-0001 | PB-FL-0015-0004 | PB-FL-0015-0010
Demaggio, Bryan Everett (Florida)
PB-FL-0015-0002 | PB-FL-0015-0005 | PB-FL-0015-0008 | PB-FL-0015-9001
Graessle, Jonathan W. (Florida)
PB-FL-0015-0002 | PB-FL-0015-0005
Jacobson, Samuel S (Florida)
PB-FL-0015-0002 | PB-FL-0015-0005 | PB-FL-0015-0008 | PB-FL-0015-9001
Kachergus, Matthew R. (Florida)
PB-FL-0015-0002 | PB-FL-0015-0005
Kayanan, Maria (Florida)
PB-FL-0015-0001 | PB-FL-0015-0004 | PB-FL-0015-9000 | PB-FL-0015-9001
Rosenthal, Stephen Frederick (Florida)
PB-FL-0015-0001 | PB-FL-0015-0004 | PB-FL-0015-0010 | PB-FL-0015-9000 | PB-FL-0015-9001
Sevier, Chris (Florida)
PB-FL-0015-9001
Sheppard, William J. (Florida)
PB-FL-0015-0002 | PB-FL-0015-0005 | PB-FL-0015-0008 | PB-FL-0015-9001
Stevenson, Benjamin James (Florida)
PB-FL-0015-0001 | PB-FL-0015-9000
Tilley, Daniel Boaz (Florida)
PB-FL-0015-0001 | PB-FL-0015-0004 | PB-FL-0015-0010 | PB-FL-0015-9000 | PB-FL-0015-9001
White, Elizabeth L. (Florida)
PB-FL-0015-0002 | PB-FL-0015-0005 | PB-FL-0015-0008
Defendant's Lawyers Goodman, James Jeffery Jr (Florida)
PB-FL-0015-9001
Henderson, Mark John (Florida)
PB-FL-0015-9001
Mihet, Horatio G. (Florida)
PB-FL-0015-9000 | PB-FL-0015-9001
Reynolds, Jay Patrick (Florida)
PB-FL-0015-9001
Stafford, William Henry Jr. (Florida)
PB-FL-0015-0010 | PB-FL-0015-9001
Tanenbaum, Adam S. (Florida)
PB-FL-0015-9000 | PB-FL-0015-9001
Williams, Jonathan Lentine (Florida)
PB-FL-0015-0010 | PB-FL-0015-9001
Winsor, Allen C. (Florida)
PB-FL-0015-9000 | PB-FL-0015-9001
Other Lawyers Emmanuel, Stephen C. (Florida)
PB-FL-0015-9001

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