University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Waters v. Heineman PB-NE-0004
Docket / Court 8:14-cv-00356 ( D. Neb. )
State/Territory Nebraska
Case Type(s) Public Benefits / Government Services
Special Collection Same-Sex Marriage
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Case Summary
On December 2, 2014, seven same-sex couples seeking to marry or have their out-of-state marriage recognized in Nebraska filed this lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska. The plaintiffs, represented by lawyers from the ACLU and private counsel, sued ... read more >
On December 2, 2014, seven same-sex couples seeking to marry or have their out-of-state marriage recognized in Nebraska filed this lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska. The plaintiffs, represented by lawyers from the ACLU and private counsel, sued the state of Nebraska and sought declaratory and injunctive relief.

The plaintiffs alleged that Nebraska's exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage and refusal to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples from other jurisdictions under Nebraska's "Defense of Marriage" Constitutional Amendment violated the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.

On March 2, 2015, the district court (Judge Joseph E. Bataillon) granted the plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction. The injunction ordered all relevant state officials to treat same-sex couples the same as different-sex couples in the context of processing a marriage license or determining the rights, protections, obligations, or benefits of marriage. Waters v. Ricketts, 48 F.Supp.3d 1271 (D. Neb. 2015).

The same day, the defendants filed an interlocutory appeal regarding the preliminary injunction. On March 6, 2015, the Eighth Circuit granted defendants' Emergency Motion for Stay Pending Appeal and scheduled an oral argument.

On April 29, 2015, the Eighth Circuit ordered on its own motion that oral argument and any further consideration of the cases be deferred pending the Supreme Court's decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. Obergefell, 135 S.Ct. 2584 (2015). (Clearinghouse code PB-OH-0003).

On June 13, 2015, the plaintiffs moved for summary judgment.

On June 30, 2015, the Eighth Circuit vacated its order staying the District Court's preliminary injunction.

On August 11, 2015, the Eighth Circuit affirmed the preliminary injunction, held Nebraska's constitutional provision to be unconstitutional, and remanded the case for entry of final judgment on the merits in favor of the plaintiffs. Waters v. Ricketts, 798 F.3d 682 (8th Cir. 2015).

On September 24, 2015, plaintiffs filed supplemental materials alleging further injuries related to a defendant's actions under state birth certificate issuance statutes.

On February 4, 2016, Judge Bataillon granted the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment, denied the defendant’s motion for summary judgment and issued a permanent injunction striking down Nebraska’s ban on gay marriage. Waters v. Ricketts, 159 F.Supp.3d 992 (D. Neb. 2016). The injunction ordered state officials to treat same-sex couples the same as different-sex couples in the context of processing marriage certificates or determining rights, protections, obligations or benefits of marriage.

On June 14, 2016, Judge Bataillon closed this case, but retained jurisdiction to enforce its injunction for a period of at least 3 years.

Sarah Precup - 10/20/2015
Susie Choi - 03/14/2017
Michael Beech - 03/23/2019


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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
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
Sexual orientatation
General
Adoption
Gay/lesbian/transgender
Marriage
Public benefits (includes, e.g., in-state tuition, govt. jobs)
Plaintiff Type
State Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Nebraska
Plaintiff Description Seven same-sex couples seeking to marry in Nebraska or have their marriage in another state recognized in Nebraska
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Source of Relief Litigation
Order Duration 2016 - 2019
Filing Year 2014
Case Closing Year 2019
Case Ongoing No
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)
8:14−cv−00356−JFB−TDT (D. Neb.)
PB-NE-0004-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/14/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
PB-NE-0004-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/17/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Complaint [ECF# 9]
PB-NE-0004-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/02/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum and Order [ECF# 54] (48 F.Supp.3d 1271) (D. Neb.)
PB-NE-0004-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 03/02/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Injunction [ECF# 55] (D. Neb.)
PB-NE-0004-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/02/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion of USCA - 8th Circuit, regarding Interlocutory Appeal [Ct. of App. ECF# 78] (798 F.3d 682)
PB-NE-0004-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 08/11/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum and Order [ECF# 96] (159 F.Supp.3d 992) (D. Neb.)
PB-NE-0004-0008.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 02/04/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Permanent Injunction [ECF# 97] (D. Neb.)
PB-NE-0004-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/04/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 105] (D. Neb.)
PB-NE-0004-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/14/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Bataillon, Joseph F. (D. Neb.) show/hide docs
PB-NE-0004-0003 | PB-NE-0004-0005 | PB-NE-0004-0006 | PB-NE-0004-0007 | PB-NE-0004-0008 | PB-NE-0004-9000
Benton, William Duane (Eighth Circuit) show/hide docs
PB-NE-0004-0004
Smith, Lavenski R. (Eighth Circuit) show/hide docs
PB-NE-0004-0004
Thalken, Thomas D. (D. Neb.) [Magistrate] show/hide docs
PB-NE-0004-9000
Wollman, Roger Leland (Eighth Circuit) show/hide docs
PB-NE-0004-0004
Plaintiff's Lawyers Block, Joshua A (New York) show/hide docs
PB-NE-0004-0001 | PB-NE-0004-0002 | PB-NE-0004-9000
Cooper, Leslie (New York) show/hide docs
PB-NE-0004-0001 | PB-NE-0004-0002 | PB-NE-0004-9000
Dunne, Angela J. (Nebraska) show/hide docs
PB-NE-0004-0001 | PB-NE-0004-0002 | PB-NE-0004-9000
Koenig, Susan A. (Nebraska) show/hide docs
PB-NE-0004-0001 | PB-NE-0004-0002 | PB-NE-0004-9000
Miller, Amy A. (Nebraska) show/hide docs
PB-NE-0004-0001 | PB-NE-0004-0002 | PB-NE-0004-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Bydalek, David T. (Nebraska) show/hide docs
PB-NE-0004-9000
Grabow, Richard C. (Nebraska) show/hide docs
PB-NE-0004-9000
Jones, Danielle L. (Nebraska) show/hide docs
PB-NE-0004-9000
Lopez, David A. (Nebraska) show/hide docs
PB-NE-0004-9000
Post, Ryan S (Nebraska) show/hide docs
PB-NE-0004-9000
Smith, James D. (Nebraska) show/hide docs
PB-NE-0004-9000

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