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Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Whitford v. Gill VR-WI-0018
Docket / Court 3:15-cv-00421-bbc ( W.D. Wis. )
State/Territory Wisconsin
Case Type(s) Election/Voting Rights
Speech and Religious Freedom
Case Summary
On July 5, 2015 registered democratic voters in Wisconsin filed this lawsuit in the US District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin. The plaintiffs sued the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board under §§ 1983 and 1988, claiming violations of their First and Fourteenth amendment rights. ... read more >
On July 5, 2015 registered democratic voters in Wisconsin filed this lawsuit in the US District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin. The plaintiffs sued the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board under §§ 1983 and 1988, claiming violations of their First and Fourteenth amendment rights. The plaintiffs, represented by public interest and private counsel, sought declaratory, injunctive, and monetary relief. Specifically, the plaintiffs requested a state law establishing new, constitutional districts or a constitutional redistricting plan. The plaintiffs claimed that the Act 43 district plan first adopted in 2012 created partisan gerrymandered districts for the purposes of helping Republican candidates win a majority of seats in the State Assembly.

On July 8, 2015, the plaintiffs sought an order enjoining the implementation of the gerrymandered districts for the 2016 election. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss the complaint, which was denied on December 17, 2015 by the court on the grounds that the “plaintiffs’ complaint is sufficient to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.” 151 F.Supp.3d 918.

Defendants later filed a motion for summary judgment, which was denied on April 7, 2016 because “there are factual disputes regarding the validity of plaintiffs’ proposed measurement for determining the existence of constitutional violation.” 180 F.Supp.3d 583.

On November 21, 2016, Judge Kenneth Ripple held that Act 43, the gerrymandered redistricting plan, was unconstitutional. The court found that one of the objectives of the redistricting plan in question was to make it difficult for Democratic voters “to translate their votes into legislative seats” and ensure a Republican majority in the Assembly. 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160811. In the order, the Judge deferred ruling on an appropriate remedy and asked parties to brief on this issue.

The case is ongoing.

Rachel Barr - 01/27/2017


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Freedom of speech/association
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Disparate Impact
Voting
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Voting
Redistricting/district composition
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Defendant(s) Gerald C. Nichol, Thomas Barland, John Franke, Harold V. Froehlich, Elsa Lamelas, Kevin J. Kennedy, and Timothy Vocke
Plaintiff Description Registered Democratic voters in Wisconsin
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
3:15-cv-00421-bbc (W.D. Wis.) 01/12/2017
VR-WI-0018-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 07/08/2015
VR-WI-0018-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Complaint Exhibits 07/08/2015
VR-WI-0018-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion and Order [Motion to Dismiss] 12/17/2015 (151 F.Supp.3d 918) (W.D. Wis.)
VR-WI-0018-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion and Order [Motion for Summary Judgment, Motion in Limine] 04/07/2016 (180 F.Supp.3d 583) (W.D. Wis.)
VR-WI-0018-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion and Order 11/21/2016 (W.D. Wis.)
VR-WI-0018-0004.pdf | Detail
Judges Crabb, Barbara Brandriff (W.D. Wis.)
VR-WI-0018-0002 | VR-WI-0018-0003 | VR-WI-0018-9000
Crocker, Stephen L. (W.D. Wis.) [Magistrate]
VR-WI-0018-9000
Griesbach, William C. (E.D. Wis.)
VR-WI-0018-0002 | VR-WI-0018-0003 | VR-WI-0018-0004
Ripple, Kenneth Francis (Seventh Circuit)
VR-WI-0018-0002 | VR-WI-0018-0003
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Earle, Peter (Wisconsin)
VR-WI-0018-0001 | VR-WI-0018-9000
Greenwood, Ruth Merewyn (Illinois)
VR-WI-0018-0001 | VR-WI-0018-9000
Harless, Annabelle Elizabeth (Illinois)
VR-WI-0018-9000
Hebert, J. Gerald (District of Columbia)
VR-WI-0018-9000
Lang, Danielle (District of Columbia)
VR-WI-0018-9000
Odorizzi, Michelle L. (Illinois)
VR-WI-0018-0001 | VR-WI-0018-9000
Poland, Douglas Maynard (Wisconsin)
VR-WI-0018-9000
Stephanopoulos, Nicholas Odysseas (Illinois)
VR-WI-0018-0001 | VR-WI-0018-9000
Strauss, Paul Leonard (Illinois)
VR-WI-0018-0001 | VR-WI-0018-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Keenan, Brian P. (Wisconsin)
VR-WI-0018-9000
Russomanno, Anthony David (Wisconsin)
VR-WI-0018-9000
Other Lawyers Boehm, Theodore R. (Indiana)
VR-WI-0018-9000
Crawford, Susan M. (Wisconsin)
VR-WI-0018-9000
Schulhofer, Stephen J. (New York)
VR-WI-0018-9000

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