University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Dumont v. Lyon CW-MI-0002
Docket / Court 2:17-cv-13080-PDB-EAS ( E.D. Mich. )
State/Territory Michigan
Case Type(s) Child Welfare
Public Benefits / Government Services
Attorney Organization ACLU of Michigan
Case Summary
On September 20, 2017, two same-sex couples and one former foster child brought this lawsuit against the state of Michigan in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. The case was assigned to Judge Paul D. Gorman. The plaintiffs alleged that Michigan contracted with and funded ... read more >
On September 20, 2017, two same-sex couples and one former foster child brought this lawsuit against the state of Michigan in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. The case was assigned to Judge Paul D. Gorman. The plaintiffs alleged that Michigan contracted with and funded private child placing agencies, some of which were religious organizations that refused to place children with same-sex couples. Represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and private counsel, the plaintiffs alleged that allowing state-funded child placing agencies to turn families away on the basis of sexual orientation violated the Establishment Clause and Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The plaintiffs sued the state under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and sought declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as attorney's fees.

On December 15, 2017, the state filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the plaintiffs lacked standing because there was no constitutional right to adopt children and that the agencies' actions were private rather than state actions. On December 18, St. Vincent Catholic Charities (SVCC) and three individuals who had had successful adoptions through SVCC moved to intervene as defendants. SVCC was a religious non-profit child placing agency that refused to work with same-sex couples, and it claimed that it would lose funding and have to close if the plaintiffs were granted injunctive relief. The next day, the proposed intervening defendants filed a motion to dismiss that contained many of the same arguments as the state's.

On January 30, 2018, State Senator Arlan Meekhof, on behalf of 53 Michigan legislators, sought leave to file an amicus brief in support of the defendants. The court granted this request on February 26, 2018. In this brief, Senator Meekhof agreed with the arguments made by the state and the intervenor-defendants in their motions to dismiss, as well as emphasized the "key roles" that religious agencies had played in adoption and foster care in Michigan.

On March 5, 2018, the Court granted the intervenor-defendants' motion to intervene as to SVCC. A hearing was held two days later as to the individual intervenor-defendants' ability to intervene, and on March 22, the Court granted the motion to intervene as to them as well.

As of June 2018, this case is ongoing. A hearing as to the defendants' motions to dismiss is set for July 12, 2018.

Rebecca Strauss - 08/08/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Establishment Clause
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-basis
Sexual orientatation
General
Adoption
Disparate Impact
Disparate Treatment
Foster care (benefits, training)
Gay/lesbian/transgender
Juveniles
Marriage
Pattern or Practice
Public benefits (includes, e.g., in-state tuition, govt. jobs)
Siblings (visitation, placement)
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Non-government non-profit
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Defendant(s) Michigan
St. Vincent Catholic Charities
Plaintiff Description Two same-sex couples and one former foster child who reject the state's policy of funding religious child placing agencies that discriminate against LGBTQ+ couples
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU of Michigan
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filing Year 2017
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  Dumont v. Lyon FAQ
http://www.aclumich.org/
Date: Sep. 19, 2017
By: ACLU of Michigan
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Legal Accountability in the Service-Based Welfare State: Lessons from Child Welfare Reform
Date: Summer 2009
By: Kathleen G. Noonan, Charles F. Sabel, William H. Simon (Center for High Impact Philanthropy , Columbia Law School and Stanford Law School Faculty)
Citation: 34 Law & Soc. Inquiry 523 (Summer 2009)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
2:17-cv-13080 (E.D. Mich.)
CW-MI-0002-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/04/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
CW-MI-0002-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/20/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amicus Curiae Brief of 53 Michigan State Legislators in Support of Defendants' and Intervenors' Motions to Dismiss [ECF# 26-1]
CW-MI-0002-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/30/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Unopposed Motion of St. Vincent Catholic Charities to Intervene [ECF# 31] (E.D. Mich.)
CW-MI-0002-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/05/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Individual Intervenors' Motion to Intervene [ECF# 34] (E.D. Mich.)
CW-MI-0002-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/22/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Borman, Paul D. (E.D. Mich.)
CW-MI-0002-0002 | CW-MI-0002-0003 | CW-MI-0002-9000
Stafford, Elizabeth A. Court not on record [Magistrate]
CW-MI-0002-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Beeney , Garrard R (New York)
CW-MI-0002-0001 | CW-MI-0002-9000
Cooper, Leslie (New York)
CW-MI-0002-0001 | CW-MI-0002-9000
Galisewski, Ryan (New York)
CW-MI-0002-0001 | CW-MI-0002-9000
Kaplan, Jay (Michigan)
CW-MI-0002-0001 | CW-MI-0002-9000
Mach, Daniel (District of Columbia)
CW-MI-0002-0001 | CW-MI-0002-9000
Moss, Kary L. (Michigan)
CW-MI-0002-0001
Ostrager, Ann-Elizabeth (New York)
CW-MI-0002-0001 | CW-MI-0002-9000
Schnier, Jason W. (New York)
CW-MI-0002-0001 | CW-MI-0002-9000
Steinberg, Michael J. (Michigan)
CW-MI-0002-0001 | CW-MI-0002-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Barclay, Stephanie Hall (District of Columbia)
CW-MI-0002-9000
Bursch, John J. (Michigan)
CW-MI-0002-9000
Ludwig, Jonathan S. (Michigan)
CW-MI-0002-9000
Perrone, William J. (Michigan)
CW-MI-0002-9000
Rienzi, Mark (District of Columbia)
CW-MI-0002-9000
Smith, Joshua S (Michigan)
CW-MI-0002-9000
Other Lawyers Anderson, Katherine L. (Arizona)
CW-MI-0002-0004
Cortman, David A. (Georgia)
CW-MI-0002-0004 | CW-MI-0002-9000
Denney, Timothy (Michigan)
CW-MI-0002-0004
Scruggs, Jonathan A (Arizona)
CW-MI-0002-0004 | CW-MI-0002-9000
Tedesco, Jeremy D. (Arizona)
CW-MI-0002-0004 | CW-MI-0002-9000
Waggoner, Kristen K. (Arizona)
CW-MI-0002-0004

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