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Case Name South Bay United Pentecostal Church v. Newsom FA-CA-0015
Docket / Court 3:20-cv-00865 ( S.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Speech and Religious Freedom
Special Collection COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)
Case Summary
COVID-19 Summary: This is a suit brought by a church against the State of California’s enforcement of stay-at-home orders and prohibition of in-person religious policies. The plaintiffs alleged that California’s four-stage “Reopening Plan,” had relaxed the stay-at-home order for certain ... read more >
COVID-19 Summary: This is a suit brought by a church against the State of California’s enforcement of stay-at-home orders and prohibition of in-person religious policies. The plaintiffs alleged that California’s four-stage “Reopening Plan,” had relaxed the stay-at-home order for certain retail organizations as part of stage 2 of the reopening, however, churches were to be opened months later. On May 15, the court denied the TRO and the plaintiffs appealed. The Ninth Circuit denied the injunction pending appeal on May 22, and the Supreme Court denied the application for injunctive relief on May 29.


On May 8, 2020, the South Bay United Pentecostal Church and two religious figures filed this action in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California against the State of California and other health officials and police officers against the enforcement of stay-at-home orders and prohibition of in-person religious policies. California’s four-stage “Reopening Plan” had relaxed the stay-at-home order for certain retail organizations as part of stage 2 of the reopening, however, churches were not allowed to be reopened until stage 3, as they were categorized as "higher risk workplaces."Seeking declaratory and injunctive relief, the plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, filed this action under 28 U.S.C. § 2201 and 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of their First Amendment right to Free Exercise, the Fourteenth Amendment, and the California Constitution. Specifically, they alleged that church services were “essential,” and therefore, the policies, as applied to the plaintiffs, were unconstitutional. The case was initially assigned to Judge Anthony J. Battaglia and Magistrate Judge Mitchell D. Dembin, then reassigned to Judge Cynthia Bashant and Magistrate Judge Allison H. Goddard on May 12.

On May 11, the plaintiffs amended their complaint to request an expedited briefing schedule and filed a motion for temporary restraining order. On the same day, the plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the complaint against two defendants, the Mayor and the Chief of Police of the City of San Diego, and one of the plaintiffs, a rabbi, also voluntarily withdrew from the suit.

On May 14, the defendants filed a response in opposition to the temporary restraining order, contending that in-person church services posed a higher risk than retail organizations.

On May 15, the court denied the temporary restraining order. 2020 WL 2814636. On the same day, the plaintiffs submitted an appeal to the Ninth Circuit, and the next day, a motion to grant an injunction pending appeal. The motion for an injunction pending appeal was denied by the district court on May 18. 2020 WL 2529620. The Ninth Circuit also denied the injunction pending appeal on May 22. 959 F.3d 938.

The plaintiffs filed an emergency application for a writ of injunctive relief to the Supreme Court on May 26. However, that same day, President Trump announced that all state governors must immediately lift executive orders that discriminated against religious conduct. On May 29, the Supreme Court denied the application for injunctive relief. 140 S.Ct. 1613.

In the Ninth Circuit appeal, the defendants argued that the plaintiffs' claims were now moot, as the county’s guidance order had since been superseded, allowing in-person worship.

On July 10, the plaintiffs sought a limited remand in order to supplement the record and to address how the recent changes in California’s pandemic regime and enforcement of the regime impacted its injunction analysis. The district court requested the remand to the Ninth Circuit on July 14. On July 20, the plaintiffs sought a jury trial. The limited remand was granted on July 29.

The plaintiffs renewed their motion for a TRO on August 10, claiming that the defendants have had more than four months to meet their burden of establishing the constitutionality of their actions.

The case remains ongoing.

Averyn Lee - 09/22/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Due Process: Substantive Due Process
Equal Protection
Establishment Clause
Free Exercise Clause
Freedom of speech/association
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief denied
Defendant-type
Hospital/Health Department
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-basis
Religion discrimination
General
Disparate Treatment
Religious programs / policies
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit religious organization
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
State law
Defendant(s) Chief of Police of the City of San Diego
Sheriff of the County of San Diego
Attorney General of California
California Public Health Officer
Director of Emergency Services
Governor of California
Mayor of the City of San Diego
Public Health Officer
Plaintiff Description The South Bay United Pentecostal Church, a California non-profit organization and two religious figures
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Filed 05/08/2020
Case Ongoing Yes
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)
3:20-cv-00865-BAS-AHG (S.D. Cal.)
FA-CA-0015-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/14/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
FA-CA-0015-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/08/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 11, (incl. 11-1 to 11-7)]
FA-CA-0015-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/11/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Notice of Application and Application for a Temporary Restraining Order, and Order to Show Cause re: Preliminary Injunction (Part 1/2) [ECF# 12, 12-1, 12-2, 12-3]
FA-CA-0015-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/11/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Notice of Application and Application for a Temporary Restraining Order, and Order to Show Cause re: Preliminary Injunction (Part 2/2) [ECF# 12-4, 12-5]
FA-CA-0015-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/11/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Ex Parte Application to Modify the Briefing Schedule on Plaintiffs’ Application for a Temporary Restraining Order [ECF# 15, 15-1, 15-2]
FA-CA-0015-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/11/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opposition to Plaintiffs' Ex Parte Application for a Temporary Restraining Order [ECF 12] by Defendants [ECF# 22, 22-1, 22-2]
FA-CA-0015-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/14/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
State Defendants' Opposition to Plaintiffs' Application for Temporary Restraining Order [ECF# 23, 23-1, 23-2]
FA-CA-0015-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/14/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
State Defendants' Opposition to Plaintiffs' Objection [ECF# 31]
FA-CA-0015-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/15/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Denying Plaintiffs' Ex Parte Motion for an Injunction Pending Appeal [ECF# 39] (2020 WL 2529620) (S.D. Cal.)
FA-CA-0015-0009.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 05/18/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Ct. of App. ECF# 29] (2020 WL 2687079)
FA-CA-0015-0010.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 05/22/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Emergency Application for Writ of Injunction Relief Requested by Sunday, May 24, 2020
FA-CA-0015-0011.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/26/2020
Source: Supreme Court website
Opposition of County Defendants to Plaintiffs' Emergency Application for Writ of Injunction
FA-CA-0015-0012.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/28/2020
Source: Supreme Court website
Opposition of State Respondents to Emergency Application for Writ of Injunction
FA-CA-0015-0013.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/28/2020
Source: Supreme Court website
Reply Brief in Support of Emergency Application for Writ of Injunction Relief Requested by Sunday, May 31, 2020
FA-CA-0015-0014.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/29/2020
Source: Supreme Court website
Opinion (2020 WL 2813056)
FA-CA-0015-0015.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 05/29/2020
Source: Supreme Court website
Brief of County Defendants/Appellees and Joinder in State Defendants' Brief
FA-CA-0015-0016.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/26/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
State Defendants-Appellees' Answering Brief
FA-CA-0015-0017.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/26/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Notice of Motion and Motion for an Indicative Ruling Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 62.1(a)(3) [ECF# 45, 45-1, 45-2, 45-4]
FA-CA-0015-0018.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/10/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Notice of Motion and Renewed Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order / Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 53 (incl. 53-1 to 53-9)]
FA-CA-0015-0019.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/10/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Bashant, Cynthia Ann (S.D. Cal.) show/hide docs
FA-CA-0015-0009 | FA-CA-0015-9000
Collins, Daniel Paul (Ninth Circuit) show/hide docs
FA-CA-0015-0010
Goddard, Allison H. Court not on record [Magistrate] show/hide docs
FA-CA-0015-9000
Kavanaugh, Brett M. (D.C. Circuit, SCOTUS) show/hide docs
FA-CA-0015-0015
Nguyen, Jacqueline Hong-Ngoc (C.D. Cal., Ninth Circuit) show/hide docs
FA-CA-0015-0010
Roberts, John Glover Jr. (D.C. Circuit, SCOTUS) show/hide docs
FA-CA-0015-0015
Silverman, Barry G. (D. Ariz., Ninth Circuit) show/hide docs
FA-CA-0015-0010
Plaintiff's Lawyers Brandon, Milan Louis II (California) show/hide docs
FA-CA-0015-9000
Breen, Peter C. (Illinois) show/hide docs
FA-CA-0015-0001 | FA-CA-0015-0002 | FA-CA-0015-0003 | FA-CA-0015-0004 | FA-CA-0015-0005 | FA-CA-0015-0011 | FA-CA-0015-0014 | FA-CA-0015-0018
Brejcha, Thomas (Illinois) show/hide docs
FA-CA-0015-0001 | FA-CA-0015-0002 | FA-CA-0015-0003 | FA-CA-0015-0004 | FA-CA-0015-0005 | FA-CA-0015-0011 | FA-CA-0015-0014 | FA-CA-0015-0018
Dhillon, Harmeet K. (California) show/hide docs
FA-CA-0015-0001 | FA-CA-0015-0002 | FA-CA-0015-0003 | FA-CA-0015-0004 | FA-CA-0015-0005 | FA-CA-0015-0011 | FA-CA-0015-0014 | FA-CA-0015-0018 | FA-CA-0015-9000
Jonna, Paul Michael (California) show/hide docs
FA-CA-0015-0001 | FA-CA-0015-0002 | FA-CA-0015-0003 | FA-CA-0015-0004 | FA-CA-0015-0005 | FA-CA-0015-0011 | FA-CA-0015-0014 | FA-CA-0015-0018 | FA-CA-0015-0019 | FA-CA-0015-9000
LiMandri, Charles Salvatore (California) show/hide docs
FA-CA-0015-0001 | FA-CA-0015-0002 | FA-CA-0015-0003 | FA-CA-0015-0004 | FA-CA-0015-0005 | FA-CA-0015-0011 | FA-CA-0015-0014 | FA-CA-0015-0018 | FA-CA-0015-0019 | FA-CA-0015-9000
Meuser, Mark Philip (California) show/hide docs
FA-CA-0015-0001 | FA-CA-0015-0002 | FA-CA-0015-0003 | FA-CA-0015-0004 | FA-CA-0015-0005 | FA-CA-0015-0011 | FA-CA-0015-0014 | FA-CA-0015-0018 | FA-CA-0015-9000
Michael, Gregory Richard (California) show/hide docs
FA-CA-0015-0001 | FA-CA-0015-0002 | FA-CA-0015-0003 | FA-CA-0015-0004 | FA-CA-0015-0005 | FA-CA-0015-0018
Trissell, Jeffrey M (California) show/hide docs
FA-CA-0015-0001 | FA-CA-0015-0002 | FA-CA-0015-0003 | FA-CA-0015-0004 | FA-CA-0015-0005 | FA-CA-0015-0011 | FA-CA-0015-0014 | FA-CA-0015-0018 | FA-CA-0015-0019 | FA-CA-0015-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Becerra, Xavier (California) show/hide docs
FA-CA-0015-0007 | FA-CA-0015-0008 | FA-CA-0015-0013 | FA-CA-0015-0017
Grabarsky, Todd (California) show/hide docs
FA-CA-0015-0007 | FA-CA-0015-0008 | FA-CA-0015-0013 | FA-CA-0015-0017 | FA-CA-0015-9000
Harbourt, Samuel T (California) show/hide docs
FA-CA-0015-0013
Klein, Joshua A (California) show/hide docs
FA-CA-0015-0013
Michalowski, Jeffrey P (California) show/hide docs
FA-CA-0015-0012 | FA-CA-0015-0016
Mongan, Michael J. (California) show/hide docs
FA-CA-0015-0013
Montgomery, Thomas Edward (California) show/hide docs
FA-CA-0015-0006 | FA-CA-0015-0012 | FA-CA-0015-0016
Newsom, Gavin (California) show/hide docs
FA-CA-0015-9000
Patterson, Thomas S. (California) show/hide docs
FA-CA-0015-0013 | FA-CA-0015-0017
Plank, Lisa J (California) show/hide docs
FA-CA-0015-0007 | FA-CA-0015-0008 | FA-CA-0015-0013 | FA-CA-0015-0017 | FA-CA-0015-9000
Stein, Paul (California) show/hide docs
FA-CA-0015-0007 | FA-CA-0015-0008 | FA-CA-0015-0013 | FA-CA-0015-0017
White, Timothy M (California) show/hide docs
FA-CA-0015-0006 | FA-CA-0015-0016 | FA-CA-0015-9000

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