On September 22, 2006, plaintiffs (landlords and employers in Valley Park Missouri, and the non-profit Equal Housing Opportunity Council) brought suit in state court, represented by a large group of lawyers from advocacy organizations, law school clinics, and several St. Louis law firms. Plaintiffs sought a declaration that the City of Valley Park's Ordinance 1708 was unlawful, under both state and federal law. The Ordinance made it illegal to employ or house an "illegal alien" (the term was undefined).
The Court (Judge Barbara Wallace) granted a temporary restraining order on September 25, 2006. Valley Park immediately amended the ordinance, substituting Ordinance 1715. After a hearing, Judge Wallace promptly enjoined its operation as well. The parties began discovery.
At this point, Valley Park removed the case to federal court, where it proceeded before Judge Richard Webber of the Eastern District of Missouri. Once the parties agreed to the continued suspension of the Ordinance's implementation until a later hearing on its merits, discovery proceeded while the plaintiffs sought remand to state court.
On November 15, 2006, the District Court (Judge Webber) remanded the case to state court, on plaintiffs' motion. The case was set for trial. Just before the scheduled trial, the city again amended the ordinance, passing two replacements. One had to do with housing, the other with employment. On March 12, 2007, the state court (Judge Wallace) held that the new ordinances did not moot the case, and entered a permanent injunction against operation of Ordinances 1708 and 1715. The Court held the Ordinances went beyond Valley Park's authority as a 4th Class muncipality, and found that the housing provisions conflicted with state landlord tenant law. This order was later appealed by both parties, but the appellate court dismissed the appeal for mootness, and plaintiff was not awarded attorney's fees (Reynolds v. City of Valley Park, 254 SW 3d 264, 266 (2008)).
After the court's order was issued, the City Council decided to try to repeal the new versions of the housing ordinance. The vote to do so was vetoed by the Mayor, however, and an override was unsuccessful. The status of the employment ordinance was less clear; its effective date language stated that it would not come into effect until the preliminary injunction in this case was lifted, but that injunction had been made a permanent one by the court's decision.
Most of the plaintiffs in the case filed a new case challenging the housing ordinance (Reynolds II: same caption, different docket number). The court in that case (Judge Whittington) promptly granted a temporary restraining order, on April 5, 2007. By the parties' agreement on April 25, that restraining order was extended until briefing and resolution of dispositive motions.
At about the same time, one of the plaintiffs in Reynolds I filed her own challenge, Gray v. City of Valley Park. When she moved for a preliminary injunction, the City removed that case to federal district court. Details are available at IM-MO-2.
Next, in July 2007, the City amended the housing ordinance to eliminate the parts referring to immigration. The city then filed a motion to dismiss this case as moot, which Judge Barbara Ann Crancer granted on August 4, 2007.
In August 2007, however, the City amended the employment ordinance to make it effective even without the lifting of the injunction in the first state court case. The plaintiffs filed a motion for contempt on August 16, 2007, arguing that this violated the court order in the first state-court case. Judge Wallace denied that motion on October 16, 2007 without comment.
At the time of the summary, there was no information about any further challenges under the permanent injunction.Elizabeth Daligga - 07/16/2012