Case: Baker v. Wildflower Inn

11-01837 | Vermont state trial court

Filed Date: 2011

Closed Date: Aug. 23, 2012

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Case Summary

In 2011, two women denied the opportunity to host their wedding reception at a particular private hotel due to their sexual orientation brought suit against that hotel to obtain a court order that the hotel's no-gay-receptions policy violated state law (Vermont's State Housing and Public Accommodations Act) and to prohibit future discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. The couple was represented by the ACLU, and the Vermont Human Rights Commission intervened on their behalf after d…

In 2011, two women denied the opportunity to host their wedding reception at a particular private hotel due to their sexual orientation brought suit against that hotel to obtain a court order that the hotel's no-gay-receptions policy violated state law (Vermont's State Housing and Public Accommodations Act) and to prohibit future discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. The couple was represented by the ACLU, and the Vermont Human Rights Commission intervened on their behalf after discovery of a pattern of this behavior with other couples. After Defendant's motion to dismiss was denied by State Judge Robert P. Gerety, the parties reached a settlement. As part of the settlement agreement, Wildflower Inn agreed that Vermont's public accommodations law prohibits unequal treatment of same-sex couples, which includes turning away same-sex couples seeking to have a wedding reception, failing to respond to inquiries from those couples, or discouraging those couples from using the facilities. The resort also agreed to pay $10,000 to the Vermont Human Rights Commission as a civil penalty and to place $20,000 in a charitable trust to be disbursed by the couple. The plaintiffs were not awarded any settlement amount personally; they had sought only nominal damages.

Summary Authors

Carlos Torres (5/18/2013)

People


Judge(s)
Attorney for Plaintiff

Barrett, Dan (Vermont)

Block, Joshua A (New York)

Attorney for Defendant

Babione, Byron J. (Arizona)

Campbell, James A. (Arizona)

Expert/Monitor/Master/Other

Appel, Robert (Vermont)

Judge(s)

Gerety, Robert P Jr. (Vermont)

Expert/Monitor/Master/Other

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Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

183-7-11 Cacv

Amended Complaint

Aug. 5, 2011

Aug. 5, 2011

Complaint

183-7-11 Cacv

Decision on Motions

April 11, 2012

April 11, 2012

Order/Opinion

183-7-11 Cacv

Settlement Agreement

Aug. 23, 2012

Aug. 23, 2012

Settlement Agreement

Resources

Docket

Last updated April 14, 2023, 3:07 a.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: Vermont

Case Type(s):

Public Accommodations/Contracting

Special Collection(s):

Same-Sex Marriage

Key Dates

Filing Date: 2011

Closing Date: Aug. 23, 2012

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Same-sex couple desiring to be married a t private venue, denied the opportunity to do so because of their same-sex status.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

ACLU Affiliates (any)

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Wildflower Inn d/b/a DOR Associates LLP, Private Entity/Person

Case Details

Causes of Action:

State law

Constitutional Clause(s):

Equal Protection

Available Documents:

Complaint (any)

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Damages

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Order Duration: 2012 - None

Content of Injunction:

Apology

Discrimination Prohibition

Issues

LGBTQ+:

LGBTQ+

Discrimination-basis:

Sexual orientation

Type of Facility:

Non-government for-profit