Case: A.W. v. Davis School District

1:12-cv-00242 | U.S. District Court for the District of Utah

Filed Date: Nov. 13, 2012

Closed Date: 2013

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On November 13, 2012, a mother filed a lawsuit against the Davis County Schools in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah, on behalf of her two children, A.W. and C.W. The Plaintiffs, represented by the ACLU and bringing suit under 42 U.S.C § 1983, sought injunctive and declaratory relief, as well as nominal damages, alleging that the school district violated their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights by removing a children's book, In Our Mothers' House, from the library shelves to a…

On November 13, 2012, a mother filed a lawsuit against the Davis County Schools in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah, on behalf of her two children, A.W. and C.W. The Plaintiffs, represented by the ACLU and bringing suit under 42 U.S.C § 1983, sought injunctive and declaratory relief, as well as nominal damages, alleging that the school district violated their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights by removing a children's book, In Our Mothers' House, from the library shelves to a restricted access section. The book depicts a same-sex couple and their three adopted children. Specifically, the Plaintiffs alleged that the book should be returned to the regular collection and that similar books should not be restricted from student access. Plaintiffs also sought to class certification.

Defendant argued that the book violated Utah's sex education law, U.C.A. 1953 §53A-13-101, which prohibits sex-education curricula from using instructional materials that advocate homosexuality. Defendant also claimed that because elementary school students have structured time in the library, such time should be treated as part of the curriculum.

The matter was referred to alternative dispute resolution on December 11, 2012. It then settled. Defendants agreed to return the book to regular circulation, to not remove the book from libraries for any reason based on its content, and not to rely on Utah Code §53A-13-101 as a basis for content discrimination. Plaintiffs agreed that the book may be restricted on a per-student basis, just as any other book may, at the request of a parent or guardian. As part of the agreement, both parties filed motions to dismiss. The case closed on February 4, 2013.

Summary Authors

Jeanette Pitts (4/1/2013)

People


Judge(s)

Furse, Evelyn J. (Utah)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Block, Joshua A (New York)

Cooper, Leslie (New York)

Farrell, Leah M. (Utah)

Mejia, John (Utah)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Cheney, Scott (Utah)

Kaiser, Kyle J. (Utah)

Judge(s)

Furse, Evelyn J. (Utah)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Block, Joshua A (New York)

Cooper, Leslie (New York)

Farrell, Leah M. (Utah)

Mejia, John (Utah)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Cheney, Scott (Utah)

Kaiser, Kyle J. (Utah)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket

A.W. and C.W. v. Davis School District

Nov. 13, 2012 Docket
2

Complaint

A.W. and C.W. v. Davis School District

Nov. 13, 2012 Complaint
22-1

Settlement Agreement

A.W. and C.W. v. Davis School District

Jan. 31, 2013 Settlement Agreement

Resources

Title Description External URL

Anti-Gay Curriculum Laws

Clifford Rosky

Since the Supreme Court's invalidation of anti-gay marriage laws, scholars and advocates have been debating the LGBT movement's near-term strategies and priorities. This Article joins that conversati… Jan. 1, 2017 https://columbialawreview.org/content/anti-gay-curriculum-laws/

Docket

Last updated May 12, 2022, 8 p.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

State / Territory: Utah

Case Type(s):

Speech and Religious Freedom

Key Dates

Filing Date: Nov. 13, 2012

Closing Date: 2013

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Mother on behalf of her two schoolchildren

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

ACLU National (all projects)

ACLU Affiliates (any)

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Denied

Defendants

Davis School District (Salt Lake City , Davis), School District

Defendant Type(s):

Elementary/Secondary School

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Freedom of speech/association

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Unknown

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Attorneys fees

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Amount Defendant Pays: 15,000

Issues

General:

Education

Gay/lesbian/transgender

Library (non-law) access

School/University Facilities

School/University policies

Discrimination-basis:

Sexual orientatation

Type of Facility:

Government-run