Case: In re Clark

13-80100 | No Court

Filed Date: 2013

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On August 1, 2012, an assistant federal public defender for the District of Oregon filed a complaint under the Employment Dispute Resolution Plan for Federal Public Defenders and Staff (“Plan”), claiming discrimination on the basis of her sexual orientation. The complainant’s same-sex spouse was denied health benefits under the Federal Employees Health Care Benefits ("FEHB") program. The Federal Employees Health Benefits Act ("FEHBA") established the FEHB program, which provides FPD employees a…

On August 1, 2012, an assistant federal public defender for the District of Oregon filed a complaint under the Employment Dispute Resolution Plan for Federal Public Defenders and Staff (“Plan”), claiming discrimination on the basis of her sexual orientation. The complainant’s same-sex spouse was denied health benefits under the Federal Employees Health Care Benefits ("FEHB") program. The Federal Employees Health Benefits Act ("FEHBA") established the FEHB program, which provides FPD employees and their family members the right to health benefits. 5 U.S.C. §§ 8901-8914.

The Administrative Office of the United States Courts ("AO") denied the complainant's request, pursuant to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Office of Personal Management regulations, indicating that same sex partners are not family members. The complainant argued that denial of benefits amounted to sexual orientation discrimination, violating both the Plan and the United States Constitution.

The complainant filed her complaint pursuant to procedures established in the Plan. She requested counseling with the EDR Coordinator, but counseling did not resolve the dispute. This complaint was assigned to Circuit Judge Harry Pregerson, the Chair of the Ninth Circuit’s Standing Committee on Federal Public Defenders. On April 24, 2013, Judge Pregerson ruled that the complainant was discriminated against on the basis of her sexual orientation in violation of both the Plan and the U.S. Constitution. See Order.

In the course of reaching this decision, Judge Harry Pregerson held that Oregon’s Measure 36, the 2004 ballot initiative that bans recognition of same-sex marriages, is unconstitutional, violating the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. Judge Pregerson further concluded that the complainant’s marriage to her same-sex spouse should be recognized as a valid marriage in Oregon.

The remedy entitled the complainant to receive health care benefits coverage for her same-sex’s spouse. Director of the AO was ordered to submit the complainant’s FEHB Health Benefits Election form to appropriate health insurance carrier and process any future beneficiary addition requests without regard to (1) the sex of a listed spouse and (2) whether a validly executed same-sex marriage is recognized by a state.

Judge Pregerson indicated that in the event Office of Personal Management blocks the relief, he would grant the complainant's request for monetary relief. Judge Pregerson retained jurisdiction over this matter.

There have been no further updates in this case. There is no reason to believe the case is ongoing.

Summary Authors

Susie Choi (3/22/2017)

People


Judge(s)

Pregerson, Harry (California)

Judge(s)

Pregerson, Harry (California)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

13-80100

Order

In the Matter of Alison Clark

Oregon state appellate court

April 24, 2013

April 24, 2013

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

Last updated June 28, 2022, 3 a.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: Oregon

Case Type(s):

Public Benefits/Government Services

Special Collection(s):

Same-Sex Marriage

Key Dates

Filing Date: 2013

Case Ongoing: No reason to think so

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

The plaintiff is an assistant federal public defender for the District of Oregon.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: Yes

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

The Administrative Office of the United States Courts , Federal

Case Details

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Equal Protection

Special Case Type(s):

Out-of-court

Availably Documents:

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Declaratory Judgment

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Order Duration: 2013 - None

Content of Injunction:

Implement complaint/dispute resolution process

Issues

General:

Gay/lesbian/transgender

Marriage

Public benefits (includes, e.g., in-state tuition, govt. jobs)

Discrimination-basis:

Sex discrimination

Sexual orientatation