Case: Pidgeon v. Parker

4:13-cv-03768 | U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas

Filed Date: Dec. 17, 2013

Case Ongoing

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On December 17, 2013, plaintiffs, two Houston residents and taxpayers, filed a lawsuit in the Harris County, Texas family law court because the City's employee benefits program had become available to spouses of same-sex marriages. The complaint alleged violations of the Texas Family Code; the Houston City Charter; and the Texas Constitution against the City of Houston. The plaintiffs sought temporary and permanent injunctions to prevent the City from making the City's employee benefits program…

On December 17, 2013, plaintiffs, two Houston residents and taxpayers, filed a lawsuit in the Harris County, Texas family law court because the City's employee benefits program had become available to spouses of same-sex marriages. The complaint alleged violations of the Texas Family Code; the Houston City Charter; and the Texas Constitution against the City of Houston. The plaintiffs sought temporary and permanent injunctions to prevent the City from making the City's employee benefits program available to same sex spouses of City of Houston employees. The state court judge issued a temporary order in the plaintiffs' favor, which remains in effect.

On December 27, 2013, the City removed the case to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas Houston Division, where it was assigned to Judge Lee H. Rosenthal. The City argued that the case asserted a federal claim, because the complaint alleged that the City had violated a section of the Houston City Charter that refers to federal law. The defendants also asserted that the decision to begin offering benefits to same-sex spouses of employees was required by the Supreme Court's decision in United States v. Windsor, 570 U.S. 744 (2013). The plaintiffs disagreed; they argued that the case was a state law matter and asked the District Court to send the case back to state court.

On August 28, 2014, Judge Rosenthal for the District Court found that the it lacked removal jurisdiction because the plaintiffs' complaint did not present a federal question, and remanded the case to the 310th Judicial District of Harris County, Texas.

On November 5, 2014, Judge Lisa Millard of the 310th Judicial District of Harris County issued a temporary injunction prohibiting the City from "furnishing benefits to persons who were married in other jurisdictions to City employees of the same sex." The City filed a notice of interlocutory appeal on November 21, 2014.

While the City's appeal from the injunction was pending, the U.S. Supreme Court held in Obergefell that a state may not "exclude same-sex couples from civil marriage on the same terms and conditions as opposite-sex couples." Obergefell v. Hodges, 135 S. Ct. 2584, 2605 (2015). On July 28, 2015, Texas's Fourteenth Court of Appeals reversed the trial court's injunction and remanded for proceedings consistent with Obergefell and DeLeon v. Abbott (the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas finding that article I § 32 of the Texas Constitution and Texas Family Code § 6.204 unconstitutional, and enjoined the State of Texas from enforcing them; Fifth Circuit Court affirming the trial court's determination in light of Obergefell. DeLeon, 791 F.3d 619, 624–25 (5th Cir. 2015)). Parker v. Pidgeon, 477 S.W.3d 353 (Tex. App. 2015).

The plaintiffs sought discretionary review from the Supreme Court of Texas. Though it initially denied review on September 2, 2016, 549 S.W.3d 130 (Mem), the Supreme Court of Texas later withdrew that order on rehearing and granted review, hearing arguments in March 2017.

In 2016, the case name changed to Pidgeon v. Turner.

On June 30, 3017, the Supreme Court of Texas found that the court of appeals' opinion and judgment imposed, or could be read to impose, greater restrictions on remand than Obergefell required, and reversed the ruling of the court of appeals. Pidgeon v. Turner, 538 S.W.3d 73 (Tex. 2017). According to the court, Obergefell “did not address and resolve” the “specific issue” of state spousal benefits, and "did not hold that states must provide the same publicly funded benefits to all married persons." Therefore, the Supreme Court of Texas found that the state appeals court erred in ordering the trial court to resolve the case “consistent with Obergefell and De Leon.” The court instructed the trial court to settle the issue itself, reversing the court of appeals' judgment and vacating the trial court's orders.

On September 15, 2017, the plaintiffs filed a petition for writ of certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court. It denied review on December 4, 2017. 138 S.Ct. 505. The Supreme Court of Texas's mandate reversing the judgment of the court of appeals, vacating the trial court's injunction, and remanding the case to the trial court for further proceedings issued on February 28, 2018.

The defendants filed a notification of removal to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas on March 5, 2018. On April 10, 2018, the court (Judge Kenneth M. Hoyt) granted the plaintiffs' motion to remand to the 310th District Court of Harris County, Texas, finding that the federal district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction because the plaintiffs' pleadings presented no issues of federal law or constitutional claims.

On February 18, 2019, state court judge Sonya Heath dismissed the plaintiff’s lawsuit after considering written arguments. On March 13, the plaintiffs appealed to the Court of Appeals for the Fourteenth District of Texas at Houston. On December 23, the appellants submitted a brief and requested an oral argument. On April 7, 2020, the case was to be scheduled for submission of briefs without oral arguments on May 20, 2020.

The case is ongoing.

Summary Authors

Jamie Haberichter (9/11/2014)

Sarah McDonald (8/12/2018)

Averyn Lee (6/30/2020)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4393630/parties/pidgeon-v-parker/


Judge(s)

Rosenthal, Lee Hyman (Texas)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Olson, Leif A. (Texas)

Saenz, Jonathan M. (Texas)

Talton, Robert (Texas)

Woodfill, Jared R (Texas)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Feldman, David M. (Texas)

Ramsey, Judith L. (Texas)

Other Attorney(s)

Active

Active

Judge(s)

Rosenthal, Lee Hyman (Texas)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Olson, Leif A. (Texas)

Saenz, Jonathan M. (Texas)

Talton, Robert (Texas)

Woodfill, Jared R (Texas)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Feldman, David M. (Texas)

Ramsey, Judith L. (Texas)

Other Attorney(s)

Mitchell, Jonathan F. (Texas)

Upton, Kenneth D. (Texas)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket [PACER]

Aug. 28, 2014 Docket

Docket

Texas state trial court

Oct. 2, 2017 Docket
1

Plaintiffs' Original Petition . . .

Texas state trial court

Dec. 17, 2013 Complaint
1

Order on TRO

Texas state trial court

Dec. 27, 2013 Order/Opinion
1

Removal

Pidgeon v Parker

Dec. 27, 2013 Pleading / Motion / Brief
35

Opinion

Pidgeon v Parker

46 F.Supp.3d 692

Aug. 28, 2014 Order/Opinion

Temporary Injunction

Texas state trial court

Nov. 5, 2014 Order/Opinion

Per Curiam Opinion

Parker v. Pidgeon

Texas state appellate court

477 S.W.3d 353

July 28, 2015 Order/Opinion

Opinion

Pidgeon v. Turner

Texas state supreme court

March 1, 2017 Order/Opinion

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4393630/pidgeon-v-parker/

Last updated May 11, 2022, 8 p.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link
1

NOTICE OF REMOVAL from 310th District Court, case number 2013-75301 (Filing fee $ 400 receipt number 0541-12536258) filed by City Of Houston. (Attachments: # 1 Civil Cover Sheet)(Feldman, David) (Entered: 12/27/2013)

1 Civil Cover Sheet

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Dec. 27, 2013 PACER
2

ORDER for Initial Pretrial and Scheduling Conference and Order to Disclose Interested Persons. Initial Conference set for 5/9/2014 at 02:00 PM in Room 11521 before Judge Ewing Werlein, Jr(Signed by Judge Ewing Werlein, Jr) Parties notified.(smurdock, 4) (Entered: 12/30/2013)

Dec. 30, 2013 PACER
3

EMERGENCY MOTION, MOTION for Temporary Restraining Order( Motion Docket Date 1/21/2014.) by Larry Hicks, Jack Pidgeon, filed. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A - TRO, # 2 Exhibit B - Woodfill declaration, # 3 Exhibit C - City's letter, # 4 Proposed Order)(Olson, Leif) (Entered: 12/30/2013)

1 Exhibit A - TRO

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2 Exhibit B - Woodfill declaration

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3 Exhibit C - City's letter

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4 Proposed Order

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Dec. 30, 2013 PACER
4

ORDER Extending Temporary Restraining Order. The Temporary Restraining Order is extended until 5:00 p.m. January 2, 2014. (Signed by Judge Lee H Rosenthal) Parties notified.(gkelner, 4) (Entered: 12/30/2013)

Dec. 30, 2013 PACER
5

NOTICE of Setting as to 3 EMERGENCY MOTION MOTION for Temporary Restraining Order. Parties notified. Motion Hearing set for 1/2/2014 at 03:00 PM in Courtroom 11B before Judge Lee H Rosenthal, filed. (gkelner, 4) (Entered: 12/30/2013)

Dec. 30, 2013 PACER
6

ORDER Vacating Order Extending Temporary Restraining Order (Signed by Judge Lee H Rosenthal) Parties notified.(gkelner, 4) (Entered: 12/30/2013)

Dec. 30, 2013 PACER
7

ORDER Denying 3 EMERGENCY MOTION for Temporary Restraining Order ( Miscellaneous Hearing set for 1/2/2014 at 03:00 PM at Courtroom 11B before Judge Lee H Rosenthal)(Signed by Judge Lee H Rosenthal) Parties notified.(gkelner, 4) (Entered: 12/30/2013)

Dec. 30, 2013 PACER
8

RESPONSE in Opposition to 3 EMERGENCY MOTION MOTION for Temporary Restraining Order, filed by City Of Houston, Annise Parker. (Feldman, David) (Entered: 12/31/2013)

Dec. 31, 2013 PACER
9

Opposed MOTION to Intervene by Noel Freeman, Yadira Estrada, Ronald Reeser, filed. Motion Docket Date 1/21/2014. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Exhibit A, # 2 Exhibit Proposed Answer, # 3 Proposed Order Proposed Order)(Upton, Kenneth) (Entered: 12/31/2013)

1 Exhibit Exhibit A

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2 Exhibit Proposed Answer

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3 Proposed Order Proposed Order

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Dec. 31, 2013 PACER
10

MEMORANDUM re: 9 Opposed MOTION to Intervene by Yadira Estrada, Noel Freeman, Ronald Reeser, filed.(Upton, Kenneth) (Entered: 12/31/2013)

Dec. 31, 2013 PACER
11

MOTION to Remand, MOTION for Attorney Fees, MOTION for Costs( Motion Docket Date 1/21/2014.) by Larry Hicks, Jack Pidgeon, filed. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1 - Woodfill decl., # 2 Appendix A - State-court decisions, # 3 Appendix B - Pending state-court cases, # 4 Proposed Order)(Olson, Leif) (Entered: 12/31/2013)

1 Exhibit 1 - Woodfill decl.

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2 Appendix A - State-court decisions

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3 Appendix B - Pending state-court cases

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4 Proposed Order

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Dec. 31, 2013 PACER
12

MOTION to Expedite Motion to Remand by Larry Hicks, Jack Pidgeon, filed. Motion Docket Date 1/21/2014. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A - Parker letter, # 2 Proposed Order)(Olson, Leif) (Entered: 12/31/2013)

1 Exhibit A - Parker letter

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2 Proposed Order

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Dec. 31, 2013 PACER
13

BRIEF supporting issuance of TRO by Larry Hicks, Jack Pidgeon, filed.(Olson, Leif) (Entered: 01/02/2014)

Jan. 2, 2014 PACER
14

Minute Entry for proceedings before the Hon. Lee H. Rosenthal. Motion hearing held on January 2, 2013. After hearing from the parties and for the reasons stated on the record, the court denied the plaintiffs motion for issuance of a temporary restraining order, (Docket Entry No. 13), and motion to expedite, (Docket Entry No. 12). The court will enter a scheduling and docket control order as stated on the record. Appearances: Leif Olson/Jared Woodfill/Robert Talton/Jonathan Saenz for Pltfs. and David Feldman/John Wallace/Lynette Fons/Judith Ramsey for Defts. and Kenneth Upton for Movants. (Court Reporter: M. Malone), filed.(leddins, 4) (Entered: 01/03/2014)

Jan. 2, 2014 PACER
15

TRANSFER ORDER. Case reassigned to Judge Lee H Rosenthal for all further proceedings. Judge Ewing Werlein, Jr no longer assigned to the case.(Signed by Judge Ewing Werlein, Jr) Parties notified.(kcarr, 4) (Entered: 01/06/2014)

Jan. 6, 2014 PACER
16

PROPOSED ORDER re: 3 EMERGENCY MOTION MOTION for Temporary Restraining Order, filed.(Feldman, David) (Entered: 01/06/2014)

Jan. 6, 2014 PACER
17

TRANSCRIPT re: Motion Hearing held on January 2, 2014 before Judge Lee H Rosenthal. Court Reporter/Transcriber Mayra Malone. Ordering Party Judith Ramsey Release of Transcript Restriction set for 4/7/2014., filed. (mmalone, ) (Entered: 01/07/2014)

Jan. 7, 2014 PACER
18

Notice of Filing of Official Transcript as to 17 Transcript. Party notified, filed. (hcarr, 4) (Entered: 01/08/2014)

Jan. 8, 2014 PACER
19

SCHEDULING ORDER entered: January 9, 2014; The proposed intervenors' supplement to their motion to intervene, addressing whether the present case should be consolidated with Freeman v. Parker, No. H-13-3755, January 21, 2014; Defendants' response to Plaintiffs motion for remand, January 30, 2014; Plaintiffs and Defendants' responses to the proposed intervenors' supplemental motion to intervene, February 4, 2014; Plaintiffs' reply in support of motion for remand, February 11, 2013; Defendants' surreply to Plaintiffs' motion for remand. (Signed by Judge Lee H Rosenthal) Parties notified.(leddins, 4) (Entered: 01/08/2014)

Jan. 8, 2014 RECAP
20

SUPPLEMENT to 9 Opposed MOTION to Intervene by Yadira Estrada, Noel Freeman, Ronald Reeser, filed. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Pending Marriage Cases)(Upton, Kenneth) (Entered: 01/09/2014)

1 Exhibit Pending Marriage Cases

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Jan. 9, 2014 PACER
21

Opposed MOTION to Consolidate Lead Case No. 4:13-cv-03768 and Member Case No. 4:13-cv-03755 by Yadira Estrada, Noel Freeman, Ronald Reeser, filed. Motion Docket Date 1/30/2014. (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order Proposed Order)(Upton, Kenneth) (Entered: 01/09/2014)

1 Proposed Order Proposed Order

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Jan. 9, 2014 PACER
22

NOTICE Amended Notice of Removal by City Of Houston, Annise Parker, filed. (Feldman, David) (Entered: 01/09/2014)

Jan. 9, 2014 PACER
23

NOTICE Certificate of Service in Removed Action by City Of Houston, Annise Parker, filed. (Feldman, David) (Entered: 01/09/2014)

Jan. 9, 2014 PACER
24

ANSWER to Complaint by City Of Houston, Annise Parker, filed.(Feldman, David) (Entered: 01/16/2014)

Jan. 16, 2014 PACER
25

MOTION for Leave to File Amicus Brief in Support of Plaintiffs' Motion to Remand by State Of Texas, filed. Motion Docket Date 2/7/2014. (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order, # 2 Amicus Brief)(Mitchell, Jonathan) (Entered: 01/17/2014)

1 Proposed Order

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2 Amicus Brief

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Jan. 17, 2014 PACER
26

RESPONSE in Opposition to 11 MOTION to Remand MOTION for Attorney Fees MOTION for Costs, filed by City Of Houston, Annise Parker. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit, # 2 Proposed Order)(Feldman, David) (Entered: 01/21/2014)

1 Exhibit

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2 Proposed Order

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Jan. 21, 2014 PACER
27

MOTION to Amend by Larry Hicks, Jack Pidgeon, filed. Motion Docket Date 2/11/2014. (Attachments: # 1 Complaint Proposed 1st Amended Complaint, # 2 Proposed Order)(Olson, Leif) (Entered: 01/21/2014)

1 Complaint Proposed 1st Amended Complaint

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2 Proposed Order

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Jan. 21, 2014 PACER
28

First RESPONSE to 9 Opposed MOTION to Intervene filed by City Of Houston, Annise Parker. (Feldman, David) (Entered: 01/30/2014)

Jan. 30, 2014 PACER
29

First RESPONSE to 21 Opposed MOTION to Consolidate Lead Case No. 4:13-cv-03768 and Member Case No. 4:13-cv-03755 filed by City Of Houston, Annise Parker. (Feldman, David) (Entered: 01/30/2014)

Jan. 30, 2014 PACER
30

RESPONSE in Opposition to 9 Opposed MOTION to Intervene, 21 Opposed MOTION to Consolidate Lead Case No. 4:13-cv-03768 and Member Case No. 4:13-cv-03755, filed by Larry Hicks, Jack Pidgeon. (Olson, Leif) (Entered: 01/31/2014)

Jan. 31, 2014 PACER
31

REPLY in Support of 11 MOTION to Remand MOTION for Attorney Fees MOTION for Costs, filed by Larry Hicks, Jack Pidgeon. (Olson, Leif) (Entered: 02/05/2014)

Feb. 5, 2014 PACER
32

RESPONSE in Opposition to 27 MOTION to Amend, filed by City Of Houston, Annise Parker. (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order Re Response to Motion to Amend)(Feldman, David) (Entered: 02/07/2014)

1 Proposed Order Re Response to Motion to Amend

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Feb. 7, 2014 PACER
33

RESPONSE in Opposition to 25 MOTION for Leave to File Amicus Brief in Support of Plaintiffs' Motion to Remand, filed by City Of Houston, Annise Parker. (Feldman, David) (Entered: 02/07/2014)

Feb. 7, 2014 PACER
34

SURREPLY to 11 MOTION to Remand MOTION for Attorney Fees MOTION for Costs, filed by City Of Houston, Annise Parker. (Feldman, David) (Entered: 02/11/2014)

Feb. 11, 2014 PACER
35

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER entered DENYING AS MOOT 27 MOTION to Amend, GRANTING 11 MOTION to Remand MOTION for Attorney Fees MOTION for Costs, DENYING AS MOOT 21 Opposed MOTION to Consolidate Lead Case No. 4:13-cv-03768 and Member Case No. 4:13-cv-03755, DENYINMG AS MOOT 9 Opposed MOTION to Intervene, DENYING AS MOOT 25 MOTION for Leave to File Amicus Brief in Support of Plaintiffs' Motion to Remand. Order of Remand to be issued.(Signed by Judge Lee H Rosenthal) Parties notified.(leddins, 4) (Entered: 08/28/2014)

Aug. 28, 2014 RECAP
36

ORDER OF REMAND. This case is remanded to the 310th JDC of Harris County. Case terminated on 8/28/14.(Signed by Judge Lee H Rosenthal) Parties notified.(leddins, 4) (Entered: 08/28/2014)

Aug. 28, 2014 RECAP

State / Territory: Texas

Case Type(s):

Public Benefits/Government Services

Special Collection(s):

Same-Sex Marriage

Key Dates

Filing Date: Dec. 17, 2013

Case Ongoing: Yes

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Houston residents and taxpayers opposed to making City's employment benefits program available to same sex spouses of employees.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

City of Houston, City

Defendant Type(s):

Jurisdiction-wide

Case Details

Causes of Action:

State law

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: None Yet / None

Nature of Relief:

None yet

Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order

Source of Relief:

Litigation

None yet

Order Duration: 2014 - None

Content of Injunction:

Preliminary relief denied

Preliminary relief granted

Issues

General:

Gay/lesbian/transgender

Marriage

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

Discrimination-area:

Pay / Benefits

Discrimination-basis:

Sexual orientatation