Case: Morgan v. Snyder

1:14-cv-00632 | U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan

Filed Date: June 11, 2014

Closed Date: 2016

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On June 11, 2014, plaintiffs, a gay couple, filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, under 42 U.S.C. 1983, against the State of Michigan and Kent County, Michigan. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, claiming that State's refusal to recognize their out-of-state marriage violated the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.Earlier, in…

On June 11, 2014, plaintiffs, a gay couple, filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, under 42 U.S.C. 1983, against the State of Michigan and Kent County, Michigan. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, claiming that State's refusal to recognize their out-of-state marriage violated the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Earlier, in DeBoer v. Snyder, PB-MI-0004 in this Clearinghouse, the case challenging Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage, on March 21, 2014, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan (Judge Bernard Friedman) had struck down the ban. DeBoer v. Snyder, 973 F. Supp. 2d 757 (E.D. Mich. 2014). The next day about three hundred same-sex couples wed across the state. Later that afternoon, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit granted a temporary stay in DeBoer; it was subsequently extended pending that case's final disposition in the Sixth Circuit. See Order, DeBoer v. Snyder, Case No. 14-1341 (6th Cir. March 25, 2014). The stay prevented any more same-sex couples in Michigan from marrying. On November 6, 2014, the Sixth Circuit reversed Judge Friedman's ruling and held the same-sex marriage ban constitutional. 772 F.3d 388 (6th Cir. 2014).

Earlier yet, in December 2013, plaintiffs in this case, Michigan residents, had traveled to New York State in order to marry. New York recognized same-sex marriage--Michigan did not. Back home in Michigan, in April 2014, plaintiffs submitted a quit claim deed, for recording with the Kent County Register of Deeds, conveying their residence from themselves as tenants to themselves as tenants by the entirety; tenancy by the entirety requires a valid marriage. Plaintiffs attached a copy of their New York marriage license. The Register of Deeds refused to record their deed claiming that Michigan does not recognize same-sex marriage. Plaintiffs brought this suit.

In plaintiffs' view, same-sex marriage was legal in Michigan for a brief time window after Judge Friedman's DeBoer ruling and before the Sixth Circuit's stay. Under the U.S. Constitution's Full Faith and Credit Clause, plaintiffs say that Michigan is required to recognize the out-of-state same-sex marriages of its residents living in the state during that brief window. Their case was assigned to Judge Gordon Quist. On July 14, 2014, the state filed a motion to dismiss, as well as a motion to stay the case pending the decision in DeBoer, which was then pending before the Sixth Circuit. On August 11, 2014, Judge Quist granted the state's motion for a stay pending the decision in DeBoer. On December 23, 2014, Judge Quist denied the state's motion to dismiss and extended this stay following the Sixth Circuit's decision and any subsequent review by the U.S. Supreme Court. The Supreme Court granted certiorari review in DeBoer, and on January 16, 2015, consolidated the case with three others as Obergefell v. Hodges.

In this case, the plaintiffs moved to lift the stay and enter judgment in their favor on April 2, 2015, citing the January 15, 2015 decision in Caspar v. Snyder in the Eastern District of Michigan, which held that the state could not refuse to recognize same-sex marriages that were performed in Michigan during the time between the district court’s ruling in DeBoer and the Sixth Circuit’s issuance of a temporary stay, 77 F. Supp. 3d 666 (E.D. Mich. 2015), and the declining health of one of the plaintiffs. Judge Quist denied the plaintiffs' motion to lift the stay on April 21, 2015, noting that the court was still bound by the Sixth Circuit decision in DeBoers and that the Caspar decision was both non-binding and distinguishable.

On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court held in a 5-4 decision in Obergefell that the Fourteenth Amendment requires all states to grant same-sex marriages and recognize same-sex marriages granted in other states. 135 S.Ct. 2584 (2015). In an October 8, 2015 order, the court determined that the Supreme Court's decision in Obergefell rendered the issues in this case moot.

The plaintiffs moved for attorney's fees under 42 U.S.C. 1988. In a December 3, 2015 order, Judge Quist found that the plaintiffs were not a prevailing party for purposes of the fee-shifting statute because the Obergefell decision rendered the issues in the case moot. The plaintiffs appealed the order denying the motion for attorney's fees and costs to the Sixth Circuit on December 30, 2015. On April 13, 2016, the Sixth Circuit dismissed the appeal pursuant to the voluntary dismissal of the parties.

Summary Authors

David Hamstra (2/3/2015)

Sarah McDonald (8/6/2018)

Related Cases

DeBoer v. Snyder, Eastern District of Michigan (2012)

People


Judge(s)

Quist, Gordon Jay (Michigan)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Booth, Joshua O. (Michigan)

Grossi, Christina M. (Michigan)

Howell, Linda S. (Michigan)

Murphy, Michael F (Michigan)

Expert/Monitor/Master

Myott, Stephanie D. (Michigan)

Judge(s)

Quist, Gordon Jay (Michigan)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Booth, Joshua O. (Michigan)

Grossi, Christina M. (Michigan)

Howell, Linda S. (Michigan)

Murphy, Michael F (Michigan)

Expert/Monitor/Master

Myott, Stephanie D. (Michigan)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket [PACER]

April 13, 2016 Docket
1

Complaint

June 11, 2014 Complaint
25

Order Granting Motion to Stay

Aug. 11, 2014 Order/Opinion
31

Order Staying Case

Dec. 23, 2014 Order/Opinion

Docket

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

ECF Number Description Date Link
1

COMPLAINT for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief against All Defendants filed by Bruce T. Morgan (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1, # 2 Summons Rick Snyder, # 3Summons Mary Hollinrake)(Myott, Stephanie) (Entered: 06/11/2014)

June 11, 2014

FILING FEE PAID re 1 by plaintiffs Brian P. Merucci, Bruce T. Morgan in the amount of $400, receipt number 0646-2903666 [Attorney Stephanie D. Myott added to party Brian P. Merucci(pty:pla)] (Myott, Stephanie) (Entered: 06/11/2014)

June 11, 2014
2

NOTICE that this case has been assigned to Judge Gordon J. Quist (jlg) (Entered: 06/12/2014)

June 12, 2014

(NON-DOCUMENT) ATTORNEY APPEARANCE of Michael Murphy on behalf of defendant Rick Snyder (Murphy, Michael) (Entered: 06/17/2014)

June 17, 2014
4

PROPOSED STIPULATED ORDER re: Extend time to answer complaint by defendant Rick Snyder (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order)(Murphy, Michael) Modified text on 6/20/2014 (dfw). (Entered: 06/19/2014)

June 19, 2014
5

ORDER granting STIPULATION 4 extending time to answer; signed by Judge Gordon J. Quist (Judge Gordon J. Quist, jmt) (Entered: 06/20/2014)

June 20, 2014
6

SUMMONS returned executed; Mary Hollinrake served on 6/17/2014, answer due 7/8/2014 (Myott, Stephanie) Modified text on 7/7/2014 (jlg). (Entered: 07/03/2014)

July 3, 2014
7

SUMMONS returned executed; Rick Snyder served on 6/18/2014, answer due 7/9/2014; (Myott, Stephanie) Modified text on 7/7/2014 (jlg). (Entered: 07/03/2014)

July 3, 2014
8

Appearance of Counsel ANSWER to complaint 1 by Mary Hollinrake(Howell, Linda) (Entered: 07/08/2014)

July 8, 2014
9

PROPOSED STIPULATION and ORDER by defendant Mary Hollinrake (Howell, Linda) (Entered: 07/08/2014)

July 8, 2014

(NON-DOCUMENT) ATTORNEY APPEARANCE of Christina M. Grossi on behalf of defendant Rick Snyder (Grossi, Christina) (Entered: 07/08/2014)

July 8, 2014

(NON-DOCUMENT) ATTORNEY APPEARANCE of Joshua O. Booth on behalf of defendant Rick Snyder (Booth, Joshua) (Entered: 07/08/2014)

July 8, 2014
10

NOTICE to attorney Linda Howell regarding recent filing 8 (jlg) (Entered: 07/09/2014)

July 9, 2014
11

MOTION to stay by defendant Rick Snyder; (Murphy, Michael) (Entered: 07/14/2014)

July 14, 2014
12

BRIEF in support of MOTION to stay 11 filed by Rick Snyder (Attachments: # 1Attachment 1, # 2 Attachment 2, # 3 Index, # 4 Exhibit 1, # 5 Exhibit 2, # 6Exhibit 3, # 7 Exhibit 4)(Murphy, Michael) Modified text on 7/15/2014 (mrs). (Entered: 07/14/2014)

July 14, 2014
14

MOTION to dismiss for failure to state a claim by defendant Rick Snyder; (Murphy, Michael) (Entered: 07/14/2014)

July 14, 2014
15

BRIEF in support of MOTION to dismiss for failure to state a claim 14 filed by Rick Snyder (Attachments: # 1 Attachment 1, # 2 Attachment 2, # 3 Index, # 4Exhibit 1, # 5 Exhibit 2, # 6 Exhibit 3, # 7 Exhibit 4)(Murphy, Michael) Modified text on 7/15/2014 (mrs). (Entered: 07/14/2014)

July 14, 2014
16

ORDER granting STIPULATION 9 ; signed by Judge Gordon J. Quist (Judge Gordon J. Quist, jmt) (Entered: 07/16/2014)

July 16, 2014
17

ORDER granting 13 motion for leave to file excess pages; signed by Judge Gordon J. Quist (Judge Gordon J. Quist, jmt) (Entered: 07/16/2014)

July 16, 2014
18

PROPOSED STIPULATION and ORDER to Extend Time to Respond to Motion for Abeyance by plaintiffs Brian P. Merucci, Bruce T. Morgan (Myott, Stephanie) (Entered: 07/25/2014)

July 25, 2014
19

ORDER granting STIPULATION 18 extending time to file; signed by Judge Gordon J. Quist (Judge Gordon J. Quist, jmt) (Entered: 07/28/2014)

July 28, 2014
20

RESPONSE TO MOTION to stay 11 Oral Argument Requested filed by Brian P. Merucci, Bruce T. Morgan (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A, # 2 Exhibit B)(Myott, Stephanie) Modified text on 8/1/2014 (dfw). (Entered: 07/31/2014)

July 31, 2014
21

PROPOSED STIPULATION and ORDER to Extend Time to Respond to Motion to Dismiss by plaintiffs Brian P. Merucci, Bruce T. Morgan (Myott, Stephanie) (Entered: 08/05/2014)

Aug. 5, 2014
22

MOTION for leave to file Reply by defendant Rick Snyder; (Murphy, Michael) (Entered: 08/05/2014)

Aug. 5, 2014
23

BRIEF in support of MOTION for leave to file Reply 22 filed by Rick Snyder(Murphy, Michael) (Entered: 08/05/2014)

Aug. 5, 2014
24

ORDER granting STIPULATION 21 extending time to file; signed by Judge Gordon J. Quist (Judge Gordon J. Quist, jmt) (Entered:

Aug. 6, 2014
26

ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE: Parties to show cause by 12/16/2014; signed by Judge Gordon J. Quist (Judge Gordon J. Quist, jmt) (Entered: 12/02/2014)

Dec. 2, 2014
27

RESPONSE by defendant Mary Hollinrake to Order to Show Cause (Deadline) 26(Howell, Linda) (Entered: 12/09/2014)

Dec. 9, 2014
28

NOTICE to attorney Linda S. Howell regarding recent filing 27 (ns) (Entered: 12/10/2014)

Dec. 10, 2014
29

RESPONSE by defendant Rick Snyder to Order to Show Cause (Deadline) 26(Murphy, Michael) (Entered: 12/16/2014)

Dec. 16, 2014
30

RESPONSE by plaintiffs Brian P. Merucci, Bruce T. Morgan to Order to Show Cause (Deadline) 26 (Myott, Stephanie) (Entered: 12/16/2014)

Dec. 16, 2014
31

ORDER STAYING CASE; dismissing 14 motion to dismiss; signed by Judge Gordon J. Quist (Judge Gordon J. Quist, jmt) (Entered: 12/23/2014)

Dec. 23, 2014
32

MOTION for relief from Stay by plaintiffs Brian P. Merucci, Bruce T. Morgan; (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A, # 2 Exhibit B, # 3 Exhibit C) (Myott, Stephanie) (Entered: 04/02/2015)

April 2, 2015
33

BRIEF in support of MOTION for relief from Stay 32 filed by Brian P. Merucci, Bruce T. Morgan (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A, # 2 Exhibit B, # 3 Exhibit C, # 4Exhibit D) (Myott, Stephanie) (Entered: 04/02/2015)

April 2, 2015
34

RESPONSE TO MOTION for relief from Stay 32 filed by Rick Snyder (Murphy, Michael) (Entered: 04/16/2015)

April 16, 2015
35

ORDER denying Plaintiffs' Motion 32 to Lift Stay and Enter Judgment; signed by Judge Gordon J. Quist (Judge Gordon J. Quist, jmt) (Entered: 04/21/2015)

April 21, 2015
36

ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE: Plaintiffs to show cause within 10 days; signed by Judge Gordon J. Quist (Judge Gordon J. Quist, jmt) (Entered: 08/17/2015)

Aug. 17, 2015
37

PROPOSED STIPULATION and ORDER by defendant Mary Hollinrake (Howell, Linda) (Entered: 08/24/2015)

Aug. 24, 2015
39

RESPONSE TO 38 Plaintiff's Response filed by defendant Rick Snyder (Murphy, Michael) Modified text on 9/1/2015 (clp). (Entered: 09/01/2015)

Sept. 1, 2015
40

STIPULATION and PROPOSED ORDER by plaintiffs Brian P. Merucci, Bruce T. Morgan (Myott, Stephanie) (Entered: 09/15/2015)

Sept. 15, 2015
41

ORDER granting STIPULATION 40 regarding attorney fees and costs and dismissing Defendant Hollinrake; signed by Judge Gordon J. Quist (Judge Gordon J. Quist, jmt) (Entered: 10/08/2015)

Oct. 8, 2015
42

ORDER REGARDING MOOTNESS AND ATTORNEY FEES: Plaintiffs to file within 21 days; Defendant Snyder to file 21 days thereafter; signed by Judge Gordon J. Quist (Judge Gordon J. Quist, jmt) (Entered: 10/08/2015)

Oct. 8, 2015
43

MOTION for attorney fees and costs by plaintiffs Brian P. Merucci, Bruce T. Morgan; (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A, # 2 Exhibit B, # 3 Exhibit C, # 4 Exhibit D, # 5 Exhibit E) (Myott, Stephanie) (Entered: 10/23/2015)

Oct. 23, 2015
44

BRIEF in support of MOTION for attorney fees and costs 43 filed by Brian P. Merucci, Bruce T. Morgan (Myott, Stephanie) (Entered: 10/23/2015)

Oct. 23, 2015
45

RESPONSE TO MOTION for attorney fees and costs 43 filed by Rick Snyder (Attachments: # 1 Index Exhibits, # 2 Exhibit A, # 3 Exhibit B, # 4 Exhibit C) (Murphy, Michael) (Entered: 11/13/2015)

Nov. 13, 2015
46

ORDER denying 43 motion for attorney's fees and costs; signed by Judge Gordon J. Quist (Judge Gordon J. Quist, jmt) (Entered: 12/03/2015)

Dec. 3, 2015
47

NOTICE OF APPEAL re 46 by plaintiffs Brian P. Merucci, Bruce T. Morgan (Myott, Stephanie) (Entered: 12/30/2015)

Dec. 30, 2015

RECEIPT: USCA appeal fee re 47 in the amount of $505, receipt number 0646-3413263 (clp) (Entered: 12/31/2015)

Dec. 30, 2015

CASE NUMBER 15-2610 assigned by the Sixth Circuit to appeal 47 (mkc) (Entered: 01/20/2016)

Jan. 5, 2016

State / Territory: Michigan

Case Type(s):

Public Benefits/Government Services

Special Collection(s):

Same-Sex Marriage

Key Dates

Filing Date: June 11, 2014

Closing Date: 2016

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Plaintiffs are two men married in New York State. They are seeking recognition of their marriage in their home state of Michigan.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

State of Michigan, State

Kent County, Michigan (Kent), County

Defendant Type(s):

Jurisdiction-wide

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Full faith and credit

Equal Protection

Due Process

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Non-settlement Outcome

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

None

Source of Relief:

None

Issues

General:

Gay/lesbian/transgender

Marriage

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

Discrimination-basis:

Sexual orientatation

Race:

Race, unspecified