Case: Alford v. Moulder

3:16-cv-00350 | U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi

Filed Date: May 9, 2016

Closed Date: 2018

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On May 9, 2016, the Mississippi chapter of the ACLU and two gay individuals who were engaged filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi. The plaintiffs sued the state of Mississippi under 42 U.S.C § 1983, alleging that the state’s Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act, which allowed businesses to refuse to provide services based on their religious beliefs, violated the due process and equal protection clauses of the Fourt…

On May 9, 2016, the Mississippi chapter of the ACLU and two gay individuals who were engaged filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi. The plaintiffs sued the state of Mississippi under 42 U.S.C § 1983, alleging that the state’s Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act, which allowed businesses to refuse to provide services based on their religious beliefs, violated the due process and equal protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. Represented by private counsel, the plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief, including a preliminary injunction to prevent the law from taking effect on July 1, 2016, along with attorneys' fees.

The plaintiffs challenged Mississippi House Bill 1523, the Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act (HB 1523). HB 1523 was passed in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges; it granted broad protections to private business owners and government officials who didn't want to provide services to same-sex married couples based on their sincerely held religious beliefs. Plaintiffs alleged that these protections would make it more difficult for same-sex married couples to get services than different-sex married couples, and thus imposed burdens on same-sex married couples not faced by different-sex married couples. The plaintiffs argued that these burdens violated the due process and equal protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment, which—consistent with Obergefell—require that states allow same-sex couples access to civil marriage on the same terms and conditions as different-sex couples.

On June 20, U.S. District Court Judge Carlton W. Reeves denied the plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction against H.B. 1523. Judge Reeves noted that there must be a substantial threat of immediate, irreparable harm to the plaintiffs to justify a preliminary injunction. But in this case, Judge Reeves stated that the risk of injury was not imminent because the couple planned to marry in the next three years. (2016 WL 3449911).

However, ten days later, on June 30, 2016 Judge Reeves granted a preliminary injunction of H.B. 1523 in another suit, Barber v. Bryant (2016 WL 3562647).

On August 8, 2016, the defendant filed a motion to request a stay in this case until the resolution of Barber v. Bryant and Campaign for Southern Equality v. Bryant, two cases (which were consolidated) in the Southern District of Mississippi also challenging H.B. 1523. For more information on these cases, see here in the Clearinghouse.

On October 17, 2016, Judge Reeves granted the defendant's motion for a stay. 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 143292. On June 22, 2017, the Fifth Circuit held that the plaintiffs in Barber did not have standing. 860 F.3d 345. The Supreme Court declined to hear the case. The parties in this case then conferred and filed a Joint Stipulation of Dismissal without Prejudice on September 26, 2018, and the case is now closed.

Summary Authors

Ryan Berry (5/31/2016)

Kelly Ehrenreich (10/19/2016)

Elizabeth Helpling (11/18/2019)

Related Cases

Campaign for Southern Equality v. Bryant, Southern District of Mississippi (2014)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4302560/parties/alford-v-moulder/


Judge(s)

Anderson, Linda Randle (Mississippi)

Ball, F. Keith (Mississippi)

Jordan, Daniel Porter III (Mississippi)

Reeves, Carlton Wayne (Mississippi)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Block, Joshua A (New York)

Cooper, Leslie (New York)

Diaz, Oliver E Jr. (Mississippi)

Tom, Joshua F. (Mississippi)

Wu, Paloma (Mississippi)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Miracle, Douglas T. (Mississippi)

Judge(s)

Anderson, Linda Randle (Mississippi)

Ball, F. Keith (Mississippi)

Jordan, Daniel Porter III (Mississippi)

Reeves, Carlton Wayne (Mississippi)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Block, Joshua A (New York)

Cooper, Leslie (New York)

Diaz, Oliver E Jr. (Mississippi)

Tom, Joshua F. (Mississippi)

Wu, Paloma (Mississippi)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Miracle, Douglas T. (Mississippi)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket [PACER]

Sept. 26, 2018 Docket
1

Complaint

Alford v. Moulder

May 9, 2016 Complaint
20

District Court Judge Order Denying Preliminary Injunction

2016 WL 3449911

June 20, 2016 Order/Opinion
30

Order to Stay Case

2016 WL 6088489

Oct. 17, 2016 Order/Opinion
37

Joint Stipulation of Dismissal Without Prejudice

Sept. 26, 2018 Pleading / Motion / Brief

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4302560/alford-v-moulder/

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

ECF Number Description Date Link
1

COMPLAINT against Judy Moulder (Filing fee $ 400 receipt number 34643039221), filed by Nykolas Alford, Stephen Thomas, ACLU of Mississippi. (Attachments: # 1 Civil Cover Sheet, # 2 Declaration of Stephen Thomas, # 3 Declaration of Nykolas Alford, # 4 Declaration of Jennifer Riley Collins).(TLC) (Entered: 05/09/2016)

1 Civil Cover Sheet

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2 Declaration of Stephen Thomas

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3 Declaration of Nykolas Alford

View on PACER

4 Declaration of Jennifer Riley Collins

View on PACER

May 9, 2016 PACER
2

MOTION for Preliminary Injunction by ACLU of Mississippi, Nykolas Alford, Stephen Thomas. (TLC) (Entered: 05/09/2016)

May 9, 2016 PACER
3

Corporate Disclosure Statement by ACLU of Mississippi. (TLC) (Entered: 05/09/2016)

May 9, 2016 PACER
4

Summons Issued as to Judy Moulder. (TLC) (Entered: 05/10/2016)

May 10, 2016 PACER
5

MEMORANDUM in Support for 2 Preliminary Injunction memorandum by ACLU of Mississippi (Diaz, Oliver) (Entered: 05/10/2016)

May 10, 2016 RECAP
6

AFFIDAVIT of Service for Summons Judy Moulder, in her official capacity, served on Michael Lanford on 5/10/16, filed by ACLU of Mississippi, Nykolas Alford, Stephen Thomas. (Diaz, Oliver) (Entered: 05/11/2016)

May 11, 2016 PACER

DOCKET ANNOTATION as to # 6 Incorrect event chosen. This document should have been docketed as Summons Returned Executed. A return on summons should not be filed without the first page, as issued, preceding the return. Attorney is directed to refile. (TLC)

May 11, 2016 PACER
7

SUMMONS Returned Executed by Stephen Thomas All Defendants. (Diaz, Oliver) (Entered: 05/13/2016)

May 13, 2016 PACER

Pro Hac Vice fee paid by (Joshua A. Block and Paloma Wu) $ 200, receipt number 34643039347. (TLC)

May 13, 2016 PACER
8

***ERROR - DISREGARD THIS ENTRY **** MOTION for Joshua A. Block to Appear Pro Hac Vice by ACLU of Mississippi (Diaz, Oliver) Modified on 5/16/2016 (TLC). (Entered: 05/13/2016)

May 13, 2016 PACER
9

***ERROR - DISREGARD THIS ENTRY **** MOTION for Paloma Wu to Appear Pro Hac Vice by ACLU of Mississippi (Diaz, Oliver) Modified on 5/16/2016 (TLC). (Entered: 05/13/2016)

May 13, 2016 PACER

DOCKET ANNOTATION as to # 8 9 : : PDF attached to this entry is illegible/corrupted. Attorney is advised to correct the error by refiling the document. (TLC)

May 16, 2016 PACER
10

MOTION for Joshua A. Block to Appear Pro Hac Vice by ACLU of Mississippi (Diaz, Oliver) (Entered: 05/16/2016)

May 16, 2016 PACER
11

MOTION for Paloma Wu to Appear Pro Hac Vice by ACLU of Mississippi (Diaz, Oliver) (Entered: 05/16/2016)

May 16, 2016 PACER
12

NOTICE of Appearance by Douglas T. Miracle - State Gov on behalf of Judy Moulder (Miracle - State Gov, Douglas) (Entered: 05/24/2016)

May 24, 2016 PACER
13

ANSWER to 1 Complaint, by Judy Moulder.(Miracle - State Gov, Douglas) (Entered: 05/24/2016)

May 24, 2016 PACER
14

Response in Opposition re 2 MOTION for Preliminary Injunction by ACLU of Mississippi, Nykolas Alford, Stephen Thomas. (TLC) filed by Judy Moulder (Miracle - State Gov, Douglas) (Entered: 05/24/2016)

May 24, 2016 PACER
15

MEMORANDUM in Opposition re 2 MOTION for Preliminary Injunction filed by Judy Moulder (Miracle - State Gov, Douglas) (Entered: 05/24/2016)

May 24, 2016 PACER

TEXT-ONLY ORDER granting 10 Motion to Appear Pro Hac Vice; granting 11 Motion to Appear Pro Hac Vice. That Joshua A. Block and Paloma Wu be admitted pro hac vice in this case on behalf of the plaintiffs in association with local counsel and upon registration for electronic filing as required by the Court. No further written order shall issue from the Court. Signed by Magistrate Judge F. Keith Ball on 5/25/2016. (JEJ)

May 25, 2016 PACER
16

NOTICE of Appearance by Joshua Block - PHV on behalf of All Plaintiffs (Block - PHV, Joshua) (Entered: 05/27/2016)

May 27, 2016 PACER
17

REPLY to Response to Motion re 2 MOTION for Preliminary Injunction filed by ACLU of Mississippi, Nykolas Alford, Stephen Thomas (Block - PHV, Joshua) (Entered: 05/31/2016)

May 31, 2016 RECAP
18

MOTION for Leslie Cooper to Appear Pro Hac Vice by ACLU of Mississippi (Diaz, Oliver) (Entered: 06/06/2016)

June 6, 2016 PACER

TEXT-ONLY ORDER granting 18 Motion to Appear Pro Hac Vice. That Leslie Cooper be admitted pro hac vice in this case on behalf of the plaintiffs in association with local counsel and upon registration for electronic filing as required by the Court. No further written order shall issue from the Court. Signed by Magistrate Judge F. Keith Ball on 6/7/2016. (JEJ)

June 7, 2016 PACER

Pro Hac Vice fee paid by (Leslie Cooper) $ 100, receipt number 34643039684. (TLC)

June 7, 2016 PACER
19

ORDER REASSIGNING CASE. Case reassigned to District Judge Carlton W. Reeves and Magistrate Judge Linda R. Anderson for all further proceedings. District Judge Daniel P. Jordan, III, Magistrate Judge F. Keith Ball no longer assigned to case. Signed by Chief District Judge Louis Guirola, Jr on 6/10/16.(TLC) (Entered: 06/10/2016)

June 10, 2016 PACER
20

ORDER denying 2 Motion for Preliminary Injunction. Signed by District Judge Carlton W. Reeves on 6/20/2016. (AC) (Entered: 06/20/2016)

June 20, 2016 RECAP
21

MOTION for Reconsideration re 20 Order on Motion for Preliminary Injunction by ACLU of Mississippi, Nykolas Alford, Stephen Thomas (Block - PHV, Joshua) (Entered: 06/20/2016)

June 20, 2016 PACER
22

MEMORANDUM in Support re 21 MOTION for Reconsideration re 20 Order on Motion for Preliminary Injunction filed by ACLU of Mississippi, Nykolas Alford, Stephen Thomas (Block - PHV, Joshua) (Entered: 06/20/2016)

June 20, 2016 PACER
23

ORDER denying 21 Motion for Reconsideration. Signed by District Judge Carlton W. Reeves on 6/22/2016. (EJ) (Entered: 06/22/2016)

June 22, 2016 RECAP

NOTICE OF SETTING: Telephonic Status Conference set for 7/27/2016 10:00 AM before Magistrate Judge Linda R. Anderson. Oliver Diaz to initiate conference call. Telephone number: 601-608-4440. (WG)

July 8, 2016 PACER

Minute Entry for proceedings held before Magistrate Judge Linda R. Anderson: Telephonic Status Conference held on 7/27/2016. Participants: Oliver Diaz, Jr., Joshua Block, Paloma Wu and Douglas Miracle. Court spoke with counsel. The parties were unable to agree on whether the case should be stayed pending the outcome of the Fifth Circuit appeal. The State will file a formal motion to stay the case on or before 8/8/2016 and plaintiffs will file response thereafter. (WG)

July 27, 2016 PACER
24

MOTION to Stay Case by Judy Moulder (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A- Civil Coversheet, # 2 Exhibit B - Memo dated July 11, 2016, # 3 Exhibit C - Memo dated July 13, 2016)(Miracle - State Gov, Douglas) (Entered: 08/08/2016)

1 Exhibit A- Civil Coversheet

View on PACER

2 Exhibit B - Memo dated July 11, 2016

View on PACER

3 Exhibit C - Memo dated July 13, 2016

View on PACER

Aug. 8, 2016 PACER
25

MEMORANDUM in Support re 24 MOTION to Stay Case filed by Judy Moulder (Miracle - State Gov, Douglas) (Entered: 08/08/2016)

Aug. 8, 2016 PACER
26

***ERROR - DISREGARD THIS ENTRY **** MEMORANDUM in Opposition re 24 MOTION to Stay Case filed by ACLU of Mississippi, Nykolas Alford, Stephen Thomas (Wu - PHV, Paloma) Modified on 8/26/2016 (TLC). (Entered: 08/25/2016)

Aug. 25, 2016 PACER

DOCKET ANNOTATION as to # 26 This document is not signed in compliance with the courts Administrative Procedures for Electronic Case Filing (Sec.3.D.) and Fed.R.Civ.P. Rule 11(a). Attorney is directed to refile the document with an appropriate signature. This document is also not accompanied by a certificate of service. A certificate of service must be attached to a document [Administrative Procedures for Electronic Case Filing, Sec. 4.A.1., Sec. 4.B, and Fed.R.Civ.P. Rule 5(d)(1)]. Attorney is directed to file a certificate as CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE and link it to the proper document. (TLC)

Aug. 26, 2016 PACER
27

CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE by ACLU of Mississippi, Nykolas Alford, Stephen Thomas re 26 Memorandum in Opposition to Motion to Stay Case (Wu - PHV, Paloma) (Entered: 08/26/2016)

Aug. 26, 2016 PACER
28

MEMORANDUM in Opposition re 24 MOTION to Stay Case filed by ACLU of Mississippi, Nykolas Alford, Stephen Thomas (Wu - PHV, Paloma) (Entered: 08/26/2016)

Aug. 26, 2016 PACER
29

RESPONSE in Support re 24 MOTION to Stay Case filed by Judy Moulder (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A Order Denying Stay Pending Appeal, # 2 Exhibit B - Order Denying Stay Pending Appeal, # 3 Exhibit C - Agreed Order)(Miracle - State Gov, Douglas) (Entered: 09/06/2016)

1 Exhibit A Order Denying Stay Pending Appeal

View on PACER

2 Exhibit B - Order Denying Stay Pending Appeal

View on PACER

3 Exhibit C - Agreed Order

View on PACER

Sept. 6, 2016 PACER
30

ORDER granting 24 Motion to Stay Case. Signed by District Judge Carlton W. Reeves on 10/17/2016. (AC) (Entered: 10/17/2016)

Oct. 17, 2016 RECAP

Set/Reset Hearings: Telephonic Status Conference set for 9/20/2017 at 2:00 PM before District Judge Carlton W. Reeves. (AC)

Sept. 13, 2017 PACER
31

NOTICE of Appearance by Joshua F. Tom on behalf of All Plaintiffs (Tom, Joshua) (Entered: 09/15/2017)

Sept. 15, 2017 PACER

Minute Entry for proceedings held before District Judge Carlton W. Reeves: Telephone Status Conference held on 9/20/2017. Participants: Joshua Block, Joshua F. Tom, Paloma Wu and Douglas T. Miracle. (JS)

Sept. 20, 2017 PACER
32

MOTION to Withdraw as Attorney Paloma Wu by ACLU of Mississippi, Nykolas Alford, Stephen Thomas (Wu, Paloma) (Entered: 12/18/2017)

Dec. 18, 2017 PACER

TEXT-ONLY ORDER granting 32 Motion to Withdraw as Attorney. Attorney Paloma Wu terminated for plaintiffs. Signed by Magistrate Judge Linda R. Anderson on 12/19/2017. NO FURTHER WRITTEN ORDER WILL ISSUE. (WG)

Dec. 19, 2017 PACER
33

ORDER re Status of Claims. Signed by District Judge Carlton W. Reeves on 8/22/2018. (AC) (Entered: 08/22/2018)

Aug. 22, 2018 RECAP
34

Unopposed MOTION to Extend Time to Respond to Court Order Deadline by ACLU of Mississippi, Nykolas Alford, Stephen Thomas (Tom, Joshua) (Entered: 08/24/2018)

Aug. 24, 2018 PACER
35

CERTIFICATE of Counsel re 34 Unopposed MOTION to Extend Time to Respond to Court Order Deadline by Joshua F. Tom on behalf of All Plaintiffs (Tom, Joshua) (Entered: 08/24/2018)

Aug. 24, 2018 PACER

TEXT-ONLY ORDER granting 34 Unopposed Motion to Extend Deadline. The new deadline is September 21, 2018. Signed by District Judge Carlton W. Reeves on 8/29/2018. NO FURTHER WRITTEN ORDER SHALL ISSUE ON THIS MOTION. (AC)

Aug. 29, 2018 PACER
36

Joint MOTION to Dismiss Without Prejudice by ACLU of Mississippi, Nykolas Alford, Stephen Thomas (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Joint Stipulation of Dismissal Without Prejudice)(Tom, Joshua) (Entered: 09/21/2018)

1 Exhibit Joint Stipulation of Dismissal Without Prejudice

View on PACER

Sept. 21, 2018 PACER
37

STIPULATION of Dismissal Without Prejudice by ACLU of Mississippi, Nykolas Alford, Stephen Thomas (Tom, Joshua) (Entered: 09/26/2018)

Sept. 26, 2018 PACER

State / Territory: Mississippi

Case Type(s):

Public Benefits/Government Services

Special Collection(s):

Same-Sex Marriage

Key Dates

Filing Date: May 9, 2016

Closing Date: 2018

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

A same-sex couple and the ACLU of Mississippi.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Non-profit NON-religious organization

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

State of Mississippi , State

Defendant Type(s):

Jurisdiction-wide

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Equal Protection

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Defendant

Nature of Relief:

None

Source of Relief:

None

Content of Injunction:

Preliminary relief denied

Issues

General:

Access to public accommodations - governmental

Access to public accommodations - privately owned

Disparate Impact

Disparate Treatment

Gay/lesbian/transgender

Government Services

Marriage

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

Discrimination-basis:

Sexual orientatation