Filed Date: March 1, 2017
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This is a case about Jacksonville, Florida, its residents, and its businesses against the city's 2017 ordinance that added sexual orientation and gender identity as protected categories under Florida's Human Rights Ordinance ("HRO"). On March 1, 2017, a private Jacksonville citizen filed this lawsuit against Jacksonville in the Florida Fourth Circuit Court for Duval County. The plaintiff sued Jacksonville under Florida law claiming that the city deprived their right to adequate notice and that they had suffered or would suffer injuries to their rights of privacy, religious conscience, and business interests under the HRO. Represented by the nonprofit organization Liberty Counsel, the plaintiff sought declaratory judgment and a permanent injunction invalidating HRO. The plaintiff claimed that Jacksonville had failed to notify the plaintiff of the proposed adoption of the HRO, and the HRO was therefore void.
On March 22, 2017, the city filed a motion to dismiss for lack of standing. The next day, on March 23, the plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment.
A couple weeks later, on April 4, 2017, the city filed a motion for disqualification of the trial court judge, Judge Adrian Soud. Citing Florida's judicial rules, the city argued that it had a "reasonable fear that it [would] not receive a fair and impartial hearing or trial" because of a close relationship between Judge Soud's mother and plaintiff's counsel. On April 24, 2017, the court denied the motion, which it deemed both untimely and "legally insufficient." 2017 Fla. Cir. LEXIS 12619. However, to avoid the appearance of impropriety, Judge Soud voluntarily recused himself in an order on the same day. The case was then assigned to Judge Michael Weatherby.
On May 22, 2017, the city filed an amended motion to dismiss without prejudice, and the court granted it on July 7, 2017. In its opinion, the court held that the plaintiff failed to plead facts that showed a "bona fide, actual, present, adverse interest between the parties." 2017 Fla. Cir. LEXIS 12580.
Following the motion to dismiss, the plaintiff filed an amended complaint on August 8, 2017. The amended complaint added four plaintiffs and dropped the request for injunctive relief. The city filed a motion to dismiss with prejudice on August 18, 2017. The court granted the motion on December 20, 2017. Even with the newly added plaintiffs and their alleged facts, the court found no basis for which a declaratory judgment could be needed. 2017 WL 11542438, 2017 Fla. Cir. LEXIS 12587.
The plaintiffs appealed to the Florida First District Court of Appeals (No. 1D18-284) on January 18, 2018.
On May 1, 2020, the appellate court reversed and remanded the trial court's decision, holding that the plaintiffs did have standing. The appellate court held that challenges to ordinances under Florida law did not require a specific injury-in-fact. In addition, the court also held that the City's recodification of the ordinance didn't moot the plaintiffs' claims, nor did it cure the failure to notify the plaintiffs of the new law. 295 So. 3d 892.
As of September 24, 2022, this case is pending trial.
Calvin Kim (9/24/2022)
Soud, Adrian G. (Florida)
Gannam, Roger K. (Florida)
Teal, Jason R. (Florida)
Last updated Aug. 30, 2023, 2:14 p.m.Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.
State / Territory: Florida
Filing Date: March 1, 2017
Case Ongoing: Yes
Private citizens of Jacksonville, Florida
Public Interest Lawyer: Yes
Filed Pro Se: No
Class Action Sought: No
Class Action Outcome: Not sought
Causes of Action:
Prevailing Party: None Yet / None
Nature of Relief:
Source of Relief: