Case: Speech First v. Schlissel

4:18-cv-11451 | U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan

Filed Date: May 8, 2018

Closed Date: 2019

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On May 8, 2018, Speech First, a nationwide membership organization of students, alumni, and others concerned with preserving the protections of the First Amendment, filed this lawsuit, on behalf of members attending the University of Michigan, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. The plaintiff sued the University of Michigan under 42 U.S.C.§ 1983 and 1988. Represented by private counsel, Speech First sought declaratory and injunctive relief as well as attorneys’ fees…

On May 8, 2018, Speech First, a nationwide membership organization of students, alumni, and others concerned with preserving the protections of the First Amendment, filed this lawsuit, on behalf of members attending the University of Michigan, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. The plaintiff sued the University of Michigan under 42 U.S.C.§ 1983 and 1988. Represented by private counsel, Speech First sought declaratory and injunctive relief as well as attorneys’ fees, claiming violations of the First Amendment and the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause. The plaintiff alleged that the University of Michigan’s policies and enforcement of those policies chilled the speech and expression of student claimants. Specifically, the plaintiff alleged that University’s policies on “harassment” and “bullying” were unconstitutionally overbroad and void for vagueness. Furthermore, the plaintiff alleged that the policies provided no notice to students on what would constitute “harassment” or “bullying,” and enforcement of the policies were implemented arbitrarily. 2018 WL 2123702. This case was assigned to Judge Elizabeth Stafford.

On May 11, 2018, Speech First moved for preliminary injunctions against the defendant. The plaintiff sought to prohibit the defendant from: “(1) taking any actions to investigate, threaten, or punish students for violations of the prohibitions on “harassment,” “bullying,” and “bias-related misconduct” set forth in the University’s Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities; and (2) using the Bias Response Team to investigate, threaten, or punish students (including informal punishments such as restorative justice or individual education) for bias incidents. On June 11, 2018, the United States filed a statement of interest in support of the plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction.

In response, the defendant moved for a stay on its obligation to respond to the plaintiff’s complaint. The defendant argued that the University’s answer should be stayed until the court made a decision on the plaintiff’s preliminary injunction. Although the court noted that the defendant’s request served the interest of efficiency, it did not stay the defendant's answer. Instead, on June 19, 2018, the court extended the deadline until twenty-one (21) days from the date the court ruled on the plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction.

The court held a hearing on Speech First's motion for preliminary injunction on July 31, 2018. On August 6, the court denied the plaintiff's motion, holding that the Bias Response Team did not pose a concrete threat to the plaintiffs; that Speech First's constitutional challenge to the University's definitions of "bullying" and "harassment" had become moot after the University changed the definitions; and that there was no threat of irreparable harm to the plaintiffs. The district determined that Speech First was not likely to succeed on the merits of its claims because it lacked standing to assert that claim.

The plaintiff appealed to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals on August 13, 2018. The Appeals Court found that Speech First had associational standing to bring a lawsuit on behalf of the students of the University. The Appeals Court also found that the claims were not moot, as the University’s voluntary cessation would not preclude them from reverting back to the prior definitions of "bullying" and "harassment." The Court vacated and remanded the District’s Court decision, determining that the District Court was in a better position to assess the facts. 939 F.3d 756 (6th Cir. 2019).

The parties agreed to settle the dispute, and each bore their own costs. The University agreed not to reinstate the Bias Response team or the prior definitions of bullying and harassment and to maintain the published definitions on the website as they were at the time of settlement. On October 28, 2019, the plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the case. Judge Linda Parker order the dismissal with prejudice. The case is now closed.

Summary Authors

Sean Whetstone (7/16/2018)

Justin Hill (11/15/2019)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attrorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/6489180/parties/speech-first-inc-v-schlissel/


Judge(s)

McKeague, David William (Michigan)

Parker, Linda Vivienne (Michigan)

Stafford, Elizabeth A. (Michigan)

White, Helene N. (Michigan)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Giacomo, John A. Di (Michigan)

Harris, Jeffrey M. (Virginia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Baine, Kevin T. (District of Columbia)

Dawson, Rian Cierra (Michigan)

Fuzesi, Stephen J. (District of Columbia)

Hoover, Kathryn (District of Columbia)

Judge(s)

McKeague, David William (Michigan)

Parker, Linda Vivienne (Michigan)

Stafford, Elizabeth A. (Michigan)

White, Helene N. (Michigan)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Giacomo, John A. Di (Michigan)

Harris, Jeffrey M. (Virginia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Baine, Kevin T. (District of Columbia)

Dawson, Rian Cierra (Michigan)

Fuzesi, Stephen J. (District of Columbia)

Hoover, Kathryn (District of Columbia)

Huget, J. Michael (Michigan)

McKinlay, Amy B. (District of Columbia)

Niehoff, Leonard M. (Michigan)

Wenner, Adam Michael (Michigan)

Other Attorney(s)

Caplan, Peter A. (Michigan)

Chandler, Thomas E. (District of Columbia)

Gore, John M. (District of Columbia)

Helfman, Tara (District of Columbia)

Livingston, Donald R. (District of Columbia)

Schneider, Matthew (New York)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

4:18-cv-11451

Docket [PACER]

Speech First, Inc. v. Schlissel

Oct. 29, 2019

Oct. 29, 2019

Docket
1

4:18-cv-11451

Complaint

2018 WL 2123702

May 8, 2018

May 8, 2018

Complaint
14

4:18-cv-11451

United States' Statement of Interest in Support of Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction

Speech First, Inc. v. Schlissel

June 11, 2018

June 11, 2018

Pleading / Motion / Brief
20

4:18-cv-11451

Order Granting Defendants' Unopposed Motion to Stay Obligation to Answer or Otherwise Respond to Complaint

Speech First, Inc. v. Schlissel

June 19, 2018

June 19, 2018

Order/Opinion
25

4:18-cv-11451

Opinion and Order Denying Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction

Speech First, Inc. v. Schlissel

333 F.Supp.3d 700, 2018 WL 3722809

Aug. 6, 2018

Aug. 6, 2018

Order/Opinion
31

4:18-cv-11451

18-01917

Opinion

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

939 F.3d 756

Sept. 23, 2019

Sept. 23, 2019

Order/Opinion
35-1

4:18-cv-11451

Agreement

Oct. 28, 2019

Oct. 28, 2019

Settlement Agreement

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/6489180/speech-first-inc-v-schlissel/

Last updated Aug. 29, 2022, 3:04 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
1

COMPLAINT filed by Speech First, Inc. against MICHAEL J. BEHM, MARK J. BERNSTEIN, JULIO CARDONA, SHAUNA RYDER DIGGS, E. ROYSTER HARPER, DENISE ILITCH, ANDREA FISCHER NEWMAN, ANDREW C. RICHNER, MARK SCHLISSEL, ROBERT SELLERS, EDDIE L. WASHINGTON, JR., RON WEISER, ERIK WESSEL, KATHERINE E. WHITE. Plaintiff requests summons issued. Receipt No: 0645-6723254 - Fee: $ 400. County of 1st Plaintiff: Out of State - County Where Action Arose: Washtenaw - County of 1st Defendant: Washtenaw. [Previously dismissed case: No] [Possible companion case(s): None] (Attachments: # 1 Civil Cover Sheet) (Di Giacomo, John) (Entered: 05/08/2018)

1 Civil Cover Sheet

View on PACER

May 8, 2018

May 8, 2018

RECAP

Notice to Parties of Consent of a Civil Action before a Magistrate Judge Option

May 8, 2018

May 8, 2018

PACER
2

STATEMENT of DISCLOSURE of CORPORATE AFFILIATIONS and FINANCIAL INTEREST by All Plaintiffs (Di Giacomo, John) (Entered: 05/08/2018)

May 8, 2018

May 8, 2018

RECAP
3

SUMMONS Issued for *MICHAEL J. BEHM, MARK J. BERNSTEIN, JULIO CARDONA, SHAUNA RYDER DIGGS, E. ROYSTER HARPER, DENISE ILITCH, ANDREA FISCHER NEWMAN, ANDREW C. RICHNER, MARK SCHLISSEL, ROBERT SELLERS, EDDIE L. WASHINGTON, JR., RON WEISER, ERIK WESSEL, KATHERINE E. WHITE* (SKra) (Entered: 05/08/2018)

May 8, 2018

May 8, 2018

PACER

A United States Magistrate Judge of this Court is available to conduct all proceedings in this civil action in accordance with 28 U.S.C. 636c and FRCP 73. The Notice, Consent, and Reference of a Civil Action to a Magistrate Judge form is available for download at http://www.mied.uscourts.gov (SKra)

May 8, 2018

May 8, 2018

PACER
4

MOTION for Preliminary Injunction by Speech First, Inc.. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Declaration of Nicole Neily, # 2 Exhibit Declaration of Jeffrey Harris) (Di Giacomo, John) (Entered: 05/11/2018)

1 Exhibit Declaration of Nicole Neily

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2 Exhibit Declaration of Jeffrey Harris

View on PACER

May 11, 2018

May 11, 2018

RECAP
5

NOTICE of Appearance by J. Michael Huget on behalf of All Defendants. (Huget, J.) (Entered: 05/15/2018)

May 15, 2018

May 15, 2018

PACER
6

NOTICE of Appearance by Leonard M. Niehoff on behalf of All Defendants. (Niehoff, Leonard) (Entered: 05/15/2018)

May 15, 2018

May 15, 2018

PACER
7

NOTICE of Appearance by Rian Cierra Dawson on behalf of All Defendants. (Dawson, Rian) (Entered: 05/15/2018)

May 15, 2018

May 15, 2018

PACER
8

NOTICE of Appearance by Adam Michael Wenner on behalf of All Defendants. (Wenner, Adam) (Entered: 05/15/2018)

May 15, 2018

May 15, 2018

PACER
9

MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply as to 4 MOTION for Preliminary Injunction by All Defendants. (Dawson, Rian) (Entered: 05/16/2018)

May 16, 2018

May 16, 2018

RECAP
10

NOTICE of Appearance by Kevin T. Baine on behalf of All Defendants. (Baine, Kevin) (Entered: 05/17/2018)

May 17, 2018

May 17, 2018

RECAP
11

RESPONSE to 9 MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply as to 4 MOTION for Preliminary Injunction filed by Speech First, Inc.. (Di Giacomo, John) (Entered: 05/17/2018)

May 17, 2018

May 17, 2018

RECAP
12

REPLY to Response re 9 MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply as to 4 MOTION for Preliminary Injunction filed by All Defendants. (Dawson, Rian) (Entered: 05/17/2018)

May 17, 2018

May 17, 2018

RECAP

TEXT-ONLY ORDER Granting In Part and Denying In Part the 9 Motion for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply. The Response to the 4 MOTION for Preliminary Injunction is due by 6/15/2018, The Reply is due by 6/29/2018. IT IS SO ORDERED. Issued by District Judge Linda V. Parker. (RLou)

May 18, 2018

May 18, 2018

PACER

Order on Motion for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply

May 18, 2018

May 18, 2018

PACER
13

WAIVER OF SERVICE Returned Executed. All Defendants. (Di Giacomo, John) (Entered: 05/31/2018)

May 31, 2018

May 31, 2018

PACER
14

STATEMENT of Interest In Support of Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction by United States (Caplan, Peter) (Entered: 06/11/2018)

June 11, 2018

June 11, 2018

RECAP
15

NOTICE of Appearance by Stephen J. Fuzesi on behalf of All Defendants. (Fuzesi, Stephen) (Entered: 06/14/2018)

June 14, 2018

June 14, 2018

PACER
16

NOTICE of Appearance by Kathryn Hoover on behalf of All Defendants. (Hoover, Kathryn) (Entered: 06/15/2018)

June 15, 2018

June 15, 2018

PACER
17

NOTICE of Appearance by Amy B. McKinlay on behalf of All Defendants. (McKinlay, Amy) (Entered: 06/15/2018)

June 15, 2018

June 15, 2018

PACER
18

RESPONSE to 4 MOTION for Preliminary Injunction filed by All Defendants. (Attachments: # 1 Index of Exhibits, # 2 Exhibit A - Declaration of Kevin Baine and Exhibits, # 3 Exhibit B - Declaration of Evelyn Galvan, # 4 Exhibit C - Declaration of E. Royster Harper and Exhibits, # 5 Exhibit D.1 - Declaration of Laura Blake Jones and Exhibits 1-27, # 6 Exhibit D.2 - Declaration of Laura Blake Jones Exhibits 28-51, # 7 Exhibit D.3 - Declaration of Laura Blake Jones Exhibits 52-88, # 8 Exhibit E - Declaration of Erik Wessel and Exhibit) (McKinlay, Amy) (Entered: 06/15/2018)

1 Index of Exhibits

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2 Exhibit A - Declaration of Kevin Baine and Exhibits

View on RECAP

3 Exhibit B - Declaration of Evelyn Galvan

View on RECAP

4 Exhibit C - Declaration of E. Royster Harper and Exhibits

View on RECAP

5 Exhibit D.1 - Declaration of Laura Blake Jones and Exhibits 1-27

View on RECAP

6 Exhibit D.2 - Declaration of Laura Blake Jones Exhibits 28-51

View on RECAP

7 Exhibit D.3 - Declaration of Laura Blake Jones Exhibits 52-88

View on RECAP

8 Exhibit E - Declaration of Erik Wessel and Exhibit

View on RECAP

June 15, 2018

June 15, 2018

RECAP
19

MOTION to Stay re 1 Complaint,,, Unopposed Motion to Stay Obligation to Answer or Otherwise Respond to Complaint by All Defendants. (McKinlay, Amy) (Entered: 06/18/2018)

June 18, 2018

June 18, 2018

RECAP
20

ORDER Granting Defendants' Unopposed 19 Motion to Stay Obligation to Answer or Otherwise Respond to Complaint. (The Deadline for Filing a Responsive Pleading to the Complaint is Extended Until Twenty-One (21) Days From the Date That the Court Rules on the Motion For Preliminary Injunction). Signed by District Judge Linda V. Parker. (RLou) (Entered: 06/19/2018)

June 19, 2018

June 19, 2018

RECAP
21

REPLY to Response re 4 MOTION for Preliminary Injunction filed by Speech First, Inc.. (Di Giacomo, John) (Entered: 06/29/2018)

June 29, 2018

June 29, 2018

RECAP
22

NOTICE of Appearance by Jeffrey M. Harris on behalf of All Plaintiffs. (Harris, Jeffrey) (Entered: 06/29/2018)

June 29, 2018

June 29, 2018

RECAP
23

NOTICE OF HEARING on 4 MOTION for Preliminary Injunction. Motion Hearing set for 7/31/2018 at 2:30 PM before District Judge Linda V. Parker (RLou) (Entered: 07/05/2018)

July 5, 2018

July 5, 2018

PACER
24

NOTICE OF HEARING on 4 MOTION for Preliminary Injunction. Motion Hearing RESET for 7/31/2018 at 2:30 PM before District Judge Linda V. Parker ***IN DETROIT - COURTROOM 602*** (RLou) (Entered: 07/13/2018)

July 13, 2018

July 13, 2018

PACER

Minute Entry for proceedings before District Judge Linda V. Parker: Motion Hearing held on 7/31/2018 re 4 MOTION for Preliminary Injunction. Disposition: Motion Taken Under Advisement (Court Reporter: Peg Goodrich) (RLou)

July 31, 2018

July 31, 2018

PACER
25

OPINION and ORDER Denying Plaintiff's 4 Motion for Preliminary Injunction. Signed by District Judge Linda V. Parker. (RLou) (Entered: 08/06/2018)

Aug. 6, 2018

Aug. 6, 2018

RECAP
26

NOTICE OF APPEAL by All Plaintiffs re 25 Order on Motion for Preliminary Injunction. Receipt No: 0645-6856933 - Fee: $ 505 - Fee Status: Fee Paid. (Di Giacomo, John) (Entered: 08/13/2018)

Aug. 13, 2018

Aug. 13, 2018

RECAP
27

Certificate of Service re 26 Notice of Appeal. (DWor) (Entered: 08/13/2018)

Aug. 13, 2018

Aug. 13, 2018

RECAP
28

MOTION for Extension of Time to File Answer re 1 Complaint,,, by All Defendants. (Hoover, Kathryn) (Entered: 08/20/2018)

Aug. 20, 2018

Aug. 20, 2018

PACER

TEXT-ONLY ORDER Granting the 28 MOTION for Extension of Time to File Answer re 1 Complaint. The Deadline for Filing a Responsive Pleading to the Complaint is Extended Until Twenty-One (21) Days After Plaintiff's Appeal is Decided by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. IT IS SO ORDERED. Issued by District Judge Linda V. Parker. (RLou)

Aug. 21, 2018

Aug. 21, 2018

PACER
29

TRANSCRIPT of MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION held on July 31, 2018. (Court Reporter: Peg L. Goodrich) (Number of Pages: 48) (Appeal Purposes) The parties have 21 days to file with the court and Court Reporter a Redaction Request of this transcript. If no request is filed, the transcript may be made remotely electronically available to the public without redaction after 90 days. Redaction Request due 10/23/2018. Redacted Transcript Deadline set for 11/2/2018. Release of Transcript Restriction set for 12/31/2018. Transcript may be viewed at the court public terminal or purchased through the Court Reporter before the deadline for Release of Transcript Restriction. After that date, the transcript is publicly available. (Goodrich, P) (Entered: 10/02/2018)

Oct. 2, 2018

Oct. 2, 2018

PACER
30

ORDER from U.S. Court of Appeals - Sixth Circuit re 26 Notice of Appeal filed by Speech First, Inc. [Appeal Case Number 18-1917] (DWor) (Entered: 03/06/2019)

March 4, 2019

March 4, 2019

RECAP
31

OPINION AND JUDGMENT from U.S. Court of Appeals - Sixth Circuit re 26 Notice of Appeal filed by Speech First, Inc. [Appeal Case Number 18-1917] (SKra) (Entered: 09/23/2019)

Sept. 23, 2019

Sept. 23, 2019

RECAP
32

MOTION for Extension of Time to File Answer re 1 Complaint,,, by All Defendants. (Baine, Kevin) (Entered: 10/13/2019)

Oct. 13, 2019

Oct. 13, 2019

RECAP
33

MANDATE from U.S. Court of Appeals - Sixth Circuit as to 31 Appeal Order/Opinion/Judgment [Appeal Case Number 18-1917] (SKra) (Entered: 10/15/2019)

Oct. 15, 2019

Oct. 15, 2019

RECAP
34

NOTICE TO APPEAR BY TELEPHONE: Status Conference set for 10/17/2019 at 10:30 AM before District Judge Linda V. Parker (RLou) (Entered: 10/15/2019)

Oct. 15, 2019

Oct. 15, 2019

RECAP

Reset Conference: TELEPHONIC Status Conference RESET for 10/31/2019 at 11:30 AM before District Judge Linda V. Parker (RLou)

Oct. 16, 2019

Oct. 16, 2019

PACER
35

NOTICE of Voluntary Dismissal by Speech First, Inc. (Attachments: # 1 Settlement Agreement) (Harris, Jeffrey) (Entered: 10/28/2019)

1 Settlement Agreement

View on RECAP

Oct. 28, 2019

Oct. 28, 2019

PACER

Text-Only Notice of Hearing Cancelled

Oct. 29, 2019

Oct. 29, 2019

PACER

TEXT-ONLY NOTICE: Telephonic Status Conference on 10/31/2019 is Cancelled (RLou)

Oct. 29, 2019

Oct. 29, 2019

PACER
36

ORDER of DISMISSAL. Signed by District Judge Linda V. Parker. (RLou) (Entered: 10/29/2019)

Oct. 29, 2019

Oct. 29, 2019

RECAP

Case Details

State / Territory: Michigan

Case Type(s):

Speech and Religious Freedom

Special Collection(s):

Multi-LexSum (in sample)

Key Dates

Filing Date: May 8, 2018

Closing Date: 2019

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Speech First, a nonprofit nationwide membership organization of students, alumni, and others concerned with preserving the protections of the First Amendment, filed this lawsuit, on behalf of members attending the University of Michigan.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Non-profit NON-religious organization

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

University of Michigan, State

Defendant Type(s):

College/University

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Freedom of speech/association

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Mixed

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Private Settlement Agreement

Voluntary Dismissal

Content of Injunction:

Preliminary relief denied

Issues

General:

Education

School/University policies

Discrimination-area:

Discipline

Type of Facility:

Government-run