Case: Johnson v. Jessup

1:18-cv-00467 | U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina

Filed Date: May 30, 2018

Case Ongoing

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On May 30, 2018, two low-income citizens facing permanent license revocation filed this class action in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina. The case was assigned to Chief Judge Thomas D. Schroeder. The plaintiffs sued the commissioner of the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) under §1983 for alleged violations of Fourteenth Amendment Due Process. The plaintiff class was represented by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the ACLU of North Carolina. The…

On May 30, 2018, two low-income citizens facing permanent license revocation filed this class action in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina. The case was assigned to Chief Judge Thomas D. Schroeder. The plaintiffs sued the commissioner of the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) under §1983 for alleged violations of Fourteenth Amendment Due Process. The plaintiff class was represented by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the ACLU of North Carolina.

The parties sought class action status for a statewide class of those whose driver’s licenses had been indefinitely revoked for failure to pay traffic tickets. The state's statute required automatic license revocation 40 days after a court judgment and nonpayment of the traffic ticket. This affected hundreds of thousands of North Carolina residents. The class claimed the DMV’s enforcement of the statute failed to assess the plaintiffs’ abilities to pay or whether their non-payment was willful, because the DMV revoked licenses before conducting pre-deprivation hearings. The plaintiff class sought declaratory relief stating that the North Carolina statute and the DMV’s enforcement was unconstitutional. They also sought to enjoin the DMV from revoking future licenses with a preliminary and permanent injunction, and to mandate the DMV to lift prior revocations. The plaintiffs requested to certify two classes of individuals: first, those in danger of having their licenses indefinitely revoked in the near future, and second, those who already had their licenses indefinitely revoked.

On August 7, 2018, the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint that added two plaintiffs to the suit and a second motion for preliminary injunction. On August 21, 2018 the defendant filed an answer to the amended complaint and a motion for judgment on the pleadings.

On March 31, 2019, Judge Schroeder filed an opinion and order on the defendant's motion for judgment on the pleadings and class certification. 381 F.Supp.3d 619. He granted judgment in favor of the defendants on the substantive due process and equal protection claims, saying that because the right to possess a drivers license does not impede a constitutionally enshrined right, like access to counsel or the courts, it is not subject to fundamental fairness review. He added that this policy easily passes rational basis review, since it is meant to compel compliance with traffic laws. However, he noted that the defendants did not ask for judgment on the plaintiff's due process claims, so those claims continued. He certified both classes.

The plaintiffs appealed Judge Schroeder's decision to enter judgment in favor of the defendants on the substantive due process and equal protection claims on April 17, 2019, Fourth Circuit docket 19-1421. One week later, Judge Schroeder granted a motion to stay proceedings until the appeals court makes a decision on the case.

The appeal has been fully briefed, and oral argument was initially set for March 17, 2020, but it was rescheduled in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. As of June 2020, a new oral argument date has not yet been set. The case is ongoing.

Summary Authors

Hannah Basalone (10/10/2018)

Ellen Aldin (6/5/2020)

Related Cases

White v. Shwedo, District of South Carolina (2019)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/6959820/parties/johnson-v-goodwin/


Judge(s)

Auld, Patrick (North Carolina)

Schroeder, Thomas D. (North Carolina)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Becker, Cristina M. (North Carolina)

Brook, Christopher (North Carolina)

Brooke, Samuel (Alabama)

Choudhury, Nusrat Jahan (New York)

Como, Irena (North Carolina)

Danjuma, R. Orion (California)

Davis, Danielle E. (Alabama)

Early, Emily C.R. (Alabama)

Judge(s)

Auld, Patrick (North Carolina)

Schroeder, Thomas D. (North Carolina)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Becker, Cristina M. (North Carolina)

Brook, Christopher (North Carolina)

Brooke, Samuel (Alabama)

Choudhury, Nusrat Jahan (New York)

Como, Irena (North Carolina)

Danjuma, R. Orion (California)

Davis, Danielle E. (Alabama)

Early, Emily C.R. (Alabama)

Graunke, Kristi L. (Georgia)

Johnson, Ivy A (North Carolina)

Loperfido, Jeffrey (North Carolina)

Seawell, Emily Elizabeth (North Carolina)

Shah, Sneha M. (North Carolina)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Brennan, Stephanie A. (North Carolina)

Dalton, Neil C. (North Carolina)

Hathcock, Kathryne E. (North Carolina)

Matthews, Ann W. (North Carolina)

Peters, Alexander Mcclure (North Carolina)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket

March 27, 2020 Docket
1

Complaint

May 30, 2018 Complaint
38

Plaintiffs' Second Motion for Preliminary Injunction

Aug. 7, 2018 Pleading / Motion / Brief
36

Plaintiffs' Second Motion for Class Certification

Aug. 7, 2018 Pleading / Motion / Brief
35

First Amended Class Action Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief

Aug. 7, 2018 Pleading / Motion / Brief
65

Memorandum Opinion and Order

381 F.Supp.3d 619

March 31, 2019 Order/Opinion

Resources

Title Description External URL

Johnson v. Jessup

American Civil Liberties Union

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), ACLU of North Carolina, Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), and Southern Coalition for Social Justice are suing the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicle… May 30, 2018 https://www.aclu.org/...

Parole News Blog links to Clearinghouse

Parole News

Link to Clearinghouse: "Profile of the Graziano v. Pataki federal case, produced by the Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse" Aug. 7, 2016 http://parolenews.blogspot.com/...

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/6959820/johnson-v-goodwin/

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

ECF Number Description Date Link
1

COMPLAINT for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief (Class Action) against Torre Jessup ( Filing fee $ 400 receipt number 0418-2358880.), filed by Seti Johnson, Sharee Smoot. (Attachments: # 1 Civil Cover Sheet, # 2 Proposed Summons)(GRAUNKE, KRISTI) (Entered: 05/30/2018)

May 30, 2018 PACER
2

MOTION for Preliminary Injunction by Seti Johnson, Sharee Smoot. Response to Motion due by 6/20/2018 (Attachments: # 1 Memorandum in Support)(GRAUNKE, KRISTI) (Entered: 05/30/2018)

May 30, 2018 PACER
3

MOTION to Certify Class by Seti Johnson, Sharee Smoot. Response to Motion due by 6/20/2018 (Attachments: # 1 Memorandum in Support)(GRAUNKE, KRISTI) (Entered: 05/30/2018)

May 30, 2018 PACER
4

DECLARATION of Seti Johnson by Plaintiff Seti Johnson. (GRAUNKE, KRISTI) (Entered: 05/30/2018)

May 30, 2018 PACER
5

DECLARATION of Sharee Smoot by Plaintiff Sharee Smoot. (Attachments: # 1 Attachment A, # 2 Attachment B)(GRAUNKE, KRISTI) (Entered: 05/30/2018)

May 30, 2018 PACER
6

DECLARATION of Samuel Brooke re 3 MOTION to Certify Class, 2 MOTION for Preliminary Injunction by Plaintiffs Seti Johnson, Sharee Smoot. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A, # 2 Exhibit B, # 3 Exhibit C, # 4 Exhibit D, # 5 Exhibit E, # 6 Exhibit F, # 7 Exhibit G, # 8 Exhibit H, # 9 Exhibit I)(GRAUNKE, KRISTI) (Entered: 05/30/2018)

May 30, 2018 PACER

CASE REFERRED to Mediation pursuant to Local Rule 83.9b of the Rules of Practice and Procedure of this Court. Please go to our website under Attorney Information for a list of mediators which must be served on all parties. (Coyne, Michelle)

May 30, 2018 PACER
7

MEMORANDUM filed by Plaintiffs SETI JOHNSON, SHAREE SMOOT re 2 MOTION for Preliminary Injunction (refiled as separate docket event per instruction by Clerk) filed by SETI JOHNSON, SHAREE SMOOT. (GRAUNKE, KRISTI) (Entered: 05/30/2018)

May 30, 2018 PACER
8

MEMORANDUM filed by Plaintiffs SETI JOHNSON, SHAREE SMOOT re 3 MOTION to Certify Class (refiled as separate docket event per instruction by Clerk) filed by SETI JOHNSON, SHAREE SMOOT. (GRAUNKE, KRISTI) (Entered: 05/30/2018)

May 30, 2018 PACER
9

NOTICE of Appearance by attorney CHRISTOPHER A. BROOK on behalf of Plaintiffs SETI JOHNSON, SHAREE SMOOT (BROOK, CHRISTOPHER) (Entered: 05/30/2018)

May 30, 2018 PACER
10

NOTICE of Appearance by attorney CRISTINA M. BECKER on behalf of Plaintiffs SETI JOHNSON, SHAREE SMOOT (BECKER, CRISTINA) (Entered: 05/30/2018)

May 30, 2018 PACER
11

NOTICE of Appearance by attorney SNEHA M. SHAH on behalf of Plaintiffs SETI JOHNSON, SHAREE SMOOT (SHAH, SNEHA) (Entered: 05/30/2018)

May 30, 2018 PACER
12

NOTICE of Appearance by attorney SAMUEL J. BROOKE on behalf of Plaintiffs SETI JOHNSON, SHAREE SMOOT (BROOKE, SAMUEL) (Entered: 05/31/2018)

May 31, 2018 PACER
13

NOTICE of Appearance by attorney EMILY C.R. EARLY on behalf of Plaintiffs SETI JOHNSON, SHAREE SMOOT (EARLY, EMILY) (Entered: 05/31/2018)

May 31, 2018 PACER

Case ASSIGNED to CHIEF JUDGE THOMAS D. SCHROEDER and MAGISTRATE JUDGE L. PATRICK AULD. Set flag for Magistrate Judge L. Patrick Auld. (Coyne, Michelle)

May 31, 2018 PACER
14

Summons Issued as to TORRE JESSUP. (Coyne, Michelle) (Entered: 05/31/2018)

May 31, 2018 PACER
15

Notice of Right to Consent. Counsel shall serve the attached form on all parties. (Attachments: # 1 consent form)(Coyne, Michelle) (Entered: 05/31/2018)

May 31, 2018 PACER
16

NOTICE of Appearance by attorney NUSRAT J. CHOUDHURY on behalf of Plaintiffs SETI JOHNSON, SHAREE SMOOT (CHOUDHURY, NUSRAT) (Entered: 05/31/2018)

May 31, 2018 PACER
17

NOTICE of Appearance by attorney RODKANGYIL O. DANJUMA on behalf of Plaintiffs SETI JOHNSON, SHAREE SMOOT (DANJUMA, RODKANGYIL) (Entered: 05/31/2018)

May 31, 2018 PACER
18

Declaration of Proof of Service served on TORRE JESSUP, in his official capacity, on 06/01/2018, filed by SETI JOHNSON, SHAREE SMOOT. . (BECKER, CRISTINA) (Entered: 06/01/2018)

June 1, 2018 PACER
19

Notice of Appearance

June 4, 2018 PACER
20

Notice of Appearance

June 5, 2018 PACER
21

Hearing

June 5, 2018 PACER
22

Notice of Appearance

June 6, 2018 PACER
23

Extension of Time to File Answer

June 15, 2018 PACER
24

Extension of Time to File Response/Reply

June 15, 2018 PACER
25

Extension of Time to File Response/Reply

June 15, 2018 PACER
26

Response to Motion

June 18, 2018 PACER
27

Notice of Appearance

June 21, 2018 PACER
28

Suggestion of Subsequently Decided Authority

July 24, 2018 PACER
29

Notice of Appearance

July 27, 2018 PACER
30

Withdrawal of Motion

July 30, 2018 PACER
31

Withdrawal of Motion

July 30, 2018 PACER
32

Notice - Other

July 30, 2018 PACER
33

Extension of Time to File Answer

July 30, 2018 PACER
34

Order on Motion for Extension of Time to Answer

July 31, 2018 PACER
35

Amended Complaint

Aug. 7, 2018 PACER
36

Certify Class

Aug. 7, 2018 PACER
37

Memorandum

Aug. 8, 2018 PACER
38

Preliminary Injunction

Aug. 8, 2018 PACER
39

Memorandum

Aug. 8, 2018 PACER
40

Declaration

Aug. 8, 2018 PACER
41

Declaration

Aug. 8, 2018 PACER
42

Notice of Appearance

Aug. 10, 2018 PACER
43

Answer to Amended Complaint

Aug. 22, 2018 PACER
44

Notice of Initial Pretrial Conference Hearing

Aug. 23, 2018 RECAP
45

Response in Opposition to Motion

Aug. 28, 2018 PACER
46

Judgment on the Pleadings

Aug. 28, 2018 PACER
47

Memorandum

Aug. 28, 2018 PACER
48

Response in Opposition to Motion

Aug. 28, 2018 PACER
49

Reply to Response to Motion

Sept. 11, 2018 PACER
50

Reply to Response to Motion

Sept. 11, 2018 PACER
51

Response in Opposition to Motion

Sept. 18, 2018 PACER
52

Rule 26f Report - Joint

Sept. 19, 2018 PACER
53

Rule 26f Report - Joint

Dec. 12, 2018 PACER

Motions Referred

Dec. 13, 2018 PACER

Rule 26f - Joint

Dec. 13, 2018 PACER

Set/Reset Deadlines/Hearings

Dec. 13, 2018 PACER
54

Withdraw as Attorney

Dec. 21, 2018 PACER

Motions Referred

Dec. 21, 2018 PACER

Order on Motion to Withdraw as Attorney

Dec. 21, 2018 PACER
61

Suggestion of Subsequently Decided Authority

March 6, 2019 PACER
62

Affidavit

March 13, 2019 PACER
63

Declaration

March 13, 2019 PACER

Motion Hearing

March 13, 2019 PACER
64

Supplement

March 14, 2019 PACER
65

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER signed by CHIEF JUDGE THOMAS D. SCHROEDER on 3/31/2019. IT IS ORDERED that the Commissioner's motion for judgment on the pleadings (Doc. 46 ) is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART, Plaintiffs' second motion for class certification (Doc. 36 ) is GRANTED IN PART and Plaintiffs' second motion for preliminary injunction (Doc. 38 ) is DENIED.(Engle, Anita) (Main Document 65 replaced on 4/2/2019 due to technical issue.) (Engle, Anita).

March 31, 2019 RECAP
66

Notice of Appearance

April 3, 2019 PACER
67

Notice of Appearance

April 17, 2019 PACER
68

Notice of Withdrawal and Substitution of Counsel

April 17, 2019 PACER
69

Notice of Appeal

April 17, 2019 PACER
70

Electronic Transmission of Notice of Appeal and Docket Sheet to USCA

April 18, 2019 PACER
71

USCA Notice of Docketing ROA

April 19, 2019 PACER
72

Stay

April 22, 2019 PACER
73

Order on Motion to Stay

April 23, 2019 PACER

Motions Submitted

April 23, 2019 PACER

Case Stayed

April 25, 2019 PACER
74

Appeal Transcript Request

April 26, 2019 PACER
75

Notice of Withdrawal and Substitution of Counsel

May 9, 2019 PACER
76

Transcript

July 2, 2019 PACER
77

Order

March 27, 2020 PACER
78

Notice of Withdrawal and Substitution of Counsel

Sept. 15, 2020 PACER
79

USCA Order

Sept. 15, 2020 PACER
80

Seal

May 3, 2021 PACER
81

SEALED Unredacted Documents (LR 5.4)

May 3, 2021 PACER

Motions Submitted

May 20, 2021 PACER
82

Order on Motion to Seal

May 20, 2021 PACER
83

Order

May 20, 2021 PACER
84

Lift Stay

May 21, 2021 PACER

Motions Submitted

May 24, 2021 PACER
85

Order Lifting Stay

May 25, 2021 PACER
86

Return of Service

June 1, 2021 PACER
87

Withdraw as Attorney

June 30, 2021 PACER

Motions Referred

June 30, 2021 PACER

Order on Motion to Withdraw as Attorney

June 30, 2021 PACER
88

Joint Motion

July 1, 2021 PACER

Motions Submitted

July 2, 2021 PACER
89

Withdraw as Attorney

July 26, 2021 PACER

Motions Referred

July 26, 2021 PACER

Order on Motion to Withdraw as Attorney

July 26, 2021 PACER

State / Territory: North Carolina

Case Type(s):

Criminal Justice (Other)

Special Collection(s):

Fines/Fees/Bail Reform (Criminalization of Poverty)

Post-WalMart decisions on class certification

Key Dates

Filing Date: May 30, 2018

Case Ongoing: Yes

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

A class of individuals whose driver's licenses will be revoked in the future and a class of individuals whose driver's licenses have been revoked without an inquiry into the individual's ability to pay.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

Southern Poverty Law Center

ACLU Affiliates (any)

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

Commissioner, State

Defendant Type(s):

Jurisdiction-wide

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Defendant

Nature of Relief:

None yet

Source of Relief:

None yet

Content of Injunction:

Preliminary relief denied

Issues

General:

Fines/Fees/Bail/Bond

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