Case: Elkhorn Baptist Church v. Brown

20-cv-17482 | Oregon state trial court

Filed Date: May 6, 2020

Closed Date: June 18, 2020

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

COVID-19 Summary: On May 6, a group of Oregon churches and individuals sued the Governor of Oregon, Kate Brown, claiming that her executive orders imposing restrictions due to the pandemic were unconstitutional under the U.S. and Oregon constitutions. The plaintiffs were initially granted a preliminary injunction, but it was vacated by the Supreme Court of Oregon on June 12. After this, the plaintiffs requested a dismissal in the district court, which was granted on June 18. The case is now clo…

COVID-19 Summary: On May 6, a group of Oregon churches and individuals sued the Governor of Oregon, Kate Brown, claiming that her executive orders imposing restrictions due to the pandemic were unconstitutional under the U.S. and Oregon constitutions. The plaintiffs were initially granted a preliminary injunction, but it was vacated by the Supreme Court of Oregon on June 12. After this, the plaintiffs requested a dismissal in the district court, which was granted on June 18. The case is now closed.


On May 6, 2020 a group of Oregon churches and individuals sued the Governor of Oregon, Kate Brown, claiming that her executive orders imposing restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic were unconstitutional under the U.S. and Oregon constitutions. The lawsuit was in response to a series of executive orders issued by Governor Brown following the state of emergency she declared on March 8, 2020. The plaintiffs claimed the executive orders violates their right to assemble and worship. The plaintiffs sought a declaration that Governor Brown’s orders were invalid and a preliminary injunction enjoining Governor Brown from enforcing the executive orders while the lawsuit was pending. Specifically, the plaintiffs argued that the executive orders violated their religious freedoms and the statutory and constitutional time limits on the Governor's emergency powers. The plaintiffs brought this case as a declaratory and injunctive action under state law and were represented by a non-profit law firm.

The Governor objected to plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction and moved to dismiss the case on May 13. They argued that the executive orders were issued pursuant to Oregon law and therefore were not subject to the time limits. They further indicated that an injunction against the orders would create an unreasonable risk of exacerbating the spread of COVID-19.

On May 14, the plaintiffs also filed a motion seeking a temporary restraining order (TRO) that would prevent the governor from enforcing the executive order, including the prohibition on gatherings of people.

The trial court granted the motion for preliminary injunction and denied the defendant’s motion to dismiss on May 18, 2020. 2020 WL 2532528. Governor Brown immediately appealed to the Supreme Court of Oregon, seeking to vacate the preliminary injunction order and to stay the preliminary injunction pending the appeal. The same day, the Supreme Court of Oregon stayed the trial court's preliminary injunction pending their decision. 2020 WL 2603159.

Several parties filed amicus briefs to the Oregon Supreme Court during the next month.

On June 12, the Supreme Court of Oregon vacated the circuit court’s preliminary injunction. 366 Or. 506. The preliminary injunction was based on the conclusion that the executive orders violated a statutory time limit. However, the Supreme Court found that Governor Brown’s orders were issued properly under Oregon law and were not subject to the time limit. Therefore, the Supreme Court reasoned that the injunction was based on a legal error and vacated the order.

On June 17, the plaintiffs filed a notice of dismissal in the district court, which Judge Shirtcliff granted the next day; the case is now closed.

Summary Authors

Averyn Lee (6/20/2020)

People


Judge(s)

Balmer, Thomas (Oregon)

Garrett, Christopher L. (Oregon)

Shirtcliff, Matthew B. (Oregon)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Hacke, Ray (California)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Abrams, Marc (Oregon)

Beatty-Walters, Christina L. (Oregon)

Gutman, Benjamin N. (Oregon)

Rosenblum, Ellen F. (Oregon)

Other Attorney(s)

Active

Active

Judge(s)

Balmer, Thomas (Oregon)

Garrett, Christopher L. (Oregon)

Shirtcliff, Matthew B. (Oregon)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Hacke, Ray (California)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Abrams, Marc (Oregon)

Beatty-Walters, Christina L. (Oregon)

Gutman, Benjamin N. (Oregon)

Rosenblum, Ellen F. (Oregon)

Other Attorney(s)

Doyle, Thomas K (Oregon)

Hartman, Bennett (Oregon)

Janzen, Paul (Oregon)

Mannix, Kevin L (Oregon)

Masih, Aruna A (Oregon)

Miller, Luke D (Oregon)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket

Oregon state supreme court

June 18, 2020 Docket

Verified Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief

May 6, 2020 Complaint

Opinion on Temporary Injunctive Relief

2020 WL 2532528

May 18, 2020 Order/Opinion

Relators' Memorandum in Support of Petition for a Peremptory or Alternative Writ of Mandamus

Oregon state supreme court

May 18, 2020 Pleading / Motion / Brief

Plaintiffs-Adverse Parties' Memorandum in Opposition to Defendant-Relator's Mandamus Petition

Oregon state supreme court

May 22, 2020 Pleading / Motion / Brief

Intervenors- Adverse Parties Memorandum in Opposition to Petition for a Peremptory or Alternative Writ of Mandamus

Oregon state supreme court

May 22, 2020 Pleading / Motion / Brief

Amicus Curiae Oregon Nurses Association's Brief

Oregon state supreme court

May 22, 2020 Pleading / Motion / Brief

Brief of New Civil Liberties Alliance as Amicus Curiae Supporting Adverse Parties and Opposing Relators' Mandamus Petition

Oregon state supreme court

June 2, 2020 Pleading / Motion / Brief

Opinion

Oregon state supreme court

466 P.3d 30, 2020 WL 3116543

June 12, 2020 Order/Opinion

Audit of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Execution of Its Woods Procedures for Applications Filed with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Relating to U.S. Persons

No Court

Sept. 1, 2021 Other

Docket

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

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

State / Territory: Oregon

Case Type(s):

Speech and Religious Freedom

Special Collection(s):

COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)

Key Dates

Filing Date: May 6, 2020

Closing Date: June 18, 2020

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

A group of churches and individuals in Oregon

Plaintiff Type(s):

Non-profit religious organization

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Governor of Oregon , State

Defendant Type(s):

Jurisdiction-wide

Case Details

Causes of Action:

State law

Constitutional Clause(s):

Free Exercise Clause

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Defendant

Nature of Relief:

None

Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order

Source of Relief:

None

Content of Injunction:

Preliminary relief denied

Preliminary relief granted

Issues

General:

Religious programs / policies