Case: Taylor v. Milwaukee Elections Commission

2:20-cv-00545 | U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin

Filed Date: April 2, 2020

Closed Date: May 12, 2020

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Case Summary

On March 22, 2020, the Milwaukee Election Commission suspended early voting for the April 7, 2020, Wisconsin general election in response to safety concerns regarding election workers exposure to COVID-19. In response, Black city and state official candidates in Milwaukee, WI, along with Justice Wisconsin, Inc. ("the plaintiffs"), brought this lawsuit against the Milwaukee and Wisconsin Election Commissions ("the defendants") in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. The…

On March 22, 2020, the Milwaukee Election Commission suspended early voting for the April 7, 2020, Wisconsin general election in response to safety concerns regarding election workers exposure to COVID-19. In response, Black city and state official candidates in Milwaukee, WI, along with Justice Wisconsin, Inc. ("the plaintiffs"), brought this lawsuit against the Milwaukee and Wisconsin Election Commissions ("the defendants") in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. The plaintiffs filed a complaint and motions for a temporary restraining order and a permanent injunction on April 3, 2020. The complaint alleged that the defendants' decision to suspend early voting and voter registration and move to an "internet election" disenfranchised Black voters. As such, the plaintiffs alleged that the defendants violated the First, Fourteenth, Fifteenth, and Twenty-Sixth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution; Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act; and 52 U.S.C. § 10301 by denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race.

The plaintiffs requested that the court order the defendants to postpone the April 2020 in-person election until September 8, 2020; to permit early voting to continue; to extend the deadline to register for online voting until September 8, 2020; to cancel in-person registration and in-person absentee voting; and to pay damages and attorneys' fees.

On April 5, 2020, the district court (Chief Judge Pamela Pepper) denied the plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction without prejudice on procedural grounds. 2020 WL 1676481. In response to Judge Pepper's order, the plaintiffs refiled an emergency motion for preliminary injunction the next day.

On April 6, 2020, Judge Pepper denied the plaintiffs' second motion for a preliminary injunction, stating that the "federal court [did] not have the authority 'to act as the state's chief health official' by making the decision that need[ed] to be made to put the health and safety of the community first." 452 F. Supp. 3d 818. That same day, the Wisconsin legislature, as an intervening party, filed a motion to dismiss the case because the plaintiffs lacked standing and failed to state a claim.

On May 12, 2020, the court granted the defendants' motion to dismiss the case without a hearing and without receiving any opposition briefs from any party. The case is now closed.

Summary Authors

Richa Bijlani (3/9/2022)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attrorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/17041484/parties/taylor-v-the-milwaukee-election-commission/


Judge(s)

Pepper, Pamela (Wisconsin)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Napierala, Thomas (Wisconsin)

Strouse, Paul (Wisconsin)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Bach, Daniel P. (Wisconsin)

Gahnz, Dixon R. (Wisconsin)

Polich, Terrence M. (Wisconsin)

Stephens, Adam Boyd (Wisconsin)

Other Attorney(s)

Active

Active

Judge(s)

Pepper, Pamela (Wisconsin)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Napierala, Thomas (Wisconsin)

Strouse, Paul (Wisconsin)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Bach, Daniel P. (Wisconsin)

Gahnz, Dixon R. (Wisconsin)

Polich, Terrence M. (Wisconsin)

Stephens, Adam Boyd (Wisconsin)

Other Attorney(s)

Lawless, Lisa M. (Wisconsin)

McLeod, Eric M. (Wisconsin)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

2:20-cv-00545

Docket [PACER]

Taylor v. Milwaukee Election Commission

May 12, 2020

May 12, 2020

Docket
1

2:20-cv-00545

Complaint under the 1st, 14th, 15th and 26th Amendments by 42 U.S.C. 1983, 28 U.S.C. 2201, 28 U.S.C. 2202 and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, 52 U.S.C. § 10301 For Voter Disenfranchisement and Motion for Preliminary Injunction

April 3, 2020

April 3, 2020

Complaint
4

2:20-cv-00545

Order Denying Without Prejudice the Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction

2020 WL 1676481

April 5, 2020

April 5, 2020

Order/Opinion
25

2:20-cv-00545

Order Denying the Plaintiffs' Emergency Motion for Preliminary Injunction

Taylor v. Milwaukee Election Commission

452 F.Supp.3d 818

April 6, 2020

April 6, 2020

Order/Opinion
28

2:20-cv-00545

Order Granting Wisconsin Legislature's Unopposed Motion to Intervene (Dkt. No. 16) and Its Unopposed Motion to Dismiss (Dkt. No. 20) and Dismissing Case

May 12, 2020

May 12, 2020

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/17041484/taylor-v-the-milwaukee-election-commission/

Last updated July 21, 2022, 3:16 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link

Notice of Judge Assignment

April 3, 2020

April 3, 2020

PACER

Case Assigned/Reassigned

April 3, 2020

April 3, 2020

PACER

NOTICE Regarding assignment of this matter to Magistrate Judge Nancy Joseph ;Consent/refusal forms for Magistrate Judge Joseph to be filed within 21 days;the consent/refusal form is available on our website ;pursuant to Civil Local Rule 7.1 a disclosure statement is to be filed upon the first filing of any paper and should be filed now if not already filed (bx)

April 3, 2020

April 3, 2020

PACER

Summons Issued

April 3, 2020

April 3, 2020

PACER

Case reassigned to Chief Judge Pamela Pepper. Magistrate Judge Nancy Joseph no longer assigned to the case. (asc)

April 3, 2020

April 3, 2020

PACER
1

COMPLAINT and MOTION for Preliminary Injunction, Permanent Injunction and Declaratory Relief against All Defendants by Tory Lowe, Taylor Lena, Justice Wisconsin, Inc.. ( Filing Fee PAID $400 receipt number AWIEDC-3412926) (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1, # 2 Exhibit 2, # 3 Exhibit 3, # 4 Exhibit 4, # 5 Exhibit 4A, # 6 Exhibit 4B, # 7 Exhibit 5, # 8 Exhibit 6, # 9 Exhibit 7, # 10 Exhibit 8, # 11 Exhibit 9, # 12 Exhibit 10, # 13 Exhibit 11, # 14 Exhibit 12, # 15 Notice of Motion for Injunction, # 16 Civil Cover Sheet, # 17 Summons, # 18 Summons, # 19 Summons, # 20 Summons, # 21 Summons, # 22 Summons, # 23 Summons, # 24 Summons, # 25 Summons, # 26 Summons, # 27 Summons, # 28 Summons, # 29 Summons, # 30 Verification of Lena Taylor, # 31 Verification of Tory Lowe)(Strouse, Paul) Modified on 4/3/2020 (asc).

1 Exhibit 1

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2 Exhibit 2

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3 Exhibit 3

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4 Exhibit 4

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5 Exhibit 4A

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6 Exhibit 4B

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7 Exhibit 5

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8 Exhibit 6

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9 Exhibit 7

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10 Exhibit 8

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11 Exhibit 9

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12 Exhibit 10

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13 Exhibit 11

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14 Exhibit 12

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15 Notice of Motion for Injunction

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16 Civil Cover Sheet

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17 Summons

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18 Summons

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19 Summons

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20 Summons

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21 Summons

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22 Summons

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23 Summons

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24 Summons

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25 Summons

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26 Summons

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27 Summons

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28 Summons

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29 Summons

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30 Verification of Lena Taylor

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31 Verification of Tory Lowe

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April 3, 2020

April 3, 2020

Clearinghouse

Summons Issued as to All Defendants. (asc)

April 3, 2020

April 3, 2020

PACER
2

NOTICE of Appearance by Terrence M Polich on behalf of Marge Bostelmann, Julie M Glancey, Ann S Jacobs, Dean Knudson, Robert F Spindell, Jr, The Wisconsin Election Commission, Mark Thomsen. Attorney(s) appearing: Terrence M. Polich (Polich, Terrence)

April 3, 2020

April 3, 2020

PACER
3

NOTICE of Appearance by Dixon R Gahnz on behalf of Marge Bostelmann, Julie M Glancey, Ann S Jacobs, Dean Knudson, Robert F Spindell, Jr, The Wisconsin Election Commission, Mark Thomsen. Attorney(s) appearing: Dixon R. Gahnz (Gahnz, Dixon)

April 3, 2020

April 3, 2020

PACER
4

ORDER signed by Chief Judge Pamela Pepper on 4/5/2020. Dkt. No. 1-15, Motion for preliminary injunction DENIED without prejudice. Clerk of Court to docket the motion for preliminary injunction at dkt. no. 1-15 as a separate docket entry. If plaintiffs wish to proceed with motion for preliminary injunction, they must seek leave to renew motion, accompanied by proof they have provided notice to all defendants, by 10:30 AM on Monday, April 6, 2020. (cc: all counsel)(cb)

April 5, 2020

April 5, 2020

Clearinghouse
5

NOTICE of Appearance by Adam B Stephens on behalf of Neil Albrect, Carmen C Cabrera, Stephanie D Findly, Theresa R Gabriel, Jess Ripp, The Milwaukee Election Commission. Attorney(s) appearing: Adam B. Stephens (Stephens, Adam)

April 5, 2020

April 5, 2020

PACER
6

DECLARATION of Notice Upon Defendants (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1, # 2 Exhibit 2, # 3 Exhibit 3, # 4 Exhibit 4)(Strouse, Paul)

April 5, 2020

April 5, 2020

PACER
7

MOTION for Preliminary Injunction by All Plaintiffs. (amb) (Entered: 04/06/2020)

April 5, 2020

April 5, 2020

PACER
8

TEXT ONLY ORDER signed by Chief Judge Pamela Pepper on 04/06/2020 re 7 MOTION for Preliminary Injunction filed by Tory Lowe, Lena Taylor, Justice Wisconsin Inc.: The plaintiffs have provided the court with proof that they gave notice of their motion for preliminary injunctive relief to all defendants. Counsel now has appeared for all defendants. The court ORDERS that if the defendants wish to file a responsive pleading to the plaintiffs' motion for preliminary injunction, they must do so no later than 1:00 p.m. on Monday, April 6, 2020. The court ORDERS that the defendants should indicate in any responsive pleading whether they believe a hearing is necessary, and why. NOTE: There is no document associated with this text-only order. (cc: all counsel)(Pepper, Pamela)

April 6, 2020

April 6, 2020

PACER

Text Only Order

April 6, 2020

April 6, 2020

PACER

Notice of Hearing

April 6, 2020

April 6, 2020

PACER
9

TEXT ONLY ORDER signed by Chief Judge Pamela Pepper on 04/06/2020 re 8 Text Only Order: In its April 5, 2020 order, the court denied the plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction, but ordered that they could renew that motion once they demonstrated that they had given notice to the defendants. The plaintiffs have not yet renewed their motion, yet this morning the court issued an order requiring the defendants to respond. The court ORDERS that the April 6, 2020 order at Dkt. No. 8 is VACATED. The court ORDERS that if the plaintiffs file a renewed motion for preliminary injunctive relief, the court will set a deadline by which the defendants may respond. NOTE: There is no document associated with this text-only order. (cc: all counsel)(Pepper, Pamela)

April 6, 2020

April 6, 2020

PACER
10

NOTICE of Appearance by Daniel Bach on behalf of Marge Bostelmann, Julie M Glancey, Ann S Jacobs, Dean Knudson, Robert F Spindell, Jr, The Wisconsin Election Commission, Mark Thomsen. Attorney(s) appearing: Daniel P. Bach (Bach, Daniel)

April 6, 2020

April 6, 2020

PACER
11

Emergency MOTION for Preliminary Injunction by All Plaintiffs. (Strouse, Paul)

April 6, 2020

April 6, 2020

PACER
12

TEXT ONLY ORDER signed by Chief Judge Pamela Pepper on 04/06/2020 re 11 Emergency MOTION for Preliminary Injunction filed by Tory Lowe, Lena Taylor, Justice Wisconsin Inc.: The plaintiffs have re-filed their motion for a preliminary injunction. The court ORDERS that if the defendants wish to file a responsive pleading to the plaintiffs' renewed motion for preliminary injunction, they must do so no later than 1:00 p.m. on Monday, April 6, 2020. The court ORDERS that the defendants should indicate in any responsive pleading whether they believe a hearing is necessary, and why. NOTE: There is no document associated with this text-only order. (cc: all counsel)(Pepper, Pamela)

April 6, 2020

April 6, 2020

PACER
13

NOTICE of Appearance by Eric M McLeod on behalf of The Wisconsin Legislature. Attorney(s) appearing: Eric M McLeod (McLeod, Eric)

April 6, 2020

April 6, 2020

PACER
14

NOTICE of Appearance by Lisa M Lawless on behalf of The Wisconsin Legislature. Attorney(s) appearing: Lisa M Lawless (Lawless, Lisa)

April 6, 2020

April 6, 2020

PACER
15

TEXT ONLY ORDER signed by Chief Judge Pamela Pepper on 04/06/2020 re 11 Emergency MOTION for Preliminary Injunction filed by Tory Lowe, Lena Taylor, Justice Wisconsin Inc.: The court anticipates that the defendants will file a response to the plaintiffs' renewed motion for a preliminary injunction by 1:00 p.m. today--April 6, 2020. The court ORDERS that if the plaintiffs wish to reply, they must do so no later than 2:30 p.m. on Monday, April 6, 2020. The plaintiff should include in their reply a statement as to whether they believe a hearing is necessary, and why. The court notes that counsel has appeared on behalf of the Wisconsin Legislature. The court informs all parties who have appeared that today, the court has been inundated with telephone calls from individuals asking the court to order the April 7, 2020 election postponed. This court, like other federal courts, will make any decision based on the applicable law. The court provides this information to the parties in the interest of full disclosure. The court's staff has told callers that staff cannot give out information about cases, and that the staff will relay the callers' concerns to the court. NOTE: There is no document associated with this text-only order. (cc: all counsel)(Pepper, Pamela)

April 6, 2020

April 6, 2020

PACER
16

MOTION to Intervene by The Wisconsin Legislature. (McLeod, Eric)

April 6, 2020

April 6, 2020

PACER
17

BRIEF in Support filed by The Wisconsin Legislature re 16 MOTION to Intervene . (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Exh 1, 7th Circuit Order, # 2 Exhibit Exh 2, Defendants' Brief in Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion for TRO and Preliminary Injunction)(McLeod, Eric)

April 6, 2020

April 6, 2020

PACER
18

BRIEF in Opposition filed by Marge Bostelmann, Julie M Glancey, Ann S Jacobs, Dean Knudson, Robert F Spindell, Jr, The Wisconsin Election Commission, Mark Thomsen re 11 Emergency MOTION for Preliminary Injunction . (Gahnz, Dixon)

April 6, 2020

April 6, 2020

PACER
19

RESPONSE to Motion filed by Neil Albrect, Carmen C Cabrera, Stephanie D Findly, Theresa R Gabriel, Jess Ripp, The Milwaukee Election Commission re 7 MOTION for Preliminary Injunction Milwaukee Election Commission's Response to Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction. (Stephens, Adam)

April 6, 2020

April 6, 2020

PACER
20

MOTION to Dismiss in Oppositioin to Plaintiffs' Prelimiinary Injunction Motion by The Wisconsin Legislature. (Attachments: # 1 Letter Ltr re WI Legislature's Motion to Dismiss)(McLeod, Eric)

1 Letter Ltr re WI Legislature's Motion to Dismiss

View on PACER

April 6, 2020

April 6, 2020

RECAP
21

RESPONSE to Motion filed by Marge Bostelmann, Julie M Glancey, Ann S Jacobs, Dean Knudson, Robert F Spindell, Jr, The Wisconsin Election Commission, Mark Thomsen re 16 MOTION to Intervene . (Gahnz, Dixon)

April 6, 2020

April 6, 2020

PACER
22

LETTER from Atty. Thomas R. Napierala . (Strouse, Paul)

April 6, 2020

April 6, 2020

PACER
23

NOTICE of Hearing: Status Conference set for 4/6/2020 at 3:30 PM by telephone before Chief Judge Pamela Pepper. Parties are to attend the hearing by calling the court's conference line at 888-557-8511 and using access code 4893665#. If asked for a security code, use 7160. Members of the public may use the conference line number and access codes to dial in and listen to the hearing. Members of the public will not be allowed to speak during the hearing and must mute their phones.(cc: all counsel)(cb)

April 6, 2020

April 6, 2020

PACER
24

Digital Audio File Uploaded

April 6, 2020

April 6, 2020

PACER
25

ORDER signed by Chief Judge Pamela Pepper on 4/6/2020 DENYING 11 plaintiffs' motion for preliminary injunction. (cc: all counsel) (cb) (amb).

April 6, 2020

April 6, 2020

Clearinghouse
26

Status Conference

April 7, 2020

April 7, 2020

PACER

Text Only Order

April 29, 2020

April 29, 2020

PACER
28

ORDER DISMISSING CASE signed by Chief Judge Pamela Pepper on 5/12/2020. 16 Wisconsin Legislature's motion to intervene GRANTED. 20 Wisconsin Legislature's unopposed motion to dismiss GRANTED. (cc: all counsel)(cb)

May 12, 2020

May 12, 2020

RECAP
29

Judgment

May 12, 2020

May 12, 2020

PACER

Terminate Case - Notice Attorneys

May 13, 2020

May 13, 2020

PACER

Case Details

State / Territory: Wisconsin

Case Type(s):

Election/Voting Rights

Special Collection(s):

COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)

Healthy Elections COVID litigation tracker

Key Dates

Filing Date: April 2, 2020

Closing Date: May 12, 2020

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Black city and state official candidates in Milwaukee, WI, along with Justice Wisconsin, Inc.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Non-profit NON-religious organization

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

The Milwaukee Election Commission (Milwaukee, Milwaukee), City

The Wisconsin Election Commission, State

Defendant Type(s):

Jurisdiction-wide

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Voting Rights Act, section 2, 52 U.S.C. § 10301 (previously 42 U.S.C. § 1973)

Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Due Process: Substantive Due Process

Equal Protection

Freedom of speech/association

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Non-settlement Outcome

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Defendant

Nature of Relief:

None

Source of Relief:

None

Issues

General:

Voting

Voting access

Discrimination-area:

Accommodation / Leave

Race:

Black

Voting:

Challenges to at-large/multimember district/election

Election administration

Voter registration rules