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Case: Faith Action Ministry Alliance, Inc. v. Fried

8:22-cv-01696 | U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida

Filed Date: July 27, 2022

Closed Date: Sept. 26, 2022

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

This case is about the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National School Lunch Program which prohibits participating schools from discriminating on the basis of sex, as required by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. On January 20, 2021, President Biden issued Executive Order 13988, which declared that laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, including Title IX, also prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation. Faith Action Ministr…

This case is about the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National School Lunch Program which prohibits participating schools from discriminating on the basis of sex, as required by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. On January 20, 2021, President Biden issued Executive Order 13988, which declared that laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, including Title IX, also prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation. Faith Action Ministry Alliance, Inc. (“Faith Action”) operated Grant Park Christian Academy, a private Christian school that received USDA funding through the National School Lunch Program. Grant Park Christian Academy maintained separate-sex restrooms, instituted a sex-specific dress code, and referred to students based on the pronouns that correspond to their biological sex. Faith Action argued that Title IX provided a religious exemption consistent with the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.. In response to Faith Action’s objections, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Nikki Fried stated that schools could either comply with the federal regulations or cease participation in the National School Lunch Program.

On July 27, 2022, Faith Action, doing business as Grant Park Christian Academy, filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida. Faith Action filed this lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against federal and state officials responsible for running the National School Lunch Program, including Commissioner Fried, President Biden, the USDA, and the United States. The plaintiff alleged that the National School Lunch Program’s mandate violated Title IX’s religious exemption requirement. Represented by Alliance Defending Freedom and private counsel, Faith Action sought declaratory and injunctive relief as well as reasonable costs and expenses, including attorneys’ fees. On July 28, 2022, this case was assigned to U.S. District Judge Mary S. Scriven and Magistrate Judge Julie S. Sneed.

On August 3, 2022, Faith Action filed a motion for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction. On August 5, 2022, the USDA issued Grant Park Christian Academy a letter that granted it an exemption from the National School Lunch Program’s mandate. On August 12, 2022, the USDA issued a letter clarifying the scope of religious exemptions under Title IX.

On September 23, 2022, Faith Action filed a notice of voluntary dismissal without prejudice. On September 26, 2022, the court dismissed this case without prejudice. This case is now closed.

Summary Authors

Saba Khan (10/12/2022)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document
1

8:22-cv-01696

Verified Complaint

July 27, 2022

July 27, 2022

Complaint
38

8:22-cv-01696

Order dismissing case

Sept. 26, 2022

Sept. 26, 2022

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/64438581/faith-action-ministry-alliance-inc-v-fried/

Last updated Nov. 1, 2022, 11:05 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
1

COMPLAINT against All Defendants with Jury Demand (Filing fee $402 receipt number AFLMDC-19820623) filed by All Plaintiffs. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit List, # 2 Exhibit A - July 19 2022 Email from Lisa Church, FDACS, to Alfred Johnson, GPCA, # 3 Exhibit B - Photo of Grant Park Christian Academy, # 4 Exhibit C - 2021-2022 School Lunch Menus, # 5 Exhibit D - May 5 2022 USDA Memo, Application of Bostock to Program Discrimination Complaint Processing Policy Update, # 6 Exhibit E - July 27, 2021 USDA Departmental Regulation DR 4330-002 Nondiscrimination in Programs, # 7 Exhibit F - USDA Memo to Regional Program Directors and State Agencies, # 8 Exhibit G - USDA Memo, Q&A Related to CRD 01-2022 Application of Bostock, # 9 Exhibit H - USDA Poster, And Justice For All FNS USE ONLY, # 10 Exhibit I - USDA Nondiscrimination Statement, # 11 Exhibit J - May 5, 2022 USDA Press Release, USDA Promotes Program Access, # 12 Exhibit K - June 23 2022 Email from Nedra Harrington, FDACS to Alfred Johnson, GPCA, # 13 Exhibit L - July 15 2022 Email from Alfred Johnson, GPCA, to Nedra Harrington, FDACS, # 14 Exhibit M - July 15 2022 Letter from GPCA to USDA, # 15 Civil Cover Sheet, # 16 Proposed Summons to Joseph R. Biden, Jr., # 17 Proposed Summons to Lisa Church, # 18 Proposed Summons to Nedra Harrington, # 19 Proposed Summons to Nikki Fried, # 20 Proposed Summons to Thomas J. Vilsack, # 21 Proposed Summons to United States Department of Agriculture, # 22 Proposed Summons to United States of America - Garland, # 23 Proposed Summons to United States of America - Handberg)(Steinmiller-Perdomo, Erica) (Entered: 07/27/2022)

1 Exhibit List

View on PACER

2 Exhibit A - July 19 2022 Email from Lisa Church, FDACS, to Alfred Johnson, GPCA

View on PACER

3 Exhibit B - Photo of Grant Park Christian Academy

View on PACER

4 Exhibit C - 2021-2022 School Lunch Menus

View on PACER

5 Exhibit D - May 5 2022 USDA Memo, Application of Bostock to Program Discriminati

View on PACER

6 Exhibit E - July 27, 2021 USDA Departmental Regulation DR 4330-002 Nondiscrimina

View on PACER

7 Exhibit F - USDA Memo to Regional Program Directors and State Agencies

View on PACER

8 Exhibit G - USDA Memo, Q&A Related to CRD 01-2022 Application of Bostock

View on PACER

9 Exhibit H - USDA Poster, And Justice For All FNS USE ONLY

View on PACER

10 Exhibit I - USDA Nondiscrimination Statement

View on PACER

11 Exhibit J - May 5, 2022 USDA Press Release, USDA Promotes Program Access

View on PACER

12 Exhibit K - June 23 2022 Email from Nedra Harrington, FDACS to Alfred Johnson, G

View on PACER

13 Exhibit L - July 15 2022 Email from Alfred Johnson, GPCA, to Nedra Harrington, F

View on PACER

14 Exhibit M - July 15 2022 Letter from GPCA to USDA

View on PACER

15 Civil Cover Sheet

View on RECAP

16 Proposed Summons to Joseph R. Biden, Jr.

View on PACER

17 Proposed Summons to Lisa Church

View on PACER

18 Proposed Summons to Nedra Harrington

View on PACER

19 Proposed Summons to Nikki Fried

View on PACER

20 Proposed Summons to Thomas J. Vilsack

View on PACER

21 Proposed Summons to United States Department of Agriculture

View on PACER

22 Proposed Summons to United States of America - Garland

View on PACER

23 Proposed Summons to United States of America - Handberg

View on PACER

July 27, 2022

July 27, 2022

Clearinghouse
2

CERTIFICATE of interested persons and corporate disclosure statement by Faith Action Ministry Alliance, Inc. doing business as Grant Park Christian Academy. (Steinmiller-Perdomo, Erica) (Entered: 07/27/2022)

July 27, 2022

July 27, 2022

PACER
3

NEW CASE ASSIGNED to Judge Mary S. Scriven and Magistrate Judge Julie S. Sneed. New case number: 8:22-cv-1696-MSS-JSS. (SJB) (Entered: 07/28/2022)

July 28, 2022

July 28, 2022

PACER
4

NOTICE to counsel Ryan L. Bangert, Julie Blake, David A. Cortman Local Rule 2.01(c), Special Admission of Non-Resident Lawyer - File a Motion to Appear Pro Hac Vice. Co-counsel with filing rights may electronically file the motion on behalf of the non-resident lawyer or the motion may be filed on paper; Pay the Special Admission Fee; Submit a Pro Hac Vice E-File Registration through PACER. Visit www.flmd.uscourts.gov/for-lawyers for details (Signed by Deputy Clerk). (SET) (Entered: 07/28/2022)

July 28, 2022

July 28, 2022

PACER
5

SUMMONS issued as to Joseph R. Biden, Jr, Lisa Church, Nikki Fried, Nedra Harrington, United States Department of Agriculture, United States of America, Thomas J. Vilsack. (SET) (Entered: 07/28/2022)

July 28, 2022

July 28, 2022

PACER

Notice to Counsel of Local Rule

July 28, 2022

July 28, 2022

PACER

Case Assigned/Reassigned

July 28, 2022

July 28, 2022

PACER
6

NOTICE of Local Rule 3.02(a)(2), which requires the parties in every civil proceeding, except those described in subsection (d), to file a case management report (CMR) using the uniform form at www.flmd.uscourts.gov. The CMR must be filed (1) within forty days after any defendant appears in an action originating in this court, (2) within forty days after the docketing of an action removed or transferred to this court, or (3) within seventy days after service on the United States attorney in an action against the United States, its agencies or employees. Judges may have a special CMR form for certain types of cases. These forms can be found at www.flmd.uscourts.gov under the Forms tab for each judge. (Signed by Deputy Clerk). (MEJ) (Entered: 07/29/2022)

July 29, 2022

July 29, 2022

PACER

Notice to Counsel of Local Rule

July 29, 2022

July 29, 2022

PACER
7

NOTICE of Lead Counsel Designation by Erica Steinmiller-Perdomo on behalf of Faith Action Ministry Alliance, Inc.. Lead Counsel: Erica Steinmiller-Perdomo. (Steinmiller-Perdomo, Erica) (Entered: 08/01/2022)

Aug. 1, 2022

Aug. 1, 2022

PACER
8

MOTION for Julie Marie Blake to appear pro hac vice, Special Admission fee paid, Receipt No. AFLMDC-19831740 for $150 by All Plaintiffs. (Steinmiller-Perdomo, Erica) Motions referred to Magistrate Judge Julie S. Sneed. (Entered: 08/01/2022)

Aug. 1, 2022

Aug. 1, 2022

PACER
9

MOTION for Ryan L. Bangert to appear pro hac vice, Special Admission fee paid, Receipt No. AFLMDC-19831847 for $150 by All Plaintiffs. (Steinmiller-Perdomo, Erica) Motions referred to Magistrate Judge Julie S. Sneed. (Entered: 08/01/2022)

Aug. 1, 2022

Aug. 1, 2022

PACER
10

NOTICE of compliance re 4 Notice to Counsel of Local Rule, and Notice of Appearance of David A. Cortman by Faith Action Ministry Alliance, Inc. (Cortman, David) (Entered: 08/01/2022)

Aug. 1, 2022

Aug. 1, 2022

PACER
11

ORDER granting 8 Motion to Appear Pro Hac Vice. Signed by Magistrate Judge Julie S. Sneed on August 1, 2022. (DD) (Entered: 08/01/2022)

Aug. 1, 2022

Aug. 1, 2022

PACER
12

ORDER granting 9 Motion to Appear Pro Hac Vice. Signed by Magistrate Judge Julie S. Sneed on August 1, 2022. (DD) (Entered: 08/01/2022)

Aug. 1, 2022

Aug. 1, 2022

PACER
13

RETURN of service executed on July 29, 2022 by Faith Action Ministry Alliance, Inc. as to Nikki Fried. (Steinmiller-Perdomo, Erica) (Entered: 08/01/2022)

Aug. 1, 2022

Aug. 1, 2022

PACER
14

RETURN of service executed on July 29, 2022 by Faith Action Ministry Alliance, Inc. as to Lisa Church. (Steinmiller-Perdomo, Erica) (Entered: 08/01/2022)

Aug. 1, 2022

Aug. 1, 2022

PACER
15

RETURN of service executed on July 29, 2022 by Faith Action Ministry Alliance, Inc. as to Nedra Harrington. (Steinmiller-Perdomo, Erica) (Entered: 08/01/2022)

Aug. 1, 2022

Aug. 1, 2022

PACER
16

SUMMONS returned executed by Faith Action Ministry Alliance, Inc.. United States of America served on 8/1/2022, answer due 9/30/2022. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1 - US Postal Service Certified Mail Receipt, # 2 Exhibit 2 - USPS Tracking)(Steinmiller-Perdomo, Erica) (Entered: 08/02/2022)

Aug. 2, 2022

Aug. 2, 2022

PACER
17

SUMMONS returned executed by Faith Action Ministry Alliance, Inc.. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1 - US Postal Service Certified Mail Receipt, # 2 Exhibit 2 - USPS Tracking)(Steinmiller-Perdomo, Erica) (Entered: 08/02/2022)

Aug. 2, 2022

Aug. 2, 2022

PACER
18

RETURN of service executed on August 1, 2022 by Faith Action Ministry Alliance, Inc. as to United States Department of Agriculture. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1 - US Postal Service Certified Mail Receipt, # 2 Exhibit 2 - USPS Tracking)(Steinmiller-Perdomo, Erica) (Entered: 08/02/2022)

Aug. 2, 2022

Aug. 2, 2022

PACER
19

RETURN of service executed on August 1, 2022 by Faith Action Ministry Alliance, Inc. as to Thomas J. Vilsack. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1 - US Postal Service Certified Mail Receipt, # 2 Exhibit 2 - USPS Tracking)(Steinmiller-Perdomo, Erica) (Entered: 08/02/2022)

Aug. 2, 2022

Aug. 2, 2022

PACER
20

NOTICE of Appearance by Jeffrey Carter Andersen on behalf of Faith Action Ministry Alliance, Inc. (Andersen, Jeffrey) (Entered: 08/03/2022)

Aug. 3, 2022

Aug. 3, 2022

PACER
21

MOTION for Temporary Restraining Order, a Preliminary Injunction, and a Delay of Effective Date by Faith Action Ministry Alliance, Inc.. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit List, # 2 Exhibit 1 - Declaration of Melanie Young, # 3 Exhibit 2 - Declaration of Alfred Johnson, # 4 Exhibit 3 - NDS and AJFA Poster Memo)(Steinmiller-Perdomo, Erica) (Entered: 08/03/2022)

Aug. 3, 2022

Aug. 3, 2022

PACER
22

REQUEST for oral argument re 21 MOTION for Temporary Restraining Order, a Preliminary Injunction, and a Delay of Effective Date by Faith Action Ministry Alliance, Inc.. (Steinmiller-Perdomo, Erica) (Entered: 08/03/2022)

Aug. 3, 2022

Aug. 3, 2022

PACER
23

ORDER Setting Hearing on Motion 21 Plaintiff's Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order, A Preliminary Injunction, and Delay of Effective Date. This case is set for a hearing on the Plaintiff's Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order on Thursday, August 11, 2022, in the Sam Gibbons United States Courthouse, Tampa, Florida, Courtroom 7A at 9:30 AM before United States District Judge Mary S. Scriven. The Court has set aside three (3) hours for this hearing. See Order for details. Signed by Judge Mary S. Scriven on 8/4/2022. (EOJ) (Entered: 08/04/2022)

Aug. 4, 2022

Aug. 4, 2022

RECAP
24

Joint MOTION to Stay re 23 Order Setting Hearing on Motion for Temporary Restraining Order by All Plaintiffs. (Steinmiller-Perdomo, Erica) (Entered: 08/05/2022)

Aug. 5, 2022

Aug. 5, 2022

RECAP
25

ENDORSED ORDER GRANTING 24 Joint Motion for a Stay of Briefing and Hearing on Plaintiff's Motion for Temporary Restraining Order. In light of the Parties' joint motion, the Hearing on Plaintiff's Motion for Temporary Restraining Order, which is currently set for August 11, 2022 at 9:30 AM is CONTINUED. Upon resolution of the Parties' discussions, the Parties shall file a motion to proceed with the litigation or obtain whatever other relief would be appropriate. If the Parties reach a settlement, prompt notice shall be provided in accord with Local Rule 3.09. Signed by Judge Mary S. Scriven on 8/5/2022. (EOJ) (Entered: 08/05/2022)

Aug. 5, 2022

Aug. 5, 2022

PACER

Order on Motion to Stay

Aug. 6, 2022

Aug. 6, 2022

PACER
26

NOTICE canceling Motion Hearing hearing scheduled for 8/11/2022. (MEJ) (Entered: 08/08/2022)

Aug. 8, 2022

Aug. 8, 2022

PACER
27

RETURN of service executed on August 5, 2022 by Faith Action Ministry Alliance, Inc. as to Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1 - US Postal Service Certified Mail Receipt, # 2 Exhibit 2 - USPS Tracking)(Steinmiller-Perdomo, Erica) (Entered: 08/08/2022)

Aug. 8, 2022

Aug. 8, 2022

PACER

Notice canceling hearing

Aug. 8, 2022

Aug. 8, 2022

PACER
28

NOTICE of Appearance Appearance by Genevieve Hall on behalf of Nikki Fried (Hall, Genevieve) (Entered: 08/17/2022)

Aug. 17, 2022

Aug. 17, 2022

PACER
29

First MOTION for Extension of Time to File Answer to Complaint by Nikki Fried. (Hall, Genevieve) (Entered: 08/17/2022)

Aug. 17, 2022

Aug. 17, 2022

PACER
30

ENDORSED ORDER GRANTING 29 Defendant Nikki Fried's Unopposed Motion for Enlargement of Time to File Response to Complaint. Defendant Nikki Fried shall have up to and including September 27, 2022 to answer or otherwise respond to the Complaint. Signed by Judge Mary S. Scriven on 8/18/2022. (EOJ) (Entered: 08/18/2022)

Aug. 18, 2022

Aug. 18, 2022

PACER

Order on Motion for Extension of Time to Answer

Aug. 18, 2022

Aug. 18, 2022

PACER
31

First MOTION for Extension of Time to File Answer by Lisa Church, Nedra Harrington. (Hall, Genevieve) (Entered: 08/19/2022)

Aug. 19, 2022

Aug. 19, 2022

PACER
32

NOTICE of Appearance by Genevieve Hall on behalf of Lisa Church, Nedra Harrington (Hall, Genevieve) (Entered: 08/19/2022)

Aug. 19, 2022

Aug. 19, 2022

PACER
33

ENDORSED ORDER GRANTING 31 Defendants Lisa Church and Nedra Harrington's Unopposed Motion for Enlargement of Time to File Response to Complaint. Defendants Lisa Church and Nedra Harrington shall have up to and including September 27, 2022 to answer or otherwise respond to the Complaint. Signed by Judge Mary S. Scriven on 8/19/2022. (EOJ) (Entered: 08/19/2022)

Aug. 19, 2022

Aug. 19, 2022

PACER

Order on Motion for Extension of Time to Answer

Aug. 19, 2022

Aug. 19, 2022

PACER
34

NOTICE of Appearance by Cody Taylor Knapp on behalf of Joseph R. Biden, Jr, United States Department of Agriculture, United States of America, Thomas J. Vilsack (Knapp, Cody) (Entered: 09/07/2022)

Sept. 7, 2022

Sept. 7, 2022

PACER
35

NOTICE of Appearance by Allan Charles on behalf of Lisa Church, Nikki Fried, Nedra Harrington (Charles, Allan) (Entered: 09/20/2022)

Sept. 20, 2022

Sept. 20, 2022

PACER
36

STATUS report (Joint) filed on behalf of the parties by United States Department of Agriculture, United States of America, Joseph R. Biden, Jr, Thomas J. Vilsack. (Kossak, Jonathan) (Entered: 09/23/2022)

Sept. 23, 2022

Sept. 23, 2022

PACER
37

NOTICE of voluntary dismissal by Faith Action Ministry Alliance, Inc. (Steinmiller-Perdomo, Erica) (Entered: 09/23/2022)

Sept. 23, 2022

Sept. 23, 2022

RECAP
38

ORDER OF DISMISSAL WITHOUT PREJUDICE. Signed by Judge Mary S. Scriven on 9/26/2022. (APF) (Entered: 09/26/2022)

Sept. 26, 2022

Sept. 26, 2022

Clearinghouse

Case Details

State / Territory: Florida

Case Type(s):

Education

Speech and Religious Freedom

Key Dates

Filing Date: July 27, 2022

Closing Date: Sept. 26, 2022

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

A nonprofit corporation whose purpose is to advance communities through evangelism.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Non-profit religious organization

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

United States Department of Agriculture, Federal

United States, Federal

Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services, State

President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., Federal

Defendant Type(s):

Jurisdiction-wide

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Religious Freedom Rest. Act/Religious Land Use and Inst. Persons Act (RFRA/RLUIPA)

Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.

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

Ex parte Young (federal or state officials)

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Due Process: Procedural Due Process

Federalism (including 10th Amendment)

Free Exercise Clause

Freedom of speech/association

Equal Protection

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Voluntary Dismissal

Content of Injunction:

Discrimination Prohibition

Issues

General:

Religious programs / policies

School/University policies

Discrimination-basis:

Religion discrimination

Type of Facility:

Non-government non-profit