Case: West v. Natchez, Mississippi

5:15-cv-00046 | U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi

Filed Date: May 22, 2015

Closed Date: March 24, 2016

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

This is a case about challenging the legality and constitutionality of the ward districting plan adopted by the City of Natchez, Mississippi, under the principle of "one person, one vote." On May 22, 2015, individual African American registered voters and citizens of Natchez, Mississippi, filed suit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, Western Division. The case was assigned to the United States District Judge Keith Starrett. Plaintiffs sued Natchez, Mis…

This is a case about challenging the legality and constitutionality of the ward districting plan adopted by the City of Natchez, Mississippi, under the principle of "one person, one vote." On May 22, 2015, individual African American registered voters and citizens of Natchez, Mississippi, filed suit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, Western Division. The case was assigned to the United States District Judge Keith Starrett.

Plaintiffs sued Natchez, Mississippi under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, and the Equal Protection Clause via § 1983. Represented by private counsel, plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief. Plaintiffs alleged that the 2003 ward plan violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act by diluting the voting strength of African-American citizens, violated the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments because it was enacted with the discriminatory purpose of diluting African-American voting strength, and violated the Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection Clause’s “one-man-one-vote” principle. Plaintiffs sought a declaration that the existing Natchez, Mississippi aldermanic redistricting plan based on 2000 census data had a 25.49 percent total deviation and therefore violated the one person one vote principle of the Fourteenth Amendment. Plaintiffs also sought an injunction against: any further use of the existing six aldermanic ward redistricting plan including its use in the May 3, 2016 municipal primary elections in Natchez, Mississippi; and any future use of the six aldermanic ward plan based on the 2000 census data. Finally, plaintiffs sought an order effecting an aldermanic redistricting plan under Upham v. Seamon, 456 U.S. 37 (1982) to conduct aldermanic primary elections in Natchez, Mississippi on May 3, 2016, or ordering new elections be held in six months from a constitutional and statutory plan. In addition to declaratory and injunctive relief, plaintiffs sought attorneys' fees.

On July 8, 2015, plaintiffs filed a preliminary injunction seeking the relief described above, while defendants filed their response in opposition on July 27, 2015.

On September 24, 2015, the court denied plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction. In the order, the court held that plaintiffs failed to demonstrate that there was a substantial risk of irreparable injury if they were not granted a preliminary injunction, given that a bench trial was scheduled for early February 2016, and the parties did not object to this schedule or otherwise indicate that a February trial would not resolve this matter in a sufficient amount of time before the May elections.

Defendant filed a motion to dismiss on January 5, 2016, which the court granted on March 24, 2016. In the order, the court reasoned that the case was moot and no longer presented a live case or controversy, given that Natchez, Mississippi passed an ordinance adopting the new ward plan, submitted the new plan to the Attorney General and Governor for approval, and delivered it to the Secretary of State for recording. Plaintiffs' claims were dismissed without precedent. 2016 WL 1178771.

This case is closed.

Summary Authors

Tatsushi Nishizaki (2/14/2024)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document
1

5:15-cv-00046

Complaint

May 22, 2015

May 22, 2015

Complaint

2016 WL 2016

10

5:15-cv-00046

Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction to Enjoin Malapportioned Ward Plan and for Court Ordered Relief

July 8, 2015

July 8, 2015

Pleading / Motion / Brief

2016 WL 2016

11

5:15-cv-00046

Plaintiffs' Memorandum of Authorities in Support of Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction and for Court Ordered Relief

July 8, 2015

July 8, 2015

Pleading / Motion / Brief

2016 WL 2016

13

5:15-cv-00046

Defendant’s Response in Opposition to Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction

July 27, 2015

July 27, 2015

Pleading / Motion / Brief

2016 WL 2016

14

5:15-cv-00046

Defendant’s Memorandum of Authorities In Opposition to Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction

July 27, 2015

July 27, 2015

Pleading / Motion / Brief

2016 WL 2016

23

5:15-cv-00046

Plaintiffs’ Reply to Defendant’s Response in Opposition to Plaintiff’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction

Aug. 11, 2015

Aug. 11, 2015

Pleading / Motion / Brief

2016 WL 2016

28

5:15-cv-00046

Order

Sept. 24, 2015

Sept. 24, 2015

Order/Opinion

2016 WL 2016

39

5:15-cv-00046

Defendant Natchez, Mississippi’s Motion to Dismiss

Jan. 5, 2016

Jan. 5, 2016

Pleading / Motion / Brief

2016 WL 2016

40

5:15-cv-00046

Defendant Natchez, Mississippi’s Memorandum of Authorities in Support of Motion to Dismiss

Jan. 5, 2016

Jan. 5, 2016

Pleading / Motion / Brief

2016 WL 2016

68

5:15-cv-00046

Memorandum Opinion and Order

March 24, 2016

March 24, 2016

Order/Opinion

2016 WL 2016

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4302466/west-v-natchez-mississippi/

Last updated April 11, 2024, 3:07 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
1

COMPLAINT against Natchez, Mississippi ( Filing fee $ 400 receipt number 34643033449), filed by Phillip C. West, Clifton E. Marvez, Sr, Mary Lee Toles, Jacqueline Marshall. (Attachments: # 1 Civil Cover Sheet)(cwl) (Entered: 05/22/2015)

1 Civil Cover Sheet

View on PACER

May 22, 2015

May 22, 2015

Clearinghouse
2

Summons Issued as to Natchez, Mississippi. (cwl) (Entered: 05/22/2015)

May 22, 2015

May 22, 2015

PACER
3

SUMMONS Returned Executed by Phillip C. West, Clifton E. Marvez, Sr, Mary Lee Toles, Jacqueline Marshall Natchez, Mississippi served on 5/4/2015, answer due 5/26/2015. (Turnage, Ellis) (Entered: 06/10/2015)

June 10, 2015

June 10, 2015

PACER
4

NOTICE of Appearance by J. Chadwick Mask on behalf of Natchez, Mississippi (Mask, J.) (Entered: 06/16/2015)

June 16, 2015

June 16, 2015

PACER
5

NOTICE of Appearance by Clifton M. Decker on behalf of Natchez, Mississippi (Decker, Clifton) (Entered: 06/16/2015)

June 16, 2015

June 16, 2015

PACER
6

NOTICE of Appearance by Christopher H. Coleman on behalf of Natchez, Mississippi (Coleman, Christopher) (Entered: 06/16/2015)

June 16, 2015

June 16, 2015

PACER
7

NOTICE of Appearance by Edgar Hyde Carby on behalf of Natchez, Mississippi (Carby, Edgar) (Entered: 06/23/2015)

June 23, 2015

June 23, 2015

PACER
8

ANSWER to 1 Complaint by Natchez, Mississippi.(Mask, J.) (Entered: 06/23/2015)

June 23, 2015

June 23, 2015

PACER
9

Rule 16(a) Initial Order: Telephonic Case Management Conference set for 8/5/2015 11:30 AM before Magistrate Judge Michael T. Parker. The parties are to dial 1.888.273.3658, code 1055457 to connect to the court's conference line. Confidential settlement memoranda are due on or before 7/31/15. (KPM) (Entered: 06/24/2015)

June 24, 2015

June 24, 2015

PACER
10

MOTION for Preliminary Injunction by Jacqueline Marshall, Clifton E. Marvez, Sr, Mary Lee Toles, Phillip C. West (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit The NM existing plan statistic prepared by Holland and Rigby, # 2 Exhibit The April 30, 2012 USAG Section 5 objection Letter)(Turnage, Ellis) (Entered: 07/08/2015)

1 Exhibit The NM existing plan statistic prepared by Holland and Rigby

View on PACER

2 Exhibit The April 30, 2012 USAG Section 5 objection Letter

View on PACER

July 8, 2015

July 8, 2015

Clearinghouse
11

MEMORANDUM in Support re 10 MOTION for Preliminary Injunction filed by Jacqueline Marshall, Clifton E. Marvez, Sr, Mary Lee Toles, Phillip C. West (Turnage, Ellis) (Entered: 07/08/2015)

July 8, 2015

July 8, 2015

Clearinghouse
12

ORDER setting deadlines re 10 MOTION for Preliminary Injunction filed by Jacqueline Marshall, Clifton E. Marvez, Sr., Phillip C. West, Mary Lee Toles. Defendants shall respond on or before 7/27/2015; Plaintiffs' rebuttal, if any, shall be filed on or before 8/6/2015. Signed by District Judge Keith Starrett on 7/10/2015 (scp) (Entered: 07/10/2015)

July 10, 2015

July 10, 2015

PACER
13

RESPONSE in Opposition re 10 MOTION for Preliminary Injunction filed by Natchez, Mississippi (Mask, J.) (Entered: 07/27/2015)

July 27, 2015

July 27, 2015

Clearinghouse
14

MEMORANDUM in Opposition re 10 MOTION for Preliminary Injunction filed by Natchez, Mississippi (Mask, J.) (Entered: 07/27/2015)

July 27, 2015

July 27, 2015

Clearinghouse
15

NOTICE of Service of Defendant's Initial Disclosure by Natchez, Mississippi (Mask, J.) (Entered: 07/29/2015)

July 29, 2015

July 29, 2015

PACER
16

NOTICE of Service of Plaintiffs Initial Disclosure by Jacqueline Marshall, Clifton E. Marvez, Sr, Mary Lee Toles, Phillip C. West (Turnage, Ellis) (Entered: 07/29/2015)

July 29, 2015

July 29, 2015

PACER
17

CASE MANAGEMENT ORDER: The parties do not consent; Supplemental Disclosures due by 8/14/2015; Motions for Amended Pleadings due by 9/1/2015; Motions for Joinder of Parties due by 9/1/2015; Designate Experts Plaintiff Deadline due by 9/30/2015; Designate Experts for Defendant Deadline due by 10/30/2015; Discovery due by 12/1/2015; Motions due by 1/12/2016; Pretrial Conference set for 1/14/2016 before District Judge Keith Starrett; Bench Trial set for a two week term beginning 2/1/2016 before District Judge Keith Starrett; ETT: 5 days; settlement conference or private mediation to be completed by discovery deadline. Signed by Magistrate Judge Michael T. Parker on August 5, 2015 (KPM) (Entered: 08/05/2015)

Aug. 5, 2015

Aug. 5, 2015

PACER
18

MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply by Jacqueline Marshall, Clifton E. Marvez, Sr, Mary Lee Toles, Phillip C. West (Turnage, Ellis) (Entered: 08/06/2015)

Aug. 6, 2015

Aug. 6, 2015

PACER
19

NOTICE of Service of Interrogatories by Jacqueline Marshall, Clifton E. Marvez, Sr, Mary Lee Toles, Phillip C. West (Turnage, Ellis) (Entered: 08/10/2015)

Aug. 10, 2015

Aug. 10, 2015

PACER
20

NOTICE of Service of Request for Admissions by Jacqueline Marshall, Clifton E. Marvez, Sr, Mary Lee Toles, Phillip C. West (Turnage, Ellis) (Entered: 08/10/2015)

Aug. 10, 2015

Aug. 10, 2015

PACER
21

NOTICE of Service of Request for Production by Jacqueline Marshall, Clifton E. Marvez, Sr, Mary Lee Toles, Phillip C. West (Turnage, Ellis) (Entered: 08/10/2015)

Aug. 10, 2015

Aug. 10, 2015

PACER
22

Second MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply by Jacqueline Marshall, Clifton E. Marvez, Sr, Mary Lee Toles, Phillip C. West (Turnage, Ellis) (Entered: 08/10/2015)

Aug. 10, 2015

Aug. 10, 2015

PACER
23

REPLY to Response to Motion re 13 Response in Opposition to Motion for Preliminary Injunction, document 10, filed by Jacqueline Marshall, Clifton E. Marvez, Sr, Mary Lee Toles, Phillip C. West (Turnage, Ellis) Modified on 8/12/2015 (PKM). (Entered: 08/11/2015)

Aug. 11, 2015

Aug. 11, 2015

Clearinghouse
24

NOTICE of Service of Corrected First Set Interrogatories by Jacqueline Marshall, Clifton E. Marvez, Sr, Mary Lee Toles, Phillip C. West (Turnage, Ellis) (Entered: 08/14/2015)

Aug. 14, 2015

Aug. 14, 2015

PACER
25

NOTICE of Service of Corrected First Set Request for Production by Jacqueline Marshall, Clifton E. Marvez, Sr, Mary Lee Toles, Phillip C. West (Turnage, Ellis) (Entered: 08/14/2015)

Aug. 14, 2015

Aug. 14, 2015

PACER
26

NOTICE of Service of Corrected First Set Request for Admissions by Jacqueline Marshall, Clifton E. Marvez, Sr, Mary Lee Toles, Phillip C. West (Turnage, Ellis) (Entered: 08/14/2015)

Aug. 14, 2015

Aug. 14, 2015

PACER
27

Unopposed MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response to Plaintiffs' Discovery Requests by Natchez, Mississippi (Mask, J.) (Entered: 09/10/2015)

Sept. 10, 2015

Sept. 10, 2015

PACER
28

ORDER denying Plaintiffs' 10 Motion for Preliminary Injunction. Signed by District Judge Keith Starrett on September 24, 2015 (dsl) (Entered: 09/24/2015)

Sept. 24, 2015

Sept. 24, 2015

Clearinghouse
29

NOTICE of Service of Response to Request for Admissions by Natchez, Mississippi (Decker, Clifton) (Entered: 09/30/2015)

Sept. 30, 2015

Sept. 30, 2015

PACER
30

NOTICE of Service of Response to Interrogatories by Natchez, Mississippi (Decker, Clifton) (Entered: 09/30/2015)

Sept. 30, 2015

Sept. 30, 2015

PACER
31

NOTICE of Service of Response to Request for Production by Natchez, Mississippi (Decker, Clifton) (Entered: 09/30/2015)

Sept. 30, 2015

Sept. 30, 2015

PACER
32

NOTICE of Service of Designation of Experts by Natchez, Mississippi (Decker, Clifton) (Entered: 09/30/2015)

Sept. 30, 2015

Sept. 30, 2015

PACER
33

NOTICE of Service of Request for Production by Natchez, Mississippi (Decker, Clifton) (Entered: 10/01/2015)

Oct. 1, 2015

Oct. 1, 2015

PACER
34

NOTICE of Service of Interrogatories by Natchez, Mississippi (Decker, Clifton) (Entered: 10/01/2015)

Oct. 1, 2015

Oct. 1, 2015

PACER
35

NOTICE of Service of Request for Admissions by Natchez, Mississippi (Decker, Clifton) (Entered: 10/01/2015)

Oct. 1, 2015

Oct. 1, 2015

PACER
36

NOTICE of Service of Plaintiffs' Response to Request for Admissions by Jacqueline Marshall, Clifton E. Marvez, Sr, Mary Lee Toles, Phillip C. West (Turnage, Ellis) (Entered: 10/02/2015)

Oct. 2, 2015

Oct. 2, 2015

PACER
37

NOTICE of Service of Designation of Experts by Jacqueline Marshall, Clifton E. Marvez, Sr, Mary Lee Toles, Phillip C. West (Turnage, Ellis) (Entered: 10/30/2015)

Oct. 30, 2015

Oct. 30, 2015

PACER
38

NOTICE of Hearing: Pretrial Conference set for 1/14/2016 at 01:30 PM in Courtroom 1 (Hattiesburg) before District Judge Keith Starrett (scp) (Entered: 12/23/2015)

Dec. 23, 2015

Dec. 23, 2015

PACER
39

MOTION to Dismiss by Natchez, Mississippi (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A-Preliminary Expert Report of Michael Slaughter, P.E., # 2 Exhibit B-Declaration of William S. Cooper, # 3 Exhibit C-Natchez's November 24, 2015 Redistricting Ordinance)(Mask, J.) (Entered: 01/05/2016)

1 Exhibit A-Preliminary Expert Report of Michael Slaughter, P.E.

View on PACER

2 Exhibit B-Declaration of William S. Cooper

View on PACER

3 Exhibit C-Natchez's November 24, 2015 Redistricting Ordinance

View on PACER

Jan. 5, 2016

Jan. 5, 2016

Clearinghouse
40

MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT re 39 MOTION to Dismiss filed by Natchez, Mississippi (Mask, J.) (Entered: 01/05/2016)

Jan. 5, 2016

Jan. 5, 2016

Clearinghouse
41

ORDER Setting Deadlines re 39 MOTION to Dismiss filed by Natchez, Mississippi. Plaintffs' response is due on or before 1/22/2016; Defendant's rebuttal, if any, is due on or before 2/2/2016. Signed by District Judge Keith Starrett on 1/8/2016 (scp) (Entered: 01/08/2016)

Jan. 8, 2016

Jan. 8, 2016

PACER
42

Unopposed MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply re: document 39, Motion to Dismiss, by Jacqueline Marshall, Clifton E. Marvez, Sr, Mary Lee Toles, Phillip C. West (Turnage, Ellis) Modified on 1/21/2016 (PKM). (Entered: 01/21/2016)

Jan. 21, 2016

Jan. 21, 2016

PACER
68

ORDER granting 39 Motion to Dismiss; denying 48 Motion for Declaratory Judgment; denying 53 Motion to Strike ; granting 60 Motion for Leave to File. Plaintiff's claims are dismissed without prejudice. This case is closed. Signed by District Judge Keith Starrett on 3/24/2016 (scp)

March 24, 2016

March 24, 2016

RECAP

Case Details

State / Territory: Mississippi

Case Type(s):

Election/Voting Rights

Special Collection(s):

Law Firm Antiracism Alliance (LFAA) project

Key Dates

Filing Date: May 22, 2015

Closing Date: March 24, 2016

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

African American registered voters and citizens of Natchez, Mississippi

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Natches, Mississippi, City

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)

Constitutional Clause(s):

Equal Protection

Fifteenth Amendment

Available Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Non-settlement Outcome

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Defendant

Nature of Relief:

Declaratory Judgment

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Content of Injunction:

Preliminary relief denied

Issues

Affected Race(s):

Black

Voting:

Vote dilution

Voting: General & Misc.