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Case Name Does v. Trump PB-WI-0005
Docket / Court 3:20-cv-00430-jdp ( W.D. Wis. )
State/Territory Wisconsin
Case Type(s) Public Benefits / Government Services
Special Collection COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)
Case Summary
COVID-19 Summary: This is a class action filed on May 6, 2020 against the U.S. government to challenge the Exclusion Provision of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). The plaintiff sought declaratory and injunctive relief as well as a TRO prohibiting the defendants ... read more >
COVID-19 Summary: This is a class action filed on May 6, 2020 against the U.S. government to challenge the Exclusion Provision of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). The plaintiff sought declaratory and injunctive relief as well as a TRO prohibiting the defendants from enforcing the Exclusion Provision. On June 12, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss the case or in the alternative, to stay the case given that similar complaints already were filed in seven different U.S. District Courts. This case was dismissed in August 2020.


On May 6, 2020, an individual married to a spouse without a social security number (SSN) filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government to challenge the Exclusion Provision of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). The plaintiffs alleged that 26 U.S.C. § 6428 (the Exclusion Provision), as enacted by Section 2101 of the CARES Act, violated due process, equal protection, and the penumbra of privacy rights under the First, Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments. The plaintiffs filed this action at the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin as a declaratory and injunctive action under 28 U.S.C. §§ 2201-02 and 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Represented by private attorneys, the plaintiff’s proposed class sought to include all U.S. citizens married to a spouse without an SSN, and who filed joint tax returns with immigrants who would otherwise qualify. The plaintiff sought declaratory and injunctive relief enjoining the enforcement of the Exclusion Provision and an order requiring the defendants to hold in escrow or earmark sufficient funds to issue Stimulus Checks to the proposed class. The plaintiff also sought attorney fees and class certification, and also requested a jury trial. The case was assigned to District Judge James D. Peterson and Magistrate Judge Stephen L. Crocker.

On March 27, President Trump announced the CARES Act aimed to provide emergency assistance and health care response to individuals and families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The CARES Act authorized the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to distribute $1200.00 to each eligible individual who is U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or qualifying residing aliens with a valid SSN. Under Section 6428, or the Exclusion Provision, the applicant was also required to provide a “valid identification number,” or, an SSN of their spouse on their tax returns. The plaintiff, married to an immigrant with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) but without an SSN, did not qualify for the Advance Payment.

The plaintiff argued that her exclusion from eligibility on the basis of her choice to marry a non-citizen was a violation of her First Amendment rights. Moreover, the plaintiff alleged that the Exclusion clause was against the due process and equal protection clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments as it infringed her fundamental choice to marry whom she wished. The plaintiff also argued that Section 6428 was not narrowly tailored to advance a compelling government interest, no rationally related to any legitimate government interest.

On June 12, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss the case or in the alternative, to stay the case given that similar complaints already were filed in several other U.S. District Courts.

On August 7, the plaintiffs filed a joint stipulation to stay the case, and on August 10, the court dismissed the case without prejudice on the grounds that one or more of Does v. Trump (PB-WI-0004), Doe v. Trump (PB-IL-0014), or Doe v. Trump (PB-CA-0055), could be dispositive. PB-CA-0055 and PB-IL-0014 only PB-WI-004 were voluntarily dismissed, and only PB-WI-0004 is believed to be ongoing.

Averyn Lee - 07/12/2020
Zofia Peach - 03/11/2021


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Due Process: Substantive Due Process
Equal Protection
Freedom of speech/association
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-basis
Family discrimination
Immigration status
General
Disparate Treatment
Marriage
Public assistance grants
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Defendant(s) Acting Secretary of the U.S. Department of Treasury
President of the United States
Senator and Sponsor of the CARES Act
U.S. Commissioner of Internal Revenue
U.S. Department of the Treasury
U.S. Internal Revenue Service
United States of America
Plaintiff Description All United States Citizens married to immigrants that file joint taxes wherein the immigrant-spouses file tax returns using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number who would have otherwise qualified for the Stimulus Check.
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status outcome Mooted before ruling
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Filed 05/06/2020
Case Closing Year 2020
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing PB-WI-0004 : Does v. Trump (E.D. Wis.)
PB-CA-0055 : Doe v. Trump (C.D. Cal.)
PB-IL-0014 : Doe v. Trump (N.D. Ill.)
Additional Resources
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Court Docket(s)
W.D. Wis.
08/10/2020
3:20-cv-00430-jdp
PB-WI-0005-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
W.D. Wis.
05/06/2020
Class Action Complaint [ECF# 1]
PB-WI-0005-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
W.D. Wis.
06/12/2020
The United States' Motion to Dismiss or in the Alternative to Stay this Action and Memorandum in Support of the United States' Motion to Dismiss or in the Alternative to Stay this Action [ECF# 2 & 3]
PB-WI-0005-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Crocker, Stephen L. (W.D. Wis.) [Magistrate] show/hide docs
PB-WI-0005-9000
Peterson, James Donald (W.D. Wis.) show/hide docs
PB-WI-0005-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Abuzir, Omar A (Illinois) show/hide docs
PB-WI-0005-0002
Blaise, Heather Lea (Illinois) show/hide docs
PB-WI-0005-0002
Gavin, Elisabeth Anne (Illinois) show/hide docs
PB-WI-0005-0002
Khalaf, Vivian R (Illinois) show/hide docs
PB-WI-0005-0002
Moore, Guinevere Marie (Illinois) show/hide docs
PB-WI-0005-9000
Nassar, Lana B (Illinois) show/hide docs
PB-WI-0005-0002
Nitschke, Thomas John (Illinois) show/hide docs
PB-WI-0005-0002 | PB-WI-0005-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Conway, David Daly (Wisconsin) show/hide docs
PB-WI-0005-9000
Hurley, Charles P (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-WI-0005-0001 | PB-WI-0005-9000
Robins, Samuel Peter (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-WI-0005-0001 | PB-WI-0005-9000

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