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Lawsuits - Pending

Wall-DeSousa v. Bowman (formerly Wall-DeSousa v. Florida Department of Motor Vehicles)

Case #: 6:14-cv-1959-ORL-41-DAB
Court Level: Florida Middle District Court (federal) 
Date Filed: 25 November 2014
Date of Appeal:
Ruling Date: 


  • 25 November 2014, a gay Florida married couple who were ordered to change their names or risk losing their driving licenses filed a suit challenging the state's ban on marriage equality.
  • 29 November 2014, Florida Gay Couple Ordered To Change Their Names Challenge State's Gay Marriage Ban - By Carlos SantosCoy, OnTop Magazine
  • 5 December 2014, the Court ordered supplemental briefs from parties addressing whether the preliminary injunction entered in Brenner v. Scott (see Grimsley/Brenner v. Armstrong below) will render moot Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction, and whether this case should be stayed pending the Eleventh Circuit’s resolution of Brenner. The plaintiffs' brief is due 23 December 2014, and the defendants' brief is due 10 January 2015.
  • 9 December 2014, the plaintiffs filed their brief early.
  • 16 December 2014, the plaintiffs filed a motion asking the Court to move the due date for defendants' response forward for an expedited ruling.
  • 19 December 2014, defendant Dianne Dowman filed her opposition to the plaintiffs' motion to expedite.
  • 22 December 2014, the court denied the request to expedite. The defendants brief remains due on 10 January 2015.
  • 9 January 2015, State Defendants' Response to Court’s 5 December 2014 order, and Response from Defendant Dianne Bowman, Supervisor of the Brevard County Tax Collector's Office in Indian Harbour Beach.
  • 14 January 2015, minute entry from today's phone conference - Docket text only: "Proceedings held before Judge Carlos E. Mendoza: TELEPHONE CONFERENCE held on 1/14/2015. Court inquires of plaintiff's counsel as to how this case should proceed in light of the motion for preliminary injunction now being moot. Court also inquires as to plaintiff's position to stay this case pending the final decision of the 11th Circuit in Brenner. Plaintiff requests the case proceed as normal on the substance of the case. Court takes matter under advisement and will issue separate written order. Counsel for pltf: William J. Sheppard; Counsel for defts. Florida Dept. of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and Rhodes: Adam S. Tanenbaum; Counsel for deft. Dowman: Frank Mari. Start time: 9:03 a.m; End time: 9:11 a.m. Court Reporter: Diane Peede (DJD) (Entered: 01/14/2015)"
  • 15 January 2015, the plaintiffs won their case and were issued new drivers licenses in their married, hyphenated last name! Gay couple win name dispute, get new driver's licenses - By Rene Stutzman, Orlando Sentinal
  • 23 January 2015, plaintiffs filed an amended complaint, which removed some defendants and added others, and focused only on a First Amendment claim of retaliation for protected speech. (As previously reported, plaintiffs now have their driver's licenses in their married names.)
  • 23 January 2015, after the amended complaint was filed, Judge Mendoza issued an order which denied the preliminary injunction as moot, terminated the defendants who had been voluntarily dismissed, and ordered the case to be renamed "Wall-DeSousa v. Bowman."
  • 5 February 2015, as previously reported, the plaintiffs amended their complaint to only a First Amendment claim of retaliation for protected speech. Here is the motion to dismiss from defendant Dianne Bowman, Supervisor of the Brevard County Tax Collector’s Office in Indian Harbour Beach, sued in her individual capacity
  • 19 February 2015, the plaintiffs filed their opposition to the motion to dismiss.
  • 3 March 2015, defendants Johnson and Waldon's filed their Motion to Dismiss.
  • 4 June 2015, defendants Johnson and Walden filed a motion to stay discovery pending a decision on the motion to dismiss.
Trepanier v. Heavilin

Case Number:
Court Level: State Trial Court
Date Filed: 21 May 2014


  • This case was filed by a same-sex couple who are particularly concerned about the impact of not being able to marry upon their children.
Dousset v. Florida Atlantic University

Case Number:
Court Level: State Appeal Court
Date Filed:
Date of Appeal:


  • This suit was filed directly in state intermediate appellate court by a gay student who married in Massachusetts, but who was denied in-state tuition by Florida state university due to FL’s ban on recognition of marriages entered into by same-sex couples outside of FL. (The Florida Administrative Procedures Act provides for direct appeal such as this in the case of final state agency decisions.) 
  • 14 May 2014, opening appellate brief and notice of constitutional question to the AG were filed. Oral argument was requested.
Secretary, Florida Department of Health v. Brenner/Grimsley  aka Grimsley/Brenner v. Armstrong (formerly James Domer Brenner et al. v. Rick Scott, etc., et al.)

Case #: 14-14061-AA ; 14-14066 -AA (11th Circuit); 4:14cv-00107-RH-CAS (Federal District Court)
Court Level: 11th Circuit Court of Appeals
Date Consolidated: 21 April 2014 
Date of Appeal: September 2014


  • 21 April 2014, Sloan Grimsley & Joyce Albu, et al., v. FL Governor Rick Scott, et al. and James Domer Brenner & Charles Dean Jones vs. FL Governor Rick Scott were consolidated and the case then known as James Domer Brenner et al. v. Rick Scott, etc., et al.
  • 24 April 2014 U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle denied a motion by Florida Family Action to intervene in James Domer Brenner et al. v. Rick Scott, etc., et al.
  • 12 May 2014, the state filed a Motion to Dismiss.
  • 27 May 2014, the plaintiffs filed their response to the state's motion to dismiss and their reply in support of the Grimsley plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction.motion 
  • 21 August 2014, Judge Hinckle issued a preliminary injunction barring the state of FL from enforcing its ban on marriage equality. Unlike the prior state court decisions, this decision has state-wide effect. The injunction has been stayed, essentially until after the Supreme Court resolves the cases now pending. (Hinckle's ruling was the 38th legal "win" for marriage equality at the federal level since the June 2013 Windsor ruling from SCOTUS.)
  • Of interest: On 29 August 2014, FL Democratic candidate for governor Charlie Crist sent a letter to Republican Gov. Rick Scott urging him not to appeal Judge Hinkle's August 21st ruling that found Florida's ban on marriage equality unconstitutional. In August 2010,  Crist was quoted by CNN as saying, "… when it becomes to the institution of marriage, I believe that it is between a man and a woman, it's just how I feel. MEUSA's Thom Watson commented, "Honestly, the only political label I've ever felt applied to Crist is neither Republican nor Democrat but Opportunist. Still, I'm glad his finger-in-the-wind approach to politics has him making public pronouncements in support of marriage equality... for now." 
  • 1 July 2015, lawyers for the Florida Association of Court Clerks and Comptrollers sent the Association a memo regarding the clerks' duties in light of potential invalidation of Florida's same-sex marriage ban. In this memo the attorneys state that if the ban is found to be invalid, only clerks who are named as parties in the suit are technically bound by the ruling. WHAT!?
  • This case was appealed to the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and on 19 September 2014 the Court noticed the appellants that their opening brief is due by 15 October 2014.
  • 21 October 2014, the plaintiffs filed a motion to submit amicus brief filed in related state court case. Attached: Amicus Brief of the Village of Biscayne Park, Broward County, and the Cities of Tampa, St. Petersburg, Orlando, Miami Beach, and Wilton Manors in filed in support of plaintiffs in Shaw v. Shaw.
  • 24 October 2014, the defendants filed their Joint Opposition to Lifting Stay
  • 28 October 2014, the Grimsley plaintiffs filed their opposition to Florida's motion to continue the stay.
  • 14 November 2014, the defendants filed their Opening Brief.
  • 18 November 2014, Florida is asking the 11th Circuit to extend the stay of the district court's preliminary injunction. The temporary stay is due to expire January 5; Florida wants it extended throughout the 11th Circuit appeal.
  • 26 November 2014, the plaintiffs filed their Opposition to State's request to extend the stay. Brenner opposition; Grimsley opposition.
  • 3 December 2014, the 11th Circuit denied the state's motion for stay pending appeal. The stay in the district court is set to expire after 5 January 2014.
  • 15 December 2014, the Florida Attorney General asked the U.S. Supreme Court to extend the stay currently set to expire at end of day 5 January 2015. They filed an Application to Justice Thomas for a stay of the preliminary injunctions.
  • 15 December 2014, the plaintiffs filed their Answer (Response) Brief in the 11th Circuit appeal. NOTE: This is not a response to the application for a stay that Florida filed with the Supreme Court (bullet immediately above).
  • 15 December 2014, on the application to SCOTUS/Justice Clarence Thomas, to extend the stay on Judge Hinkle's August 21 marriage ruling, Justice Thomas called for a response to the application, due by 5:00pm ET on Thursday, 18 December 2014.
  • 15 December 2014, lawyers for the Florida Association of Court Clerks and Comptrollers sent the Association a revised memo (the original was written on 1 July 2014 - see 1 July bullet above). The Clerks' Association then released a public statement: "Lawyers for the Florida Association of Court Clerks and Comptrollers said in a statement Tuesday that Washington County is the only place named in the federal lawsuit. Clerks in all other counties, according to the association, aren’t bound by U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle’s ruling in August that the gay marriage ban is unconstitutional." Florida clerks association says federal marriage ruling affects only one county - By Curt Anderson, AP, LGBTQNation
  • 16 December 2014, Florida clerks warned: Criminal charges possible for issuing same-sex marriage licenses - By Steve Rothaus, Fay South Florida, Miami Herald
  • 17 December 2014, the Grimsley plaintiffs filed their Response Brief with the 11th Circuit.
  • 18 December 2014, the Grimsley plaintiffs filed their Response in Opposition to Application to Stay Preliminary Injunction Pending Appeal. The Brenner plaintiffs did the same.
  • 18 December 2014, Florida couples oppose more delay on same-sex marriage - By Lyle Denniston, SCOTUSblog
  • 19 December 2014, SCOTUS denied the Stay and referred this case to full the Court. Woot! (Justices Scalia and Thomas would have granted the stay.)
  • 19 December 2014, Supreme Court won’t halt Florida same-sex marriages - By Chris Johnson, Washington Blade
  • 21 December 2014, Fla Attorney: I'm Willing To Sue All Clerks Of Court Who Refuse To Issue Marriage Licenses - Daily Kos
  • 22 December 2014, Equality Florida urges clerks to issue marriage licenses - By Jim Saunders, News Service of Florida
  • 22 December 2014, Gay Groups Vow To Sue Any Clerks Who Refuse to Issue Same-Sex Marriage License on January 6th - By Kyle Munzenrieder, Miami New Time Newsletter, Rainbow Connection
  • 23 December 2014, defendant Washington County Clerk of Court filed an Emergency Motion for Clarification and Memorandum of Law asking the federal judge to clarify whether the injunction requires that she issue a license to any qualified same-sex couple who applies or if it only mandates that she issue a license to one unmarried couple who brought the suit.
  • 24 December 2014, Judge Hinkle ordered the Secretary of the Department of Management Services to file a response to the Washington County Clerk of Court's motion for clarification. The Surgeon General (the other state defendant) and Plaintiffs may file responses. All responses due 29 December 29 2014. In other developments, The National Center for Lesbian Rights sent a memo to the Florida County Court Clerks, outlining the argument for the injunction applying statewide to all county clerks.
  • 26 December 2014, Florida clerks won't give gays marriage licenses - By Mike Schneider and Melissa Nelson-Gabriel, AP
  • 27 December 2014, How Florida Officials Plan To Undermine A Federal Marriage Equality Order - By Zack Ford, ThinkProgress
  • 29 December 2014, Pam Bondi Is 'Loser of 2014,' And 'Modern-Day Anita Bryant' Says Top Florida Paper - By David Badash, The New Civil Rights Movement
  • 29 December 2014, Target, Amazon Among Companies Asking Court To Strike Down Florida's Gay Marriage Ban - By Carlos Santoscoy, ON TOP Magazine
  • 29 December 2014, Equality Case Files has gathered the Amicus Briefs filed with the 11th Circuit into two collections: Briefs in support of the state defendants; and, Briefs in support of the plaintiffs.
  • 29 December 2014, responses to Washington County Clerk's motion for clarification: Florida Attorney General on behalf of the Department of Management Service Secretary; Brenner Plaintiffs; Grimsley PlaintiffsNCLR and Equality Florida ask to file response memo; and, Florida Family Action Inc.
  • 29 December 2014, AG Office media statement on the state's response:
    "Pursuant to an order from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, the Attorney General’s Office today filed the attached response to the Washington County Clerk of Court’s Emergency Motion for Clarification.
    "The widespread confusion that now exists, as evidenced by multiple media reports, is precisely what the Attorney General’s Office sought to avoid while seeking a stay pending final resolution in favor of either side of the issue.
    As stated in the response filed today, if the federal court intended the injunction to have effects beyond those that appear on its face, the court may wish to provide appropriate clarification."
  • 29 December 2014, re: the above, Pam Bondi's Response To Federal Judge: I Told You So - By David Badash, The New Civil Rights Movement
  • 1 January 2015, federal district court Judge Robert L. Hinkle issued his ruling on the scope of the federal injunction, confirming his marriage ruling in a new order stating that clerks of ALL Florida counties should issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples after his stay expires end of day 5 January 20151 January 2015, or face the consequences of not doing so (the probability of additional suits and plaintiffs and likelihood of incurring increased attorney costs, etc.). Woot! Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi released a statement saying, she "will not stand in the way as clerks of court determine how to proceed." Please read this clarification from Kathleen Perrin of Equality Case Files carefully: Here's how I read it: He's saying the injunction can only compel as to defendants and plaintiffs currently before the Court. But, he's saying the Constitution requires other officials to stop enforcing the ban and warning anyone who chooses to continue enforcement that it's a simple matter for other parties to join in the lawsuit - even to certify entire classes of parties - and expand the scope of the explicit injunction and "allow successful plaintiffs to recover costs and attorney’s fees."
  • 1 January 2015, Nancy Brodzki, Esq., trial counsel for Heather Brassner in Brassner v. Lade, Florida's first successful same-sex divorce case case, immediately issued a statement in response to Judge Hinkle's ruling.
  • 2 January 2015, Same-sex marriage: Close to reality in Florida - By Lyle Tuttle, SCOTUSblog
  • 3 January 2015, the defendants filed notice that they will not file a reply brief and "the appeal may be submitted to the Court." 
  • 6 January 2015, marriage equality has come to Florida! (Same-sex marriage is legal.)
  • 4 February 2015, the 11th Circuit is putting the Alabama and Florida appeals on hold and "any other current or future appeals that are filed in this Court raising the same or similar issues," pending a decision from the U.S. Supreme Court in the marriage cases.
Shaw v. Shaw

Case Number:
Court Level: State Appeal Court
Date Filed: 17 March 2014
Date of Appeal: 16 May 2014


  • A married same-sex couple are seeking a dissolution ("divorce").
  • 22 April 2014, argument was heard. 
  • 9 May 2014, the judge issued a decision refusing to grant the dissolution based on the state’s ban on marriage equality. 
  • 16 May 2014, a notice of appeal to the second district court of appeals was filed. 
  • 28 May 2014, a notice of cross appeal was filed.
Sloan Grimsley & Joyce Albu, et al., v. FL Governor Rick Scott, et al.

Case #:
Court Level:
Federal District Court
Date Filed: 12 March 2014
Date of Consolidation: 21 April 2014


  • ACLU filed a federal lawsuit for 8 same-gender couples and SAVE, challenging the FL ban on recognizing marriage licenses from elsewhere.
  • 21 April 2014, this case was consolidated with James Domer Brenner & Charles Dean Jones vs. FL Governor Rick Scott.
  • The consolidated case is James Domer Brenner et al. v. Rick Scott, etc., et al. - see above.
James Domer Brenner & Charles Dean Jones vs. FL Governor Rick Scott

Case #: 4:14-CV-00107-RH-CAS
Court Level:
Date Filed: 28 February 2014
Date of Consolidation: 21 April 2014


  • A federal suit seeking FL recognition of the couple’s same-gender civil marriage in Canada in 2009.
  • This case was consolidated with Sloan Grimsley & Joyce Albu, et al., v. FL Governor Rick Scott, et al. on 21 April 2014.
  • The consolidated case is James Domer Brenner et al. v. Rick Scott, etc., et al. - see above.
  • appeals: Pareto and Huntsman.
Becker v. UCF

Case #: 2013- CA-5265-0
Court Level: State Court
Date Filed: March 2013
Circuit Court Ruling: 17 April 2014
Date of Appeal: Notice of new case 20 May 2014


  • John Becker filed a lawsuit against UCF in March 2013 when he was denied emails related to Mark Regnerus’s New Family Structures Study — a then controversial, and now discredited, study on gay and lesbian parenting.
  • In his 7 November 2013 a state judge ruled that FL must disclose records showing who approved Associate Professor Mark Regnerus’ anti-LGBT parenting study, how it got published immediately, and why no qualified peers reviewed it.
  • On 22 November 2013, FL hired former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Wells to fight the release of over 50,000 public records related to the publication of the Regnerus study. Also, Judge Donald Grincewicz who had handled the case since its start in spring 2013, recused himself from further involvement, and an appellate court granted a stay in the case until a replacement judge was appointed.
  • 17 April 2014 the replacement circuit court judge ruled that UCF did not have to release its records.
  • Becker said he will file an appeal and on 20 May 2014 a clerk with the Fifth District Court of Appeals said notice of a new case had been created in Becker v. UCF, though no documents had been filed at that time.

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