Latta v. Otter
Full name Susan Latta, et al. v. C.L. "Butch" Otter, et al.
Filed 2013-01-08
Plaintiffs Susan Latta and Traci Ehlers; Lori Watsen and Sharene Watsen; Shelia Robertson and Andrea Altmayer; and Amber Beierle and Rachael Robertson
Defendants C.L. "Butch" Otter, as Governor of the State of Idaho, in his official capacity; Christopher Rich, as Recorder of Ada County, Idaho, in his official capacity
Intervenor-Defendants State of Idaho
Court United States District Court for the District of Idaho
Current status Replies to motions to dismiss due March 7; Responses to motions for summary judgment due March 14; hearing scheduled May 5

Latta v. Otter is a 2013-2014 Idaho federal court case challenging the constitutional marriage ban and corresponding statutes, as well as state recognition of out-of-state marriages. The case was filed on November 8, 2013 under case number 1:13-cv-482, and was assigned to Judge Candy Dale.

Background[edit | edit source]

Original Complaint[edit | edit source]

On November 8, 2013, the plaintiffs, four same-sex couples, filed a complaint against the Governor and the Ada County Recorder. The parties conferred and set a deadline of January 13, 2014, for the defendants to file an answer or otherwise respond to the complaint.

On January 7 through 9, the parties filed their scheduling conference forms, laying out three possible schedules upon which the case might proceed. All parties agreed that no additional parties should be added, nor amended complaints be filed, after January 31. They also agreed that the case is likely to be decided based on motions from the parties, rather than needing a trial, and did not anticipate needing to conduct factual discovery or call witnesses. But in the event that the case was not decided on motions, all parties reserved the right to conduct discovery and call witnesses, deferring the scheduling on that contingency if the need arises. Their plans beyond that differed greatly:

  • The plaintiffs propose setting a deadline of April 30 for all dispositive motions, including motions for summary judgment.
  • The Governor proposes setting a deadline of February 17 for any motions for summary judgment, with responses due March 17. All other dispositive motions would be due by May 5.
  • The Recorder proposes waiting until the motion to dismiss is ruled on before specifically setting any other deadlines, but suggests that initial witness lists be exchanged 14 days after the motion is decided; factual discovery be completed 75 days after the motion is decided; expert witness reports be exchanged 30, 60, and 75 days after factual discovery is complete; and that dispositive motions be due 30 days after the final expert witness reports are exchanged.

On January 9, the Recorder filed a motion to dismiss; on January 28, the State of Idaho did the same. And on January 13, the Governor filed an answer to the complaint.

Intervention by the State[edit | edit source]

On December 11, the State of Idaho filed a motion to intervene in the case as a defendant. The defendants did not object to the State intervening, but the plaintiffs did, responding on December 24. The State replied on January 9, 2014 in defense of its intervention.

Oral argument was heard on January 16, and on January 21, the court decided to allow Idaho to intervene.

First Amended Complaint[edit | edit source]

On January 29, the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint. The differences between the original and the first amended complaint are as follows:

  • In Paragraph 11, "In fourteen states and the District of Columbia, same-sex couples are marrying" has been changed to "In seventeen states and the District of Columbia, same-sex couples are marrying or will be able to do so in the coming months". The footnote referencing Illinois, New Mexico, and Hawaii as potential upcoming marriage states was removed.
  • Paragraphs 16 and 18 were added, describing the steps some of the plaintiffs had taken to re-deed their respective property as "community property with right of survivorship". These paragraphs noted that Idaho may not recognize this as a valid deed because that is limited by statute to "husband and wife", thus adding another point of dispute for the court to resolve.
  • In Paragraph 21, a citation to Article VI of the state Constitution was corrected to refer to Article IV.
  • Paragraph 23 was added, describing the State of Idaho as waiving its Eleventh Amendment right to sovereign immunity by its express interest in joining the case.
  • Sub-paragraph 34(b) was updated, describing more fully the inability of same-sex couples to hold community property.
  • Sub-paragraph 34(h) was updated to refer to a new development in the state legislature, the passage of HB375 in the House of Representatives. This bill would require same-sex couples who file joint federal income tax returns to file their state returns separately, creating an exception to the law which requires state income taxes to be filed using the same status as on federal taxes.
  • Paragraphs 72 and 85, which stated that classification on the basis of sexual orientation should be subject to heightened scrutiny, were amended to refer to SmithKline Beecham Corp. v. Abbott Laboratories, a recent Ninth Circuit decision says they must be.

The following day, January 30, the Clerk and the State filed a joint motion to dismiss, relying on their memoranda in support of their motion to dismiss the original complaint. On February 18, the plaintiffs filed their responses in opposition to the motion to dismiss. The Clerk and State have until March 7 to file a reply in support.

And on January 31, the Governor filed his reply, with the following amendments:

  • New Paragraphs 16 and 18 were denied, on the basis that the Governor was without sufficient knowledge to admit or deny them.
  • The Governor's complaint about the erroneous citation in Paragraph 21 was removed, after the citation was corrected.
  • New Paragraph 23 was neither admitted nor denied, on the basis that the paragraph included conclusions of law.

Notably, the Governor's answers in paragraphs 23, 43, 72, and 74, as well as his Second and Sixth Defenses, citing Baker v. Nelson and High Tech Gays v. Defense Industry Security Clearance Office, ignore the developments in SmithKline v. Abbott, which indicate those are no longer binding precedent in the Ninth Circuit.

The motion to dismiss is still pending. A hearing is scheduled for May 5.

Motions for Summary Judgment[edit | edit source]

On February 18, both the Plaintiffs and the Governor filed motions for summary judgment, and memoranda in support. Opposing parties have until March 14 to file their responses in opposition. A hearing is scheduled for May 5.

  • 2014-02-18: #45: Motion for Summary Judgment by Plaintiffs
    • 2014-02-18: #46: Statement of Facts
    • 2014-02-18: #47: Declaration of Michael Lamb
    • 2014-02-18: #48: Declaration of Susan Latta
    • 2014-02-18: #49: Declaration of Traci Ehlers
    • 2014-02-18: #50: Declaration of Lori Watsen
    • 2014-02-18: #51: Declaration of Sharene Watsen
    • 2014-02-18: #52: Declaration of Andrea Altmayer
    • 2014-02-18: #53: Declaration of Shelia Robertson
    • 2014-02-18: #54: Declaration of Amber Beierle
    • 2014-02-18: #55: Declaration of Rachael Robertson
    • 2014-02-18: #58: Table of contents for appendices
    • 2014-02-18: #59: Memorandum in Support
  • 2014-02-18: #57: Motion for Summary Judgment by Defendant Otter
    • 2014-02-18: #56: Motion for leave to file excess pages by Defendant Otter
      • 2014-02-19: #62: Order granting motion
    • 2014-02-18: #57-1: Statement of Facts
    • 2014-02-18: #57-2: Memorandum in Support
    • 2014-02-18: #57-3: Table of contents for appendices
    • 2014-02-18: #57-4: Appendix 1
    • 2014-02-18: #57-5: Appendices 2-6
    • 2014-02-18: #57-6: Appendix 7
    • 2014-02-18: #57-7: Appendices 8-11
    • 2014-02-18: #57-8: Appendices 12-16
    • 2014-02-18: #57-9: Appendices 17-24
    • 2014-02-18: #57-10: Appendices 25-29
    • 2014-02-18: #57-11: Appendices 30-40
    • 2014-02-18: #57-12: Appendices 41-44
  • 2014-05-05: Hearing scheduled
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