Federal Court Dismisses Lawsuit Seeking Marriage Equality in Louisiana

Citing lack of jurisdiction, a federal court has dismissed a lawsuit seeking marriage equality in Louisiana, the Washington Blade reports:

CaldwellU.S. District Judge Martin Feldman, a Reagan appointee, dismissed the lawsuit, known as Robicheaux v. Caldwell, on Wednesday because plaintiffs named only Attorney General James Caldwell (pictured) as a defendant and he hasn’t denied them the recognition of their marriage.

“The Attorney General’s sweeping responsibility to enforce the laws of the State of Louisiana lacks the Ex parte Young specificity nexus between the Attorney General and the alleged unconstitutional provisions that is essential to defeat sovereign immunity,” Feldman writes.

Scott Spivey, an attorney in New Orleans, filed the federal lawsuit on behalf of Jon Robicheaux and Derek Pinton, who married in Iowa last year and are seeking the recognition of their marriage in their home state of Louisiana. Another Louisiana same-sex couple who married in Iowa, Nadine and Courtney Blanchard, later joined as plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

The plaintiffs say they plan to amend their complaint and name Secretary Tim Barfield of the State Department of Revenue as the defendant, and are hopeful that the court will accept it.



    IMO, this is the result of shoddy legal work. The 11th amendment is year one material in law school. I hope the new suit addresses this well known provision.

  2. Bingo says

    Guess it’s good that lawsuits brought by amateurs are slowed down. This is so far just a publicity ploy. Maybe now the plaintiffs will actually try to get the state to recognize their marriages by, for example, filing a joint tax return, and take the state to court when it refuses to do so.

  3. Ken says

    The Blade was not always so poorly written. The lawsuit is not “known as” Robicheaux v. Caldwell, it is Robicheaux v. Caldwell. When a reporter cannot get the idioms correct, it makes me not want to read any further. Ditto the comments above.

  4. Perry says

    Sounds to me that after such an amateurish first attempt, they had better seek other, more experienced counsel in such matters.

  5. MiddleoftheRoader says

    This is a good example of how bad lawyering can lead to bad results. Luckily, this case was thrown out on a technicality. Do we really want lawyers like this handling those case that get to trial and where the judge actually has to make a ruling on whether same-sex marriage is constitutional — based on the arguments of lawyers who haven’t even sued the correct defendants?

    All over the country, local lawyers are jumping on the bandwagon to bring these lawsuits. That’s bound to lead to some bad results when the lawyers aren’t excellent (and even when the lawyers are excellent, sometimes they still lose — but at least they’ve compiled an excellent court record to take the case to appeal, instead of a court record compiled by amateurs).