Coleman v. Winbigler

Citation615 F.Supp.3d 563
Docket NumberCIVIL CASE NO. 22-75-DLB-CJS
Decision Date15 July 2022
Parties Charlie COLEMAN, et al., Plaintiffs v. Janis WINBIGLER, et al., Defendants
CourtUnited States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court of Eastern District of Kentucky

615 F.Supp.3d 563

Charlie COLEMAN, et al., Plaintiffs
v.
Janis WINBIGLER, et al., Defendants

CIVIL CASE NO. 22-75-DLB-CJS

United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Northern Division. at Covington.

Signed July 15, 2022


615 F.Supp.3d 565

Brandon N. Voelker, Gatlin Voelker, PLLC, Covington, KY, Christopher David Wiest, Christopher Wiest, Atty at Law, PLLC, Crestview Hills, KY, for Plaintiffs.

Jason Vincent Reed, Covington, KY, Mary Ann Stewart, Adams Law, PLLC, Covington, KY, for Defendants Janis Winbigler, Joshua Perkins, Kimber Fender, Peggy Schultz, Richard Mason.

Jeffrey C. Mando, Adams Law, PLLC, Covington, KY, for Defendants James Luersen, Mike Jansen, Jack Snodgrass, Jim Schroer.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

David L. Bunning, United States District Judge

Sacrosanct to American Democracy is the principle of one person, one vote. This idea first emerged in Supreme Court jurisprudence in Baker v. Carr , 369 U.S. 186, 82 S.Ct. 691, 7 L.Ed.2d 663 (1962), but the popularized mantra was recited for the first time in Wesberry v. Sanders , which held that "one man's vote in a congressional election is to be worth as much as another's." 376 U.S. 1, 8, 84 S.Ct. 526, 11 L.Ed.2d 481 (1964). Plaintiffs Charlie Coleman,

615 F.Supp.3d 566

Noah Heim, Amy Dowton, and David Meyer each allege that due to a failure of Defendants, their votes for Campbell County School Board are diluted in violation of the one person, one vote principle. (See generally Doc. # 1). In order to timely address their concerns before the upcoming November election, Plaintiffs filed a Motion for Preliminary or Permanent Injunction on June 8, 2022. (Doc. # 5). On July 7, 2022, Defendants Janis Winbigler, Joshua Perkins, Kimber Fender, Peggy Schultz, and Richard Mason, each sued in their official capacities as members of the Campbell County Board of Education, filed a Response opposing Plaintiffs’ Motion. (Doc. # 15). Thereafter, Plaintiffs filed a Reply. (Doc. # 16). Defendants James Luersen, Mike Jansen, Jack Snodgrass, and Jim Schroer, each sued in their official capacities as Campbell County Clerk, Campbell County Sheriff, and members of the Campbell County Board of Election, respectively, filed a joint Agreed Order with Plaintiffs, adopted by the Court, indicating that those Defendants agree to be bound by any order of the Court, but are not required to participate in the litigation. (Docs. # 13 and 14). On July 14, 2022, the Court held a Hearing on the Motion. (Doc. # 17). At the Hearing, the Court noted that it would enter an opinion adjudicating the Motion expeditiously. (Id. at 2). For the reasons stated herein, Plaintiffs’ Motion for a Preliminary Injunction is granted .

I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiffs Coleman, Heim, Dowton, and Meyer are each residents and voters in Campbell County, Kentucky, who reside in the districts responsible for electing the third and fourth seat on the Campbell County School Board ("the School Board"). (Doc. # 1 ¶¶ 1-4). The School Board is comprised of five members, who are each elected from five districts. (Id. ¶ 9). Plaintiffs allege a single federal cause of action—a violation of the Equal Protection Clause under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Id. ¶¶ 17-24). Plaintiffs’ main contention is that two of the school board districts (Two and Four), one of which is where Plaintiffs reside, are over-populated as compared to the other districts, and thus violate the constitutional principle of "one person, one vote." (See generally Doc. # 5).

Population data from the 2020 Census gives the Court a starting point to evaluate Plaintiffs’ claims.1 Based on this data, each of the School Board districts at issue have the following populations according to the 2020 Census:

District 1

615 F.Supp.3d 567
Precinct Population
Southgate C 390
Southgate D 823
Wilder 1887
Highland Heights B 1361
Johns Hill 2132
Highland Heights E 1898
TOTAL: 8491

District 2

Precinct Population
Highland Heights C 691
Highland Heights D 1337
Cold Spring A 981
Cold Spring B 1397
Cold Spring C 2153
Cold Spring D 1432
Cold Spring F 2730
TOTAL: 10721

District 3

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[615 F.Supp.3d 568

District 4

Precinct Population
Alexandria B 1452
Alexandria C 2425
Alexandria D 1521
Alexandria E 2041
Alexandria F 2474
Alexandria G 1403
TOTAL: 11316

District 5

Precinct Population
California 988
Claryville 2349
Grants Lick 2860
Mentor 1102
Sun Valley 2569
TOTAL: 9869

Based on the alleged vote dilution occurring in the above School Board districts, Plaintiffs request the following relief: (I) a declaration that Defendants’ refusal to redraw the school board maps was unconstitutional, (II) issuance of an injunction enjoining the use of the malapportioned districts, requiring the Board of Education to draw new districts in time for the November 2022 election, (III) nominal damages for the constitutional violations complained of, and (IV) an award of costs, including attorney fees under 42 U.S.C. § 1988. (Doc. # 1 at 6).

II. ANALYSIS

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