Fla. State Conference of the Naacp v. Lee

Decision Date17 December 2021
Docket NumberCase No. 4:21cv187-MW/MAF
Parties FLORIDA STATE CONFERENCE OF the NAACP, et al., Plaintiffs, v. Laurel M. LEE, in her official capacity as Florida Secretary of State, et al., Defendants, and National Republican Senatorial Committee and Republican National Committee, Intervenor-Defendants.
CourtU.S. District Court — Northern District of Florida

Amia Trigg, Mahogane Denea Reed, NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund Inc., Benjamin Louis Baer Cavataro, Elizabeth T. Fouhey, Jad H. Khazem, Michael Anthony Fletcher, II, Morgan Elizabeth Saunders, Virginia Anne Williamson, Covington & Burling LLP, Cyrus S. Nasseri, Washington, DC, Ellen Choi, Robert Daniel Fram, Covington & Burling LLP, San Francisco, CA, John Z. Morris, Michael Jeremy Pernick, Morenike Fajana, NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund, P. Benjamin Duke, Shira M. Poliak, Covington & Burling LLP, New York, NY, Nellie Linn King, Law Offices of Nellie King PA, West Palm Beach, FL, for Plaintiffs Disability Rights Florida, Common Cause, Florida State Conference of the NAACP.

Dallin B. Holt, John J. Cycon, Kenneth Clark Daines, Phillip Michael Gordon, Holtzman Vogel Baran et al., Haymarket, VA, Ashley E. Davis, Colleen E. O'Brien, Bradley Robert McVay, Florida Department of State Office of General Counsel, Gary Vergil Perko, Mohammad Omar Jazil, Holtzman Vogel Baran et al., William David Chappell, Office of the Attorney General, Tallahassee, FL, for Defendant Laurel M. Lee.

Diana Masters Johnson, Robert Charles Swain, Alachua County Attorneys Office, Gainesville, FL, for Defendant Kim A. Barton.

Edward Paul Cuffe, Susan Smith Erdelyi, Marks Gray PA, Jacksonville, FL, for Defendants Christopher Milton, Mark Andersen, Amanda Seyfang, Sharon Chason, Tomi Stinson Brown, Starlet Cannon, Heather Riley, Shirley G. Knight, Laura Hutto, Carol A. Dunaway, Travis Hart, Grant Conyers, Janet H. Adkins, Charles Overturf, Tappie A. Villane, Vicky Oakes, William Keen, Jennifer Musgrove Kinsey, Dana Southerland, Deborah K. Osborne, Joseph Morgan, Bobby Beasley, Carol F. Rudd.

Frank Michael Mari, John M. Janousek, Roper PA, Orlando, FL, for Defendants Lori Scott, Mark F. Negley, Kaiti Lenhart, Connie Sanchez, John Hanlon, Penny Ogg, Marty Bishop, Heath Driggers.

Benjamin Salzillo, Brendalyn Edwards, Joseph K. Jarone, Nathaniel Adam Klitsberg, Broward County Attorneys Office, Fort Lauderdale, FL, for Defendant Joe Scott.

Andy V. Bardos, James Timothy Moore, Jr., GrayRobinson PA, Tallahassee, FL, for Defendants Paul A. Stamoulis, Jennifer J. Edwards, Leslie Rossway Swan, Alan Hays, Tommy Doyle, Michael Bennett, Wesley Wilcox, Joyce Griffin, Brian E. Corley, Chris Anderson.

Dale A. Scott, Roper PA, Orlando, FL, for Defendant Maureen Baird.

John T. Lavia, III, Gardner Bist Bowden et al., Ronald A. Labasky, Brewton Plante PA, Tallahassee, FL, for Defendants Chris H. Chambless, Vicki Davis, Mary Jane Arrington, Lori Edwards, Gertrude Walker.

Mary Margaret Giannini, Craig Dennis Feiser, City of Jacksonville Office of General Counsel, Jacksonville, FL, for Defendant Mike Hogan.

Kia M. Johnson, Escambia County Attorneys Office, Pensacola, FL, for Defendant David H. Stafford.

Geraldo Francis Olivo, III, Robert C. Shearman, Henderson Franklin Starnes etc., Fort Myers, FL, for Defendants Aletris Farnam, Diane Smith, Brenda Hoots, Therisa Meadows, Tammy Jones, Melissa Arnold.

Jon A. Jouben, Hernando County, Brookesville, FL, Kyle J. Benda, Hernando County Attorneys Office, Brooksville, FL, for Defendant Shirley Anderson.

Stephen Mark Todd, Office of the County Attorney, Tampa, FL, for Defendant Craig Latimer.

Summer Denay Brown, Mark Herron, Messer Caparello & Self PA, Tallahassee, FL, for Defendant Mark S. Earley.

Oren Rosenthal, Michael Beny Valdes, Miami-Dade County Attorneys Office, Miami, FL, for Defendant Christina White.

Elizabeth Desloge Ellis, Gregory Thomas Stewart, Kirsten H. Mood, Nabors Giblin & Nickerson PA, Tallahassee, FL, for Defendant Paul A. Lux.

Nicholas Ari Shannin, Shannin Law Firm PA, Orlando, FL, for Defendant Bill Cowles.

Kelly Lynn Vicari, Pinellas County Attorneys Office, Clearwater, FL, for Defendant Julie Marcus.

Morgan Ray Bentley, Bentley & Bruning PA, Asarasota, FL, for Defendant Ron Turner.

London Lee Ott, William Kevin Bledsoe, Volusia County Attorney, DeLand, FL, for Defendant Lisa Lewis.

Benjamin J. Gibson, George N. Meros, Jr., Amber Stoner Nunnally, Daniel Elden Nordby, Shutts & Bowen LLP, Tallahassee, FL, Cameron Thomas Norris, Steven Christopher Begakis, Daniel Joseph Shapiro, Consovoy McCarthy PLLC, Arlington, VA, Tyler R. Green, Consovoy McCarthy PLLC, Salt Lake City, UT, Frank A. Zacherl, Shutts & Bowen LLP, Miami, FL, for Intervenor-Defendants Republican National Committee, National Republican Senatorial Committee.

ORDER ON DEFENDANT LEE'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Mark E. Walker, Chief United States District Judge This is a voting case. This Court has considered, without hearing, the pending motions for summary judgment. This Order addresses the motion filed by Defendants Lee, Doyle, and Hays. ECF Nos. 285. This Court addresses Defendants Latimer and White's motion for summary judgment by separate order.

Plaintiffs have challenged several new laws enacted or amended by the Florida Legislature in SB 90. Defendants have moved for summary judgment, asserting Plaintiffs lack standing to challenge these laws, and in the alternative, that no dispute of material fact exists as to each claim and that they are entitled to judgment as a matter of law. This Order addresses each point, starting with whether Plaintiffs have demonstrated standing at the summary-judgment stage.1

I

To establish standing, Plaintiffs must show (1) that they have suffered an injury-in-fact that is (2) traceable to Defendants and that (3) can likely be redressed by a favorable ruling. See Lujan v. Defs. of Wildlife , 504 U.S. 555, 560–61, 112 S.Ct. 2130, 119 L.Ed.2d 351 (1992). And they must do so for each statutory provision they challenge. CAMP Legal Def. Fund, Inc. v. City of Atlanta , 451 F.3d 1257, 1273 (11th Cir. 2006) (emphasizing that courts have an "independent obligation ... to ensure a case or controversy exists as to each challenged provision even in a case where the plaintiffs established harm under one provision of the statute"). Plaintiffs proceed under two theories of standing, organizational standing and associational standing. This Court discusses each in turn.

An organization may have standing to assert claims based on injuries to itself if that organization is affected in a tangible way. See Fla. Democratic Party v. Hood , 342 F. Supp. 2d 1073, 1079 (N.D. Fla. 2004) ("An organization has standing to challenge conduct that impedes its ability to attract members, to raise revenues, or to fulfill its purposes." (citing Havens Realty Corp. v. Coleman , 455 U.S. 363, 379, 102 S.Ct. 1114, 71 L.Ed.2d 214 (1982) )). Here, Plaintiffs proceed under a diversion-of-resources theory. "Under the diversion-of-resources theory, an organization has standing to sue when a defendant's illegal acts impair the organization's ability to engage in its own projects by forcing the organization to divert resources in response." Arcia v. Fla. Sec'y of State , 772 F.3d 1335, 1341 (11th Cir. 2014).

In addition to organizational standing, an organization may sue "on behalf of its members when: (a) its members would otherwise have standing to sue in their own right; (b) the interests it seeks to protect are germane to the organization's purpose; and (c) neither the claim asserted nor the relief requested requires the participation of individual members in the lawsuit." Greater Birmingham Ministries v. Sec'y of State of Ala. , 992 F.3d 1299, 1316 (11th Cir. 2021) (" GBM "). As discussed below, Plaintiffs’ members have standing as to each of the challenged provisions enacted or amended by SB 90. Additionally, this lawsuit is germane to Plaintiffs, whose core purposes involve registering voters, voter education, encouraging electoral participation, and advocating for accessibility for Florida voters. Finally, neither the claims asserted, nor the relief requested requires the participation of the individual members in this lawsuit. See Nat'l Parks Conservation Ass'n v. Norton , 324 F.3d 1229, 1244 (11th Cir. 2003) ; GBM , 992 F.3d at 1316 n.29 ("[P]rospective relief weigh[s] in favor of finding that associational standing exists.").

"The party invoking federal jurisdiction bears the burden of proving standing." Bischoff v. Osceola Cnty., Fla. , 222 F.3d 874, 878 (11th Cir. 2000). Critically, "each element of standing ‘must be supported in the same way as any other matter on which the plaintiff bears the burden of proof, i.e., with the manner and degree of evidence required at the successive stages of the litigation.’ " Id. (quoting Lujan , 504 U.S. at 561, 112 S.Ct. 2130 ). Accordingly, "when standing is raised at the summary judgment stage, the plaintiff must ‘set forth by affidavit or other evidence specific facts, which for purposes of the summary judgment motion will be taken as true.’ " Id. (quoting Lujan , 504 U.S. at 561, 112 S.Ct. 2130 ).

As to standing, Defendants Lee, Doyle, and Hays assert that Plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate injuries sufficient to confer standing at the summary-judgment stage. ECF No. 285-1 at 13–16. Defendants limit their discussion to whether Plaintiffs have demonstrated either that any member is injured and therefore has standing to sue or whether Plaintiffs have demonstrated a diversion-of-resources injury. Id. But this Court recognized Plaintiff's cognizable injuries under a diversion-of-resources theory and an associational standing theory at the pleading stage, ECF No. 249 at 15–23. Now Plaintiffs have put meat on the bones to show that the challenged provisions burden their members’ and constituents’ voting rights by limiting access to drop boxes, voting line relief activities and expression, and voting by mail. See, e.g. , ECF No....

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1 cases
  • Florida State Conference of NAACP v. Lee
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Northern District of Florida
    • December 17, 2021
    ... ... Plaintiffs proceed under two theories of standing, organizational standing and associational standing. This Court discusses each in turn. An organization may have standing to assert claims based on injuries to itself if that organization is affected in a tangible way. See Fla. Democratic Party v. Hood , 342 F. Supp. 2d 1073, 1079 (N.D. Fla. 2004) ("An organization has standing to challenge conduct that impedes its ability to attract members, to raise revenues, or to fulfill its purposes." (citing Havens Realty Corp. v. Coleman , 455 U.S. 363, 379, 102 S.Ct. 1114, 71 ... ...
1 books & journal articles
  • WATER & PIZZA: WHAT WOULD ALEXANDER HAMILTON THINK?
    • United States
    • Fordham Urban Law Journal Vol. 50 No. 4, April 2023
    • April 1, 2023
    ...[https://perma.cc/NP6N-22YV]. (23.) Fla. State Conf. of NAACP v. Lee, 576 F. Supp. 3d 974, 991 (N.D. Fla. (24.) See In re Georgia Senate Bill 202,2022 WL 3573076, at *3; League of Women Voters I, 595 F. Supp. 3d 1042, 1129 (N.D. Fla. 2022). (25.) See In re Georgia Senate Bill 202, 2022 WL 3......

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