Madia Law News

Madia Law 

CONTACT:
Attorney Joshua Newville
office: 612.349.2743
cell: 651.210.7135
joshuanewville@madialaw.com

–FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—

(Sioux Falls, SD, Nov. 14, 2014)—South Dakota’s marriage equality lawsuit is moving forward after United States Judge Karen Schreier rejected the State’s motion for the case to be dismissed on Friday.

The Court heard arguments in Rosenbrahn v. Daugaard on October 17 in Sioux Falls. The Attorney General’s Office argued that a 2006 8th Circuit Court of Appeals case required dismissal. Plaintiffs’ attorney Joshua Newville argued that case isn’t on point and that the controlling decision is United States v. Windsor, the 2013 Supreme Court case that struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

In a 28-page opinion, issued Friday afternoon, Judge Schreier agreed with the plaintiffs, writing, “Given the subsequent developments recognized almost uniformly by federal courts following the Supreme Court’s decision in Windsor, Baker is no longer binding authority. Although Bruning explained that sexual orientation is not a suspect class, it did not address whether marriage is a fundamental right. Thus, those cases do not foreclose relief on plaintiffs’ due process and equal protection claims.”

The Court will now consider the legitimacy of the marriage bans. Judge Schreier ordered state officials to respond to the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment within ten days. The State must explain why its refusal to wed same-sex couples and its refusal to recognize out-of-state marriages of same-sex couples do not violate U.S. Constitution guarantees of due process and equal protection.

“Every reason the State offers to support these discriminatory laws has already been wholly rejected by the vast majority of courts to consider this issue,” said Newville. “The Supreme Court’s decision to let stand four recent appellate rulings striking down similar marriage bans also bolsters our case. The days of South Dakota proudly discriminating against these families are numbered,” he added.

The plaintiffs filed their motion for summary judgment in early July. Debra Voigt, one of the lawyers for the couples, said, “We are all very happy this case is moving forward and are encouraged by the Court’s ruling today. We are optimistic that this is one step closer to marriage equality here in South Dakota.”

The six plaintiff families are from across the state and include veterans, nurses, a stay-at-home mom, a truck driver, a couple who’s been together 30 years, and couples with children and grandchildren. “The law requires South Dakota to treat these families equally and with same dignity and respect it gives families with different-sex couples,” said Newville.

Plaintiff Clay Schweitzer of Rapid City said, “My husband Jeremy [Coller] and I were both born and raised in South Dakota. We love it here. South Dakota is where we met, were we have built our lives together, and where Jeremy accepted my proposal in the Black Hills. We look forward to the day when South Dakota treats our family equally to all others.”

While the Court dismissed Plaintiffs’ right-to-travel claim, Newville explained: “We believe that South Dakota’s discriminatory marriage scheme violates the law in a number of ways, including an unconstitutional infringement on the right to relocate within the United States. While the Court disagreed with our reasoning on that claim, the Judge did agree with the over 50 other courts that ultimately ruled in favor of marriage equality in the last 15 months that these couples’ have presented valid equal protection and due process claims.”

The couples are represented by four attorneys:

  • Lead counsel Joshua Newville of the Minneapolis firm Madia Law LLC. Newville is the civil rights attorney who filed the lawsuit on May 22, 2014. He also represents seven families in a similar challenge to North Dakota’s marriage equality bans, which he filed on June 6, 2014.
  • South Dakota attorney Debra Voigt of Burd and Voigt Law Offices in Sioux Falls. Voigt is an active member of her community and has practiced family law in South Dakota for nearly 20 years.
  • National Center for Lesbian Rights attorneys Shannon Minter and Christopher Stoll. NCLR, a LGBT advocacy organization based in San Francisco, has been instrumental in the national fight for marriage equality, including the 10th Circuit Idaho case that was the first in the country after Windsor to have marriage equality upheld by a federal appellate court. Minter and Stoll are also working with Newville on the North Dakota case.

{ 0 comments }

Madia Law filed a motion for summary judgment Tuesday in the historic lawsuit challenging North Dakota’s ban on same-sex marriage. From the Guardian Newspaper:

A lawyer filed a motion late Tuesday calling on a judge to rule on the legality of gay marriage in North Dakota, the last US state to face a challenge to its constitutional ban on same-sex unions.

Attorney Joshua Newville, representing seven couples in the state, filed the motion for dismissal in the US district court in Fargo in a move that has been successfully used in other states wrestling with same-sex marriage bans. Other bans are currently being challenged in states including Colorado and Georgia.

Newville’s original suit, filed in June, argues that the ban subjects same-sex couples seeking to marry to “an irreparable denial of their constitutional rights” and the state “will incur little to no burden in allowing same-sex couples to marry and in recognizing the lawful marriages of same-sex couples from other jurisdictions on the same terms as different-sex couples”.

Earlier this month North Dakota solicitor general Doug Bahr called for Newville’s case to be dismissed arguing that states have the right to define and regulate marriage.

Newville, a lawyer with the Minneapolis-based firm Madia Law, said: “We are seeking an order from a district judge that declares marriage equality the law of the land in North Dakota.”

North Dakota is the final state to face a challenge to a same-sex marriage ban. The legal case comes after a series of local victories for marriage equality proponents across the US that is putting pressure on the US supreme court to rule once more on gay marriage.

“We all agree that North Dakota denies loving, committed same-sex couples recognition of their marriages. That is not in dispute,” said Newville. “This is a constitutional issue and North Dakota is in violation of the constitution by refusing to marry couples and to recognise marriages from other states and jurisdictions.”

Celeste Carlson Allebach who, with her wife Amber, is one of the plaintiffs in the case said: “We’re very excited with this filing. We’re optimistic and hope to get a ruling before the birth of our coming child so that our family will be recognized as equal under the eyes of North Dakota law and both of us can be listed as parents on our child’s birth certificate.”

Last June the highest US court ruled that married same-sex couples were entitled to federal benefits and effectively ended a ban on gay marriage in California that had been overturned by a lower court. In the wake of those decisions courts in more than a dozen states have invalidated bans on same-sex marriage while others have partially invalidated their rules to recognise marriages from outside the state.

Carl Tobias, Williams professor of law at the University of Richmond said it now looked inevitable that the supreme court would have to revisit same-sex marriage.

“Since the supreme court decision we have had a stream of rulings that have favoured plaintiffs and I think we are likely to see the same in North Dakota,” said Tobias.

In August the 6th circuit court of appeals will hear arguments from gay marriage cases in Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee. The 5th circuit court of appeals, one of the most conservative courts representing Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, is also expected to start hearing same-sex marriage cases soon, although no date has been set.

“In all likelihood one of the courts could vote against same-sex marriage,” said Tobias. He said he had been surprised that so far decisions had been “so uniform and so fast. The decisions are building on one another and finding earlier arguments persuasive.”

But he said a vote supporting a gay marriage ban was likely and that such a vote would likely lead to another supreme court hearing.

{ 0 comments }

On June 24, 2014, after a two-day trial, a federal jury found that officer Robert Thunder violated Madia Law Client Michael Flowers’ constitutional right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. Madia Law Attorney Ashwin Madia represented Mr. Flowers at trial, which was presided over by Chief Judge Michael Davis of the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota.

MN Police Misconduct Lawyers

Mr. Flowers is a 51-year-old disabled black male who has Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (“AIDS”), a serious and potentially deadly condition that has an extreme effect on daily life activity and enables him to receive “limited mobility” designation on his Minnesota drivers license. A designation of “limited mobility” allows for reduced fare with Metro Transit.  [click to continue…]

{ 1 comment }

On June 6, 2014, Attorney Joshua Newville of Madia Law filed a lawsuit on behalf of seven same-sex couples in North Dakota. The lawsuit, Ramsay, et al. v. Dalrymple, et al., 14-CV-57, was filed in United States District Court in Fargo, North Dakota.

Like Madia Law’s filing in South Dakota two weeks ago, the lawsuit against North Dakota officials is the first lawsuit in the state to challenge the state’s same-sex marriage ban. The lawsuit alleges the state’s ban on marrying same-sex couples and its refusal to recognize the marriages of other jurisdictions deprives gay and lesbians from their constitutionally-protected rights of equal protection, due process, and right to travel.

Advocacy group Freedom to Marry is tracking the progress of marriage equality litigation across the country.

 KFYRTV.COM – Bismarck, ND – News, Weather, Sports

{ 0 comments }

On May 22, 2014, on behalf of twelve South Dakota residents, Madia Law Attorney Joshua Newville filed a federal lawsuit in United States District Court in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  The lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of South Dakota’s statutory and constitutional bans on same-sex marriage.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Plaintiffs Jennie and Nancy Rosenbrahn, Jeremy Coller and Clay Schweitzer, Lynn and Monica Serling-Swank, Krystal Cosby and Kaitlynn Hoerner, Barbara and Ashley Wright, and Greg Kniffen and Mark Church. Defendants include Governor Dennis Daugaard, Attorney General Marty Jackley, Secretary of Health Doneen Hollingsworth, Secretary of Public Safety Trevor Jones, Pennington County Register of Deeds Donna Mayer, and Brown County Register of Deeds Carol Sherman. United States District Court Judge Karen Schreier is overseeing the matter in the Southern Division of the District of South Dakota. The Court file number is 14-4081.  The allegations contained in the Complaint are below: [click to continue…]

{ 1 comment }

The Argument of the Month Club describes itself as, “The Men’s Forum for Catholic Apologetics.”  Started 14 years ago, the wildly successful forum now attracts more than 500 men to its monthly discussions.  Tackling tough and wide-ranging topics, the group’s mission is to enlighten both Catholics and non-Catholics in order to better teach and defend the Catholic faith.

Madia Law’s Joshua Newville is honored to speak at the forum on May 13, 2014.  Newville will join Attorney Joel Oster, senior legal counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom, and moderator Michael Olson from Providence Academy, in discussing a topic that intersects employment law and constitutional law: to what extent can private schools terminate employees who speak out against the institution’s principles, teaching, etc.?  Can Catholic schools fire employees who are openly opposed to the very faith tradition of the school itself?

Newville, who represents individuals in matters involving discrimination and the deprivation of civil rights and liberties, will argue that private schools must be careful not to ignore individual employee rights, i.e., principles of free speech and anti-discrimination, in a pursuit of institutional autonomy.  In presenting his argument, Newville will draw on principles and practices in constitutional and employment law, as well as recent relevant case law and broader policy considerations.

Oster, who represents churches and private schools in such litigation, argues that we’ve entered a new era regarding religious freedom – one where government passes law that requires people and institutions to violate their faith. Oster’s argument focuses on the autonomy of the church and how that relates to such constitutional principles as the free exercise of religion pursuant to the First Amendment.

The discussion will take place in the basement of St. Augustine’s Catholic Church, which is located at 408 3rd St. N. in South Saint Paul, MN 55075.  The event details, from the event website:

MENU
From the AOTM CORONARY KITCHEN!
Appetizer
Chips and salsa
Dinner
Smoked Pork, boiled red potatoes covered in herbed chived butter
Dessert
Brownies and ice cream
 
6:00pm Social Hour and Appetizers
7:00pm Dinner
7:30pm Main Presentation
8:30pm Dessert
8:45pm Q&A
$15 at the door (The total cost for the night) You will get great appetizers and beverages, hear one of the best inspirational stories you have ever heard about manhood and faith. Do all this while you listen and enjoy a fabulous “Manly Meal”. Men of all creeds and ages are welcome to join in the good humor, food, and fellowship. Priests and seminarians get in free but will not be shown partiality in debate. Fathers are encouraged to bring their minor sons.

{ 0 comments }

Twin Cities Civil Rights Attorneys

–For Immediate Release–

MAYOR HODGES TO MARRY SOUTH DAKOTA COUPLE WHO WILL CHALLENGE STATE’S SAME-SEX MARRIAGE BAN

Minneapolis, April 24, 2014 – This Saturday, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges will welcome visitors Nancy Robrahn and Jennie Rosenkranz to The City of Lakes.  The Mayor will then marry the South Dakota couple, setting the stage for them to return home and challenge a 2006 constitutional same-sex marriage ban.

The Rapid City couple has been together for 27 years.  They have four children and six grandchildren.  “We already consider ourselves married; this is a rededication of that marriage,” said Robrahn, 68.

“We are approaching the time when end of life decisions and plans need to be made.  There are many federal protections that will become available to us through this Minnesota marriage. We hope to see the day when couples like us don’t have to travel out of South Dakota to marry,” said Robrahn.

Upon returning home, the pair will join two other South Dakota couples and, together, will file a federal class action civil rights lawsuit against South Dakota government officials.  The lawsuit, which will soon be filed in United States District Court, will seek to overturn South Dakota’s same-sex marriage ban and to require the state to recognize marriages performed out of state.

Attorney Joshua Newville of Minneapolis-based Madia Law LLC represents all three couples. “These couples show that love and commitment exist in South Dakota just as they exist in Minnesota and beyond.  South Dakota has failed to treat all of its citizens with the dignity and respect deserved by all people.  With the filing of this lawsuit, we will lead South Dakota down a better path,” said Newville.

At 1:00 P.M. on Saturday, April 26, 2014, Mayor Hodges will marry the couple in a private ceremony at the Community of Christ Church in North Minneapolis.  The ceremony will be followed by a press conference at 1:30 P.M., where the Mayor will introduce the couple as, “Mrs. and Mrs. Rosenbrahn.”

{ 4 comments }

On January 15, 2014, Ashwin Madia spoke on Leading Outside Your Comfort Zone as part of the University of Minnesota Law School‘s Corporate Institute Leadership Foundations Program.  Below is a video and transcript of his talk:

[click to continue…]

{ 1 comment }

Madia Law settled an age discrimination case on behalf of “Joan” after defeating her former employer’s motion for summary judgment.

The terms are confidential pursuant to the parties’ settlement agreement.

[click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

On behalf of the United States and multiple State governments, Madia Law has filed a federal qui tam action in federal District Court.  The filing alleges fraud against the government by multiple corporate Defendants.  Pending potential intervention by the United States, the suit remains under seal for at least 60 days.

In a qui tam action, a private party known as a relator brings a whistleblower suit on behalf of the government; thus, the government, not the relator, is considered the plaintiff.  If the action is successful in prosecuting the fraud, the relator receives an award, generally based on a portion of the amount recovered for the government.  The False Claims Act, Title 31 U.S.C. § 3279 et seq., authorizes qui tam actions and requires that parties wishing to bring such actions retain counsel.

{ 0 comments }

Madia Law Hiring for Paralegal/Client Liaison

September 24, 2013

Madia Law is currently accepting applications for a part-time Paralegal/Client Liaison. This is a 25 hour position that, for the right candidate, will grow into full-time, 40 hours. Madia Law is a small civil litigation firm focusing on employment law, business litigation, and civil rights matters.  We are located in downtown Minneapolis near Target Field in […]

Read the full article →

September 2013: Madia Law Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Minneapolis Police

September 23, 2013

One and a half years ago, DelShawn Crawford Sr. was shot and killed by Minneapolis police officers in his girlfriend’s home.  On behalf of Crawford’s estate, Madia Law has filed a wrongful death and civil rights lawsuit against two Minneapolis police officers, Laura Turner and Chad Meyer.  What follows is a summary of the allegations […]

Read the full article →

September 2013: Madia Law Wins $298,000.00 Jury Verdict On Behalf of Small Business

September 8, 2013

Madia Law obtained a successful jury trial verdict on behalf of a Minneapolis-based small business last week.  On Tuesday, a Hennepin County jury returned its verdict in Stallions, LLC d/b/a/ Club New York vs. St. Croix Plumbing and Drain Cleaning, LLC f/k/a St. Croix Mechanical, LLC and Steinkraus Plumbing, Inc.  (Case No. 27-CV-11-16645). The jury held that […]

Read the full article →

July 2013: Court Certifies Class of Regency Admissions Representatives Seeking Unpaid Overtime

July 23, 2013

Madia Law filed a class and collective action lawsuit in February against Regency Beauty Institute (a national for-profit cosmetology school) on behalf of current and former employees in Regency’s Admissions Department seeking unpaid overtime wages.  On July 15, U.S. District Court Judge Donovan Frank granted Plaintiffs’ Motion for Conditional Class Certification. The five named plaintiffs in […]

Read the full article →

Madia Law Hiring for Legal Assistant

July 22, 2013

Madia Law is currently accepting applications for the position of Legal Assistant. This position in a small civil litigation firm focusing on employment law, business litigation, and civil rights matters. Madia Law is located in downtown Minneapolis near Target Field in the Warehouse District.

Read the full article →

March 2013: Madia Law Files Overtime Class Action Lawsuit Against Regency Beauty Institute

March 24, 2013

The Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) is a federal law that, among other things, prohibits employers from failing to pay overtime to its employees and attempting to avoid paying overtime by classifying employees as “salaried” who should, by law, actually be paid for each hour worked.  For such employees, time worked over forty hours must […]

Read the full article →

March 2013: Madia Law Settles Sexual Harassment Case on Behalf of Administrative Employee for $125,000

March 14, 2013

Madia Law settled a shocking case of sexual harassment and workplace intimidation that eventually led to the Plaintiff developing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. A female employee, “Mary”, was sexually harassed and intimidated by her male supervisor. Despite repeated attempts by Mary and others to report the supervisor’s behavior, he remained employed for nearly two years […]

Read the full article →

Jan 2013: Madia Law Sues Tech Company for Sex Discrimination

January 29, 2013

Madia Law, representing a woman who worked at a Twin Cities technology company, has initiated a sex discrimination lawsuit against the company pursuant to the Minnesota Human Rights Act.  Just prior to the Plaintiff’s hire, the company (which has been in business for decades) employed dozens of men and not a single woman. In Fall […]

Read the full article →

November 2012: Madia Law Sues Accounting Firm on Behalf of Learning Disabled Accountant

November 22, 2012

In November 2012, Madia Law sued a Twin Cities accounting firm on behalf of a learning disabled accountant. The young accountant, who has suffered from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (“ADHD”) since he was a child, disclosed his disability to his supervisor at the time of his first performance evaluation.   Despite being fully capable of […]

Read the full article →

Photos: Madia Law Happy Hour

September 27, 2012

Photos from Madia Law Happy Hour on September 26, 2012 at The Local in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota. Approximately 130 guests were present. Photos courtesy of George Byron Griffiths.

Read the full article →